TMS Media Relations | Nov 03, 2014
FORT WORTH, Texas (November 3, 2014) – Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 post-race brawl ignited by Jeff Gordon and Brad Keselowski took center stage, but several NASCAR Sprint Cup records were floored as well during the weekend.
Six-time Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe’s Red Vest Chevrolet) captured the AAA Texas 500 for his fourth career win at Texas Motor Speedway, breaking a tie with Carl Edwards (No. 99 Aflac Ford) and giving him sole possession of the track record for most Sprint Cup victories. Interestingly, all four have come in the AAA Texas 500 with his first recorded in 2007 and the others coming the last three consecutive years.
In the 18-year history of Texas Motor Speedway, Johnson is the only Sprint Cup Series driver to successfully defend his race title the following year, much less twice over.
Johnson led the AAA Texas 500 nine times for 191 laps, which vaulted him past Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Dollar General Toyota) and Tony Stewart (No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet) for most career laps led at Texas Motor Speedway with 889. Kenseth actually held that record momentarily during the race as his 59 laps led in the early going moved him past Stewart (801) with 834. Johnson also moved into a tie for most career top-10 finishes, joining Kenseth with 17 each.
The AAA Texas 500 established a track record in the Sprint Cup Series for most caution periods at 13. The previous mark of 12 was established in 2000 and then equaled in the fall races of 2006 and ’07.
The AAA Texas 500 also produced the first multiple green/white-checkered finish for the Sprint Cup Series at Texas Motor Speedway. Johnson needed two attempts in overtime and seven additional laps from the originally scheduled distance of 334 laps to secure his 70th career victory. This marks the fourth time that a Sprint Cup Series race was extended past the scheduled 334 laps – the others being the 2012 AAA Texas 500, 2008 Samsung 500 and 2006 Dickies 500 – but Sunday’s 341 laps was a record total.
Another track record for the Sprint Cup Series also fell on Friday during the knockout qualifying format. Tony Stewart (No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet) recorded a lap of 200.111 miles per hour in the second round of qualifying to establish a track record, eclipsing the mark set during April’s Duck Commander 500 by Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet) at 198.282 mph. The lap also was the fastest-ever qualifying lap on a 1.5-mile oval in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
After Further Review…
NASCAR is planning to review the video footage from Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 post-race melee involving Jeff Gordon, Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick and numerous crew members that possibly could warrant penalties.
NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition and Racing Development Robin Pemberton said the sanctioning body has no qualms about the on-track incident between Gordon and Keselowski that triggered the post-race emotions, but the skirmish could result in penalties, in particular crew members who got involved.
"You shouldn’t punch somebody,” Pemberton said in post-race media interviews. “Everybody gets together, and when you’re holding onto each other and grabbing and this, that and the other, that’s one thing. When punches are landed, that’s a different scenario.
“We’re going to take our time. We’ve got a lot of film to review and things like that. The important thing is to make the right decision at the end of the day. We have a lot of work to do this week.”
Chad Knaus, crew chief for six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, has become a big fan of Texas Motor Speedway after the duo notched their fourth career victory at the ultra-fast, 1.5-oval with Sunday’s triumph in the AAA Texas 500.
“Quite honestly, I think this is one of the coolest race tracks we go to,” Knaus said. “Super, super fast obviously. I think Tony (Stewart) has the track record in qualifying of over 200 miles per hour. It's ridiculous how fast we are. The tires wear out, the cars are slipping and sliding. If you don't like watching racing here at Texas, you don't like racing.”
Knaus, ever the strategist, also enjoys the challenge the track presents to both crew chief and driver.
“It's a lot of fun,” Knaus said. “The drivers really have to be in tune with what's going on. Obviously, Jimmie does a very good job of giving us feedback about what's going on with the race track, which allows us to really get in there and manipulate the car to make it to his liking so he can be comfortable sliding it and drifting it and driving it the way he likes to.”
Knaus also put to rest the rumors of split from Johnson heading into the 2015 season.
“I haven't heard any of that stuff,” he said. “No, man, I'm set. I don't foresee a change with the 48 car from a driver or crew chief standpoint in the near future. I don't foresee that happening. If it does, I'll have to be a reporter because I don't know what the hell I'm going to do after that.”
AAA Texas Agrees To Extension
AAA Texas has served as the title sponsor of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup’s most dramatic race in the 10-race playoff for the last five seasons and on Sunday the organization announced it has extended its partnership as title sponsor with Texas Motor Speedway.
AAA Texas has agreed to extend its sponsorship of the AAA Texas 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race through the end of the 2017 season. No financial terms of the deal were disclosed, but with the extension AAA Texas 500 will continue to keep its namesake on the Chase’s largest-attended race.
“We are always excited for NASCAR racing here at Texas Motor Speedway,” AAA Vice President of Direct Sales Vicki Foshee said. “The AAA Texas 500 has loyal fans, many of which are actually AAA members. Since both organizations share a number of high-focus service qualities it makes sense for us to extend our partnership.”
Sponsors remain the lifeblood of Texas Motor Speedway and an essential component of helping continue its efforts to provide a one-of-a-kind experience to its loyal race fans.
“It’s important for us to have AAA Texas to help us do things the way we do them – from paying the biggest purse to unicycle football in the ‘No Limits’ Garage Party and all the other things that we do,” Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage said. “Those kinds of things cost money and to be able to try and do it as first-class and as usual as we try to do things here it’s important to us that folks like AAA Texas are good partners. We thank them for their loyal support and look forward to all the excitement that will unfold in the AAA Texas 500 for the next three years.”
Kyle Busch (No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota) continued his dominating ways in Saturday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge Nationwide Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.
After winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series the previous night, Busch earned his second victory of the weekend as he held off Joey Logano (No. 22 Discount Tire Ford) to mark the second time in his career he had won the first two races of a tripleheader weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.
Busch extended his record for career Nationwide Series victories at TMS by adding his seventh with a 1.562-second win over Logano. It also was his seventh NNS victory of the season, 70th in his career and a milestone 100th for Joe Gibbs Racing.
“Obviously it’s a special moment for all the guys at Joe Gibbs Racing and everybody in the body shop, chassis shop, engine shop – you know they’ve worked hard for a long time to get this many wins and they’ve done a great job,” Busch said after his victory. “I’m just proud to be a part of the effort. It’s good to be back on top here in Texas and to get another win here.”
With the victory, the J.D. Gibbs-owned Toyota, No. 54 Monster Energy team gained five points in the owner’s championship standings. Gibbs now sits 26 points behind the No. 22 Penske Ford with just two races left in the season.
Kyle Busch’s victory in Friday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series WinStar World Casino & Resort 350 at Texas Motor Speedway marked the 12th for Kyle Busch Motorsports this season, tying a series record set by Ultra Motorsports (Ted Musgrave, Scott Riggs) in 2001.
Busch (No. 51 ToyotaCare Toyota) owns seven of those wins while teammates Darrell Wallace and Erik Jones have three and two, respectively. In addition to KBM’s record-setting night, Toyota Racing marked its 16th manufacturer win of the season, surpassing its own record of 15 set in 2010. The win also clinched Toyota their seventh manufacturer title since joining the series in 2004.
WinStar-World-Star-Casino-Resort-350, O'Reilly-Auto-Parts-Challenge, AAA-Texas-500, Kyle-Busch, Jeff-Gordon, Brad-Keselowski, Chad-Knaus, Jimmie-Johnson