NASCAR Pre-Race Media: Texas Motor Speedway Track Trends

TRACK: Texas Motor Speedway (1.5 mile oval) DISTANCE: 334 Laps — STAGE 1: 105 Laps, STAGE 2: 105 Laps, FINAL STAGE: 124 Laps, MILES (501 Miles)

Track History/Trends

  • Top Drivers: Ryan Blaney, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Aric Almirola, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Kurt Busch, Austin Dillon, Tyler Reddick
  • Trending Down: Brad Keselowski, Matt DiBenedetto, Cole Custer, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, William Byron, Alex Bowman.
  • Look for the winner to come from the top 6 Rows. 17 of the last 19 and 19 of the last 22 Texas races were won from a top 10 starter.
  • All but two races in the stage era has a driver not won a stage and the race itself. In fact, six of the last eight Texas races saw the eventual winner win or finish second in the second stage at that.
  • In 10 races on the 550 package this season, we’ve seen 7 different winners.
  • 3 times has the winner of the Cup race at Texas gone on to win the championship. 2007 – Jimmie Johnson, 2011- Tony Stewart, 2013 – Jimmie Johnson.
  • 4 times has the winner of the 7th playoff race gone on to win the title later that season – 2007 Jimmie Johnson (Atlanta), 2011 Tony Stewart (Martinsville), 2016 – Jimmie Johnson (Martinsville), 2018 – Joey Logano (Martinsville).
  • 4 times has a non playoff driver won this race – 2006 Tony Stewart, 2014 Jimmie Johnson, 2015 Jimmie Johnson, 2020 Kyle Busch
  • 1st time this race has kicked off the Round of 8.

Track Comparison

At Texas, you can take 2 tires or no tires here too. Similar to Charlotte than Atlanta. Turns 1-2 are different than both though with way more room to pass. Still, there’s really only 1 preferred lane around this track, which makes this a track position/pit strategy event.

How Much Does The All-Star Race Transfer Over To This Weekend?

One misconception for this weekend’s race may be thinking you can look at the All-Star race and use that as a reference on who will be good on Sunday in Texas. I say, not so fast. See, I don’t think you can take much, if anything, from July and transfer it over to this weekend.

First off, it was much hotter in July than now. The track conditions are vastly different. Secondly, the horsepower package is much different with them using an aero package for the All-Star race that is nothing like this one.

Finally, the we ran shorter stages with more stopping then than the typical race that’s broken down in three stages this weekend. The All-Star race was a bunch of short runs when this weekend’s race will feature a lot of green flag action which won’t bunch the field of every 10 or so laps.

How Will The PJ1 Affect The Racing?

Another byproduct of Texas now is the PJ1. See, when the track was reconfigured a bit and got a repave, they used PJ1 to also help add in another groove. The problem is, that’s not worked out well for the track or any series that races on it for that matter either.

It’s completely ruined the NTT IndyCar Series racing there with those cars not being able to go in the areas PJ1 was applied. It’s like ice for them. You get into that area, you’re along for the ride as a passenger into the SAFER barriers. So, it’s just a high speed parade now with the only way to pass is on the dog leg or the backstretch to set up a run into Turns 1 and 3.

NASCAR has had their problems too with it. It at times is like ice for them and hasn’t honestly improved the style of racing here either.

The track says that the darker areas in the corners where the used to apply it is more of a stain now, but that stain is still created havoc and just as slippery.

How much does this play a role in Sunday’s race? The PJ1 isn’t being applied but it’s already there.

I get the premise of adding it. They wanted to create another groove of racing in the outer lanes of the track instead of down by the white line on the lower groove. But, it’s worked in reverse actually. It’s really forced everyone down not only to the lowest line you can go, but they’re all running single file through it because you don’t necessarily dare get into the PJ1 compound or now that stain, if you want to come out on the other side in one piece.

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