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DUCK COMMANDER 500 ADVANCE

  • HARVICK READY TO PUT BRAKES ON TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY WINLESS SKID 

Stewart-Haas Racing driver and 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick is accustomed to winning. 

His 32 career wins are fifth most among active Sprint Cup Series drivers, but there is nary a victory at Texas Motor Speedway where he enjoyed plenty of success in NASCAR’s other national series. 

Harvick is in the midst of a 26-race winless streak at the 1.5-mile speedway, which is tied for the longest streak without a victory among Sprint Cup Series drivers who have competed at Texas Motor Speedway. Texas native Bobby Labonte competed in 26 Sprint Cup Series races during his career without securing a victory. 

Harvick, however, does own six NASCAR national series wins at Texas Motor Speedway over the course of his career, five in the XFINITY Series and one in the Camping World Truck Series. 

That Sprint Cup streak nearly came to an end last year as Harvick led 96 laps only to finish runner-up to Jimmie Johnson in last year’s Duck Commander 500. Harvick arrives at Texas Motor Speedway for Saturday night’s Duck Commander 500 (6:30 p.m. CT on FOX/ Radio: PRN, SirusXM Channel 90, 95.9 FM The Ranch local) once again as one of the more dominant drivers in the series. 

He sits atop the driver standings buoyed by a win at Phoenix and five top-10 finishes, including three among the top five, in six starts this season. He also has finished third or better in his last three starts at Texas Motor Speedway and among the top 10 in six of his last eight visits. 

“I think with the way we’ve run well the last couple of years – we’ve finished second two or three times – we can get that win,” Harvick said. “I just really keep thinking about every time I have to drive into the tunnel and the first time I see Eddie (Gossage, Texas Motor Speedway president) to give me grief about not having accomplished that. Hopefully at one point we can knock that off the list, but if we do I don’t know what Eddie and I am going to have to talk about any more.” 

  • JOHNSON LOOKS TO CONTINUE TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY DOMINANCE

Six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, already with one win in this young season, arrives at Texas Motor Speedway for Saturday night’s Duck Commander 500 as a heavy favorite ”¦ once again. 

Johnson will be chasing his fourth consecutive victory at Texas Motor Speedway and fifth in the previous seven races.  Over that stretch, he has led a total of 748 laps to push his career total at Texas to a record 1,023. Last season, he also became the third driver in speedway history to sweep the season’s Sprint Cup races (Carl Edwards and Denny Hamlin are the others) to push his career wins at TMS to six, another track record. 

“Texas is one of the tracks with an older surface on it and it just fits me,” Johnson said. “The longer the race, the more adjustments that need to be made. I’ve always thought a big thing has been our ability to communicate and talk through what I’m feeling and where we think things are going to go and making the right adjustments.” 

Johnson already has demonstrated he has a handle on NASCAR’s new aero package at 1.5-mile speedways. He collected his first victory of the season at Atlanta Motor Speedway, a sister Speedway Motorsports, Inc. track similar to Texas Motor Speedway. He also led 73 laps en route to a third-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, another SMI facility, last month. 

“It’s always fun to go to Texas,” Johnson said. “It’s a place that always seems to give us a great opportunity to win.” 

  • HOMETOWN FAVORITE TAKES OVER TMS INFIELD

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rookie Chris Buescher, a Prosper, Texas native and 2015 XFINITY Series champion, is returning to his home track and on Friday he will be giving back to his loyal hometown supporters. 

Buescher, driving the No. 34 Love’s Travel Stops Ford for Front Row Motorsports, is set to take over the Texas Motor Speedway infield campground as he will be rolling through to give away hats, take photos and sign autographs with fans from 3-4 p.m. CT. Fans can keep tabs on Buescher’s whereabouts by following @chris_buescher, @roushfenway and @team_FRM on Twitter or by following the Live broadcast on Roush Fenway Racing’s Facebook page.  

  • UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Brad Keselowski is in the midst of love/hate relationship with Texas Motor Speedway. He has led in eight of the previous 10 races, including a record 312 laps in last November’s AAA Texas 500, but has no wins to show for it. 

He does own a pair of runner-up finishes (fall of 2012 and ”˜15) and has tallied six top-10 finishes during that span, but that elusive victory continues to haunt Keselowski. Already with a win at a 1.5-mile track this season (Las Vegas), he is looking to snap that streak during the Duck Commander 500. 

“When I think of Texas Motor Speedway I think of finishing second there way too many times,” Keselowski said. “I need to win and get that cowboy hat and six shooters. We just need to close the race out. It seems at the end of the race something comes up. Whether it’s a mistake I’ve made or something else. We’ve just got to close it out.” 

  • EARNHARDT JR. SHARES MEMORIES OF TMS AS IT CELEBRATES 20TH ANNIVERSARY 

Texas Motor Speedway has ushered in some of NASCAR’s most memorable moments since opening its doors in 1997. The speedway will celebrate its 20th season of racing beginning with this weekend’s Duck Commander 500, the traditional April spot on the Sprint Cup schedule the speedway has held since ”˜97. 

For NASCAR’s most popular driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., Texas Motor Speedway has hosted a pair of special moments for him during his career. Texas was where he earned his first career victories in both the XFINITY (1998) and Sprint Cup Series (2000). 

“I just remember how good the car was,” Earnhardt Jr. said of his Sprint Cup Series race-winning car.  “We had an awesome setup and some pretty unique stuff in the car. It really was a new direction for us in setups. I just remember being in the car and it being so amazing. It was so easy to drive.” 

Earnhardt Jr. became the first Sprint Cup Series rookie to win at Texas Motor Speedway, leading 106 of 334 laps. While the celebration in Victory Lane with his father Dale Earnhardt Sr. provided a lasting memory, the win could have nearly been derailed. 

“A lot of people don’t know this but the clutch broke 40 to 50 laps to go,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “After the last pit stop the clutch was broke so if we would have had a restart or late race pit stop I would have had a lot of trouble trying to get out of the pit stall. We were fortunate that didn’t bite us at the end.” 

  • DUCK CALL 

Birds of a feather flock together and the famed Robertson family will do just that this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. The family, known for their antics on A&E’s popular reality show Duck Dynasty as well as for their booming business that serves as the title sponsor for the Duck Commander 500, will visit with fans leading up to the start of Saturday evening’s race. 

The Duck Commander compound, located between Gates 1 and 2 along the FanZone, will be the place for fans to get autographs of their favorite Duck Dynasty personality. The signings are free and open to the public. 

10 – 11:30 a.m. – Phil Robertson, Ms. Kay, Jase Robertson, Missy Robertson, Alan Robertson, Lisa Robertson and John Godwin. 

12:30 – 2 p.m. – Willie Robertson, Korie Robertson, Sadie Robertson, Si Robertson, Jep Robertson, Jessica Robertson and Justin Martin. 

About the author

The Texas Motor Speedway Media Relations Department is located on the 6th floor of The Speedway Club outside of Turn 1 of the speedway. 

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