OBSERVATIONS: My Bariatric Solutions 300 at Texas Motor Speedway

Typically a race on an intermediate track can become boring as we’ve seen so far this year. Normally an event dominated by a single driver makes you want to fall asleep. Ultimately, the My Bariatric Solutions 300 for the NASCAR XFINITY Series was neither of those on Saturday afternoon. 

Right from the beginning, dramatics were in the air with three cautions in the first 17 laps. By having the teams practice in 80 Fahrenheit degree weather, followed by a temperature drop to 35 degrees over night, it’s no secret that teams were probably off on their adjustments. I mean, you had a veteran like Jamie McMurray just lose it off of turn four. When you’ve got conditions like that and having drivers pushed to the envelope to stay straight, you know you’re in for a show.

In the end, Ryan Blaney was dominate – leading 132 of 200 laps en route to earning the third straight victory for Team Penske’s No. 22 car, following the success of Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano. Remember last year when everybody was simply asking the question when would they win again? 

Even though they’ve been fast, the diversity is still felt in the series with speed being shown by Joe Gibbs Racing, JR Motorsports, Stewart-Haas Racing and Richard Childress Racing in the first six races this year. It should make for a great season of racing. 

But with that said, it’s apparent based on Penske’s XFINITY Series success and Stewart-Haas Racing’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victories that Ford certainly has their ducks in a row this year. 

Hendrick Motorsports is known for having some of the strongest motors in NASCAR with high reliability. Justin Allgaier, though, didn’t see that today as his day seen an early end with a trip to the garage following the first stage. It marks the first finish outside of the top-six for the JR Motorsports driver since wrecking in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway. 

As a whole, it wasn’t the day that JR Motorsports was looking for, though. Elliott Sadler failed to post a lap in qualifying due to failing technical inspection, but fought back to place eighth. Tyler Reddick ran up in the top-five, but a pair of speeding penalties late relegated him to a 23rd-place finish. Lastly, Michael Annett ranked 15th at day’s end following an early unscheduled trip down pit road.

It should be easy for the group to brush off, though, as they currently hold three of the top-five spots in points and Reddick won the season opener at Daytona.

Ryan Reed turned a lot of heads in the first two stages as he ran in the top-10 solidly, in an aggressive fashion though as he ruffled some feathers along the way. Spencer Gallagher went for a spin at Lap 72 and stated afterwards, “It’s going to hurt when I get back to him.” But what did Reed have to show for a it? A 14th. It’s one thing to run up front, but it’s another to finish the deal. He needs to work at other half. 

Brandon Jones is wishing he would’ve had some better luck, too. He won the second stage after a nice strategy ploy to stay out for the two-lap shootout, but wrecked in the beginning stages of the third stage after restarting mid-pack. Simply put – he got loose, like many others today. After making the move over to Joe Gibbs Racing during the off-season, it kills the early momentum built as it his first finish outside of the top-17 in 2018. 



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By Ashley McCubbin

Currently the Executive Editor for Popular Speed, Ashley McCubbin also runs Short Track Musings, while handling media relations for OSCAAR. Currently living in Bradford, Ontario, she spends her weekend at the local short tracks in the area taking photos.