Drivers trying to recover from pit road mishaps was just one of the stories at Texas Motor Speedway Saturday night. Some drivers were able to recover while others struggled to just hang on for the night.
Carl Edwards had one of the dominant cars of the night, leading 124 laps in the Duck Commander 500. On lap 223, Edwards headed to pit road after reporting a loose wheel. Edwards was slow getting on pit road and lost two laps during the unscheduled stop.
With 46 laps to go, Edwards finally got back on the lead lap thanks to the free pass. The driver of the No. 19 Stanley Tools Toyota fought hard to finish in the seventh position.
Kevin Harvick had issues getting his car to handle properly during the race.
The driver of the No.4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet also received penalties for an uncontrolled tire and speeding on pit road during a late-race stop.
“Everything from top to bottom was not good. We just battled the car all weekend and never really got it right.” Harvick said.
Despite an ill-handling car, the 2014 Sprint Cup champion was able to recover from his penalty with a 10th-place finish.
“We will chalk that one up to experience, and we’ll move on to something else and keep trying to get better. That’s really what it is all about, was trying to get better,” explained Harvick.
Brian Vickers, in what could’ve been his final appearance in the No. 14 Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing, had a rough night trying to recover from a bad green flag pit stop. Vickers spun entering pit road on lap 114 after running in the top 10 early in the race.
“The No. 15 of Clint Bowyer just stopped. I had them [the brakes] locked up, but I had nowhere to go. He went to half pit road speed, and I just got into the back of him and locked it up. I just didn’t see that coming,” said Vickers of the incident.
“That put us behind the rest of the night. We were just trying to recover from that.”
Vickers’ night ended early after he was involved in the 13-car crash.
Matt Kenseth needed a rebound at Texas Motor Speedway. He ran in the top five for most of the night and led 20 laps.
As was the case at Auto Club Speedway and Atlanta, a potential top five was spoiled by a miscue on pit road.
A loose wheel on Kenseth’s Dollar General Toyota dropped him to the tail of the lead lap. Moments after the ensuing restart, Kenseth was swept up in a 13-car pileup with 40 laps to go, effectively ending his bid for a top five.
The No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing team finished in the 11th position.
Former Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski’s night was also ruined by a loose wheel.
“It wasn’t as good of a night as we wanted, but we tried some out of the box things to prepare for this race in the Chase,” Keselowski said. “It just didn’t pay off.”
The No. 2 Miller Lite Ford struggled throughout the night and came home with an 18th-place finish.
Emily Spink is a POPULAR SPEED Development Journalist.
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