Everything is bigger when you come to Texas, from the hats to the food to the racing too. The rising stars of the NASCAR Xfinity Series hoped to add to that big show style with their race, the O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday afternoon.
Qualifying for the race was scheduled for Saturday morning, but was cancelled due to a wet track. This meant the field would line up by practice times, putting multi-race winner this season Austin Dillon (#33 Rheem Chevy) at the point. The field was full of Cup regulars today, and once again they would try and steal the show from the Xfinity Series regulars.
Many of the Sprint Cup drivers would take turns at the front of the field on Saturday, with Austin Dillon leading from the pole, before others like Brad Keselowski (#22 Discount Tire Ford), Kevin Harvick (#88 Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevy), and Kyle Busch (#54 Monster Energy Toyota) got a chance. However, pit stops would prove to be an Achilles heel for many of these teams.
On the first set of pit stops, Austin Dillon would come early and get caught out by a caution, sending him to the tail of the field. Meanwhile, Kyle Busch would have a long stop for shifter problems, and Kevin Harvick had to pit multiple times for a loose wheel. This would allow Brad Keselowski to inherit the lead on the restart.
As the race wore on, and after a battle on a restart with Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson (#42 ParkerStore Chevy) would be the next Cup regular to take a turn at the front. Larson would lead, that is, until trouble struck. After his final pit stop, Larson would blow a tire and spin, handing the lead back to Austin Dillon after more pit stops.
On the final restart, Dillon would face a strong battle from fellow Cup competitors Harvick and Keselowski. In the end, Brad Keselowski would power his way to the front and win the O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at Texas.
Coming home in second on the day was Kevin Harvick, and third was Austin Dillon. The highest finishing series regular would be Ty Dillon (#3 Bass Pro Shops Chevy) in fifth. In the points race, Chris Buescher would exit Texas with a 24-point advantage over second place Chase Elliott.
The chase for the Xfinity Series championship rolls on to its penultimate race at Phoenix International Raceway. Be sure to catch the race next Saturday from the west coast on NBCSN.