The Backstretch Blog's Race Day: Texas Two Step
Time to two-step our way out to the Texas Motor Speedway for race two of the third round of the NASCAR playoffs. After last week's race at Martinsville, it's likely that Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott will be dancing very lightly around each other on the track.
"I don't know that my thoughts today are a whole lot different than they were then," said Elliott. "But no, I am not going to answer your questions about whether I am going to get him back or not. Don't even ask because you are not going to hear it from me. Just don't go there."
Elliott had his chances of advancing to Homestead hurt by the dust up between him and Hamlin last week, but he can still get there and winning is the best way to day it.
"I think it all fuels you. I think it all has to fuel you," said Elliott. "I think it has to fuel our team, our road crew guys, our pit crew guys, and myself. I think it has to, I think it does, I think it is. I think that all those things are going to have to be in place and we are going to have to bring some fire the next two weeks to be a part of the show in Miami."
He will have his work cut out for him today at Texas, though. Elliott was one of a number of drivers that didn't make a qualifying lap because of trouble getting through inspection. He will start 34th.
Starting up front will be Kurt Busch, who set a new track record in the process.
"That is pretty neat to hear we were over 200 mph average speed for a lap time at a 1.5 mile track," said Busch. "It was really neat the way today unfolded for us."
Joining Busch on the front row will be the aforementioned Hamlin with Kevin Harvick. yesterday's winner Erik Jones and Kyle Busch rounding out the top five starting positions.
Tennessee native Trevor Bayne also failed to make a qualifying lap. He starts 37th.
There are nine former Texas winners in the field today. Like many tracks, this is one that Jimmie Johnson dominates. He leads all active drivers with seven Texas wins, including this race in the spring.
"We scored some decent points last weekend, although we didn't get the finish result that we needed and wanted, but scored some stage points and we will maximize any and every opportunity we can this weekend to either win or get max points," said Johnson.
You can see the race on NBCSN, with the green flag schedule to drop at 2:16pm