2020 NASCAR Preview: Week 18 – Texas

The sun is high, the time is nigh *clapclapclapclap* Deep in the Heart of Texas!

Rookie Cole Custer shocked the NASCAR world with a big Win at Kentucky last week, securing his spot in the All-Star Race. That, along with the Open, ran on Wednesday; Aric Almirola, William Byron, Matt DiBenedetto, and Clint Bowyer proved their mettle (or fanbase) to advance to the main event. Chase Elliott rose above them all to punch his ticket to as many future All-Star Races as he’d like. We’re now back to points racing for the duration of the season, hitting high speeds in Texas today at a track that was originally scheduled for March 29th.

Here’s what to look for:

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Kevin Harvick has a gross average finish here. I don’t even want to tell you about it. But I will. In the last ten races (…), his average is 3.8. What the heck? He’s got ten Top 10s: 3 Wins, 2 runner-ups, a 3rd, a 4th, a 6th, an 8th, and gosh darn it, I don’t know what went wrong on that day in the Spring of ’16: a 10th. (For comparison sake, take Ryan Newman. Talented driver, and his best finish in that span is a 10th. His average is 17.8.). Now, Harvick has won each of the last three Fall races here (which includes the last event held here), but hasn’t done so in the Spring. We’re into the Summer now, expect it to be HOT out there. Does Harvick run better in cooler temperatures? Today we find out.

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Denny Hamlin was the winner of the Spring race last year, and it was pretty uncharacteristic for him. His average finish over the last ten is just 19.1, and three of his last four here (save the Win) have been 28th, 30th, and 34th.

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Aric Almirola has been shredding it lately, winning the first Stage in the All-Star Open is a good indicator of how he’s been. He had a wild streak of Top 5s going, which turned into a Top 10 streak after a “slip.” He finished 2nd here in the Fall, and will start 1st today.

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Erik Jones could surprise a few today. He had a streak of three 4th place finishes going before he finished 10th last year, making a 10-4-4-4-10 sandwich. Those are still pretty good numbers here, and he carries a 9.4 in the last ten races. He’s got a 22nd in there dragging his numbers down (in the Statistics world, we call that an “outlier”), but his other run back in the Fall of ’15 was 12th.

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Daniel Suarez. He hasn’t had the best year, but would you believe me when I tell you that he finished 3rd in BOTH of the Texas races last year? His driving situation is a bit different than it was then, but talent doesn’t just disappear. With Mexico right over the border, does this Texas track hold a special place in Suarez’s heart? Today is the day to prove it; Suarez starts 37th.


We’re whipping up a little Tex-Mex today (since we used up brisket a few weeks ago):

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Tex-Mex: chicken and steak fajita, refried beans, rice & beans, some semblance of Frito Pie, and Texas’ own Dr. Pepper! (Photo: Lisa Kuhmann)

Fajitas! Pretty good stuff, I went with the “more meat, no veggies” option (not pictured). Found a little hot sauce for the side, too. Got a dollop or two of Frito Pie on the side. Good stuff, Leese! (She’s been hitting on all cylinders lately, too. Well-oiled machine!)

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Coverage of the race starts on NBCSN at 3:00pm, green flag scheduled for 3:17pm.

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