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The Final Word – Texas, where some raced, some participated, some tuned out

If you are going to watch ‘em race in Texas, you better have a PVR in your hand. My God, that was boring. I mean, with more than half the field lapped in the opening segment and more than 12 seconds between first and second, we were sure not talking about racing wheel to wheel.

Wrecks. If all you watched the race for was for wrecks, I guess it was salvageable. Not so for Alex Bowman, as he got turned on just the third lap and his day was all but done. It was like when your brother puts his finger up to your face and starts chanting “I’m not touching you, I’m not touching you” until you touch him in an unfriendly way and the fight begins. Bowman was not touched, but the car went around anyway. Paul Menard was caught up in the aftermath. Like Bowman, his day was ruined and his winless streak extended to 239.

Martin Truex Jr. was riding second, with Kevin Harvick somewhere over the horizon, when he lost a front tire but found the fence. He was toast, with five laps remaining in the opening frame. Again, if not for the wrecks, Texas was all about endurance. Yours.

Yours, and anyone associated with Goodyear. Midway through the second segment, Kyle Larson was sitting in fourth until the right front rubber shredded and the wall did a little shredding of its own. If a big reason they are in the sport is to advertise the durability of their product, Texas did them no favors. None.

So, what happens to all those lug nuts that come flying off the tires, to bounce unattended on pit road? Well, they can bounce their way into the jacks to gum up the works. That is what happened to Harvick when he pitted after Larson’s misfortune and went from first to ninth. Then, after all that, he did not go 10 laps when he had to come back for a loose wheel. Unbelievable. That dropped him a lap down and out of the Top 20. Such things might cause a man to cuss. Hell, it could cause a nun to cuss. You have to believe somebody is slated to have his backside gnawed off in the very near future.

So that left us with Kyle Busch taking the middle segment, Kurt Busch was next, with only 13 cars on the lead circuit. As for Harvick, he was the second among those a lap down in 15th. Things just might get interesting before this one was done yet. That is, if you had the endurance to wait it out.

Maybe a wreck would keep us engaged. A handful of laps into the run to the flag, we got it. Adios Denny Hamlin. Sayonara Brad Keselowski. Goodbye Aric Almirola. Take a bow, Jimmie Johnson. Sometimes good things come to those who wait, even if your good things are someone else’s bad things.

Harvick came back and was in the mix but still needed some help to close the gap. With under 50 go to, a tire rolled loose in his pits. NASCAR reviewed, and Harvick escaped without a penalty even NASCAR later admitted he should have been tagged with. Ryan Newman had a Top Ten car, then had a tire blow and he hit the wall. Bad news for Newman, more good news for Harvick. Good news for those poor sons of a gun watching this thing.

However, leading is where it was at. You lead, you win, and Kyle Busch did…and did, by 3/10 of a second over Harvick. Finally, a victory after three runner-up finishes to give Rowdy his 44th career Cup decision. Jamie McMurray finished third, while 40-plus point days were recorded by Kurt Busch, Joey Logano, and Erik Jones, who brought it home in fourth.

Bad days were realized by Goodyear, whoever supplies those air guns some say were responsible for all the vibration issues, and you, the fan. Ten cars concluded the day on the lead lap, just two more a lap down. You know, I’ve been waiting and waiting for my call to join NASCAR’s promotional department. I might have to wait a bit longer.

Next Sunday, it is Bristol. We give thanks for what we are about to receive. Amen.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

Ron Thornton
Ron Thornton
A former radio and television broadcaster, newspaper columnist, Little League baseball coach, Ron Thornton has been following NASCAR on this site since 2004. While his focus may have changed over recent years, he continues to make periodic appearances only when he has something to say. That makes him a rather unique journalist.


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