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Upcoming NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Testing Schedule Illustrates Importance of AAA Texas 500

by TMS Media Relations | Oct 09, 2013
  • Earnhardt Jr. Riding Impressive Hot Streak After Slow Start To The Chase
  • Nearly All The Chase Drivers Have Had A Taste Of Victory Lane At Texas Motor Speedway
  • Ticket Special With Free Scanner Rental Ends Saturday

FORT WORTH, Texas (Oct. 9, 2013) – Texas Motor Speedway’s AAA Texas 500 – the eighth race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup – has historically served as the Chase’s most pivotal race and the recent testing schedule of Sprint Cup Series teams vying for the championship is a testament.

Beginning Monday, Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, Roush Fenway Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing will bring their stable of drivers to compete in a three-day test at Texas Motor Speedway and fans can catch a glimpse of the Chase contenders as the sessions are open to the public.

The four teams are comprised of nine Chase contenders (Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards), including the top two in the championship with Kenseth and Johnson, respectively.

Busch, Texas Motor Speedway’s most recent Sprint Cup Series winner with his victory in April’s race, is looking forward to collecting information on his car that ultimately could help propel him to his first career Sprint Cup Series championship.

“It's certainly a great test to be able to get out there,” Busch said. “The more cars you can get on the race track, the more rubber you can get laid down. I think it's more beneficial to your test and your procedures that you get through, the things you can test and learn from.  I think that's an added benefit to it.”

While it appears Busch has little room for improvement considering April’s dominating performance where he led 171 of 334 laps, he understands that the upcoming test will not only help him improve at “The Great American Speedway!” but other 1.5-mile tracks left on the Chase schedule.

“It's the time to where we've had a good package there in the spring,” Busch said. “We look to develop that and continue to evolve that and see if we can't help make our cars a little bit faster, but at the same time, you know, it's a good chance to see how we stack up and if we can learn some information to get ready for not only Texas but also Homestead.”

Gates for the test session will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. CT Monday through Wednesday. Fans can park in the VIP/PSL parking lot located just outside Gate 4. Concession stands will be closed so fans are encouraged to bring their coolers.

Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, Roush Fenway Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing won’t be the only ones making a visit to Texas Motor Speedway in October. Richard Childress Racing will take part in a two-day test beginning Tuesday, Oct. 22, with championship contender Kevin Harvick, Paul Menard and Jeff Burton.

Tickets for the AAA Texas 500 are available by calling the Texas Motor Speedway ticket office at (817) 215-8500 or by visiting www.texasmotorspeedway.com.

  • Junior Achievement

What began as a dreadful start to the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup has taken a positive turn for Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Following a dismal 35th-place finish due to engine failure in the Chase opener at Chicagoland, he has tallied three consecutive top-10 finishes, including a runner-up finish at Dover that has propelled him to eighth in the series championship, 54 points behind leader Matt Kenseth.

Six races remain in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Earnhardt Jr. understands how important it is that he keeps his momentum if he’s going to have a shot at his first Sprint Cup crown.

“I think I’d take the position of being towards the front and feeling like I have a better shot at winning a championship than where I’m at right now, but I don’t feel a lot of pressure,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “I know those guys in the top three definitely are mindful of every lap they run and try to avoid disaster and any kind of setback. I don’t have to worry about that so much; I just kind of get to throw it all out there.”

The AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway has been the eighth race of the Chase since joining the schedule in 2005 and has developed a reputation of being an integral part of determining the eventual NASCAR Sprint Cup champion. While in Texas last week for an event benefitting Speedway Children’s Charities–Texas Chapter, Earnhardt Jr. discussed the importance of testing at Texas Motor Speedway next week, especially since three of the final six Chase races are on 1.5-mile ovals. One of those three will be the Nov. 3 AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

“You have to have a good 1.5-mile program,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “It’s a lot of races in the Chase and throughout the season, the 1.5 miles really dominate the series so your 1.5-mile program has to be good. It’s an important part that you need to be strong at.”

Having had great success throughout his career at Charlotte and Texas as well as the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway and the 0.526-mile Martinsville Speedway, the next four races bode well for Earnhardt Jr.’s chances.

“Going in to Phoenix, I think you need to be within 20 points at least,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “That’s 20 spots. You’ve got to beat not only the guy leading that’s 20 spots ahead of you, but there are likely guys in between that you’ve got to beat as well.”

  • Texas Motor Speedway Displays Competitive Balance

Texas Motor Speedway has continued to prove difficult to dominate since it joined the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule in 1997. It took 13 races before the track witnessed its first multiple race winner with Jeff Burton, who won the inaugural Sprint Cup Series race in 1997 and 10 years later captured his second victory in the 2007 Samsung 500.

With the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship reaching the halfway mark with Saturday night’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway appears to be one of the most wide-open events remaining on the schedule.

Of the 13 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship contenders, 10 have made a trip to Victory Lane. That places Texas Motor Speedway in a tie with Phoenix International Raceway for the most number of victories by the drivers in the Chase. Previous Texas Motor Speedway winners include Kyle Busch (2013-spring); Jimmie Johnson (2007-fall, ’12-fall); Matt Kenseth (2002, 2011-spring); Kurt Busch (2009-fall); Jeff Gordon (2009-spring); Carl Edwards (2005-fall, ‘08-s, ’08-f); Kasey Kahne (2006-spring);  Greg Biffle (2005-spring); Ryan Newman (2003); and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2000).  

  • Scanning A Good Deal?

Fans planning to purchase tickets for the AAA Texas 500 have the chance to take advantage of a limited-time offer as Texas Motor Speedway will include a free Racing Electronics radio scanner and headsets rental package with the purchase of a pair of frontstretch tickets.

The package will allow fans to listen to the radio communication between drivers and their crew chiefs, along with the ability to tune in to the PRN race broadcast or ESPN television broadcast.

The radio scanner/headset rental package, a $45 value, runs until 5 p.m. CT Saturday or earlier if inventory is depleted. The scanner package includes the “2 for $99” special as well as children’s tickets (12 and under), which are $25.

To purchase AAA Texas 500 tickets, please call the Texas Motor Speedway ticket office at (817) 215-8500 or visit www.texasmotorspeedway.com.  

Last Lap

The media credential deadline for the AAA Texas 500 weekend is Friday, Oct. 18. To apply for credentials, visit www.smicredentials.com. Those not yet registered for the website will first need to apply for access through the site. Once a registration confirmation e-mail is received, the credential request can then be submitted. ... Stage-side access for the Ricky Bobby Sports Saloon and Restaurant Pre-Race Show featuring O.A.R. is as simple as purchasing a $79 pre-race pass. The pass allows fans to get close to the entertainment and pre-race drivers introductions. A pre-race pass must be accompanied by a AAA Texas 500 grandstand ticket. To purchase a pre-race pass, visit www.texasmotorspeedway.com or call (817) 215-8500. … Race fans can access all the information they will need to know for the AAA Texas 500 weekend with a simple click. Fans can download Texas Motor Speedway’s free mobile app that includes the latest race weekend schedule, news, souvenir midway information and more. 



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