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'SEASON IN REVIEW' FEATURES EDWARDS CLINCHING CHASE CHAMPIONSHIP BERTH, BUSCH SWEEP AND RAHAL REDEMPTION
- Carl Edwards Wins AAA Texas 500 To Secure Berth In Chase's Championship 4
- Firestone 600 Redemption For Graham Rahal In Closest Finish In Speedway History
- Kyle Busch Earns Clean Sweep Of Duck Commander 500 Weekend
- Texas Motor Speedway Year In Photos Features 60 Of The Best Getty Images From 2016
FORT WORTH, Texas (December 1, 2016) - Kyle Busch opened the 2016 season at Texas Motor Speedway by sweeping the Duck Commander 500 NASCAR doubleheader weekend, Graham Rahal followed with a redeeming Firestone 600 INDYCAR win in the speedway's closest-ever race and it culminated with Carl Edwards' AAA Texas 500 victory for an automatic berth in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup's Championship 4 finale.
Those moments highlight the Texas Motor Speedway 2016 Season In Review that also features the Texas Motor Speedway Year in Photos as well as a video wrap-up of the season. The Texas Motor Speedway Year in Photos features 60images from Getty Images, the speedway's official photography agency, that were selected for their significance and/or artistic value. The photos are available in two formats - a traditional photo gallery as well as a compilation in a video format.
The 2016 Season In Review video is a 3-minute, 10-second highlight package of race winners and top moments.
Here's a look back at the 2016 season:
NASCAR XFINITY Series O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 / Fri., April 8
The Skinny: Kyle Busch earns his speedway-record eighth XFINITY Series victory by capturing the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300.
The Recap: Kyle Busch put on a dominating performance in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 to register his speedway-record eighth XFINITY Series win as well as his third in the last four seasons.
Busch started on the pole and went wire-to-wire for the second time in the XFINITY Series at Texas Motor Speedway. He became the first driver to accomplish the feat twice - the other instance came in this event in 2009 - with Carl Edwards (2011 spring) and Erik Jones (2015 spring) the only other drivers to do so in the speedway's 20-year history.
Busch was strong throughout, leading all but 50 laps of the 200-lap event. He led four times for 150 laps and never relinquished the lead after Lap 120 as he cruised to a 3.055-second margin of victory over the rookie Jones. Brad Keselowski finished third, Chase Elliott fourth and Dale Earnhardt Jr. fifth.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 / Sat., April 9
The Skinny: Kyle Busch wins the Duck Commander 500 to complete a Sprint Cup/XFINITY Series weekend sweep for the second time in the last four seasons at Texas Motor Speedway.
The Recap: Kyle Busch completed his second Duck Commander 500 doubleheader sweep in the last four seasons at Texas Motor Speedway by overcoming an early pit road mishap to win the rain-delayed Sprint Cup Series race.
Busch, who posted a dominant win in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 XFINITY Series event the previous night, led the final 33 laps of the 334-lap/501-mile race en route to a 3.904-second margin of victory over runner-up Dale Earnhardt Jr. Joey Logano finished third and was followed by Jimmie Johnson in fourth and rookie Chase Elliott in fifth.
Busch recorded his second sweep of Texas Motor Speedway's April weekend - the other came in 2013 - to give him 13 NASCAR national series wins at this venue. It also was his second sweep in as many weeks as he won the Sprint Cup/Camping World Truck Series doubleheader at Martinsville the previous week.
Following a weather delay of 1 hour, 50 minutes, the race began under a yellow-flag condition before going green after five laps. Busch's mishap on pit lane came on the first caution period on Laps 30-33 when he was involved in a bump-and-run incident exiting pit road with Johnson with both fortunately only sustaining minor damage.
Polesitter Carl Edwards and Martin Truex Jr. were the dominant cars of the night, but it did not translate into a win much less a top-five finish for either driver. Truex Jr. led six times for 141 laps, but settled for a sixth-place finish. Edwards, deterred by missing lug nuts following a pit stop, finished seventh after leading four times for 124 laps. The two combined to lead all but 69 laps of the race.
Texas World Dirt Track Championship / Fri., May 13 & Sat., May 14
The Skinny: Sam Hafertepe Jr. joins an elite club with an ASCS Sprint Car win while the Limited Modified Feature is settled in a photo finish at the Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track.
The Recap: Sam Hafertepe, Jr. won the first race of a Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series weekend doubleheader at the Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track and joined some exclusive company.
Hafertepe, Jr., a native of Sunnyvale, Texas, claimed his second ASCS victory at Texas to join Seth Bergman, ASCS' Jason Johnson and World of Outlaws drivers Danny Lasoski and Steve Kinser as the only drivers with a pair of sprint-car victories at the .4-mile oval.
The second night of racing was highlighted by a photo finish in the Limited Modified feature, with polesitter Kevin Rowland, of Rockwall, Texas, nipping defending Texas World Dirt Track Championship Limited Modified champ Nick Clinkenbeard, of Weatherford, Texas, by 0.001 of a second for his first career victory at the venue.
In other action, defending ASCS champion Aaron Reutzel, of Clute, Texas, captured his first victory of the season while Taylor Carver, of Lockesburg, Ark., successfully defended his title as Factory Stock champion.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Rattlesnake 400 / Fri., June 10
The Skinny: Rookie sensation William Byron wins the Rattlesnake 400 to become the youngest Camping World Truck Series winner in Texas Motor Speedway history.
The Recap: Teenage rookie William Byron overtook two-time series champion Matt Crafton with five laps remaining in the 167-lap event for the victory in the Rattlesnake 400.
Crafton led five times for 133 laps, but his dominant day was foiled by Byron's late pass that gave the teen his second victory of the season by 2.095 seconds. Johnny Sauter finished third, Ben Kennedy fourth and Tyler Reddick fifth.
The 18-year-old Byron became the youngest truck series winner at Texas Motor Speedway and second-youngest race winner overall. Chase Elliott holds that record with his victory in the XFINITY Series in 2014 when he was 18 years, 4 months and 7 days. Byron's win came at 18 years, 6 months and 13 days.
Verizon IndyCar Series Firestone 600 / Sat., June 11 & Sun., June 12 / Sat., Aug. 27
The Skinny: Graham Rahal gained redemption by edging James Hinchcliffe for the Firestone 600 victory in what would become the closest finish in Texas Motor Speedway history.
The Recap: It took 76 days to complete the rain-plagued Firestone 600 but it was well worth the wait, especially for Graham Rahal.
Rahal, who surrendered a win to Justin Wilson in this race in 2012 when he grazed the wall in the closing laps, made a dramatic last-lap pass to edge James Hinchcliffe by 0.0080 of a second for the win in the Firestone 600. The margin of victory was the closest of any major race series held at Texas Motor Speedway's 1.5-mile oval during its 20-year history. It also was the fifth-closest finish in Indy-car history.
Hinchcliffe had the dominant car as he led six times for 188 laps in the 248-lap event, but it was Rahal as the victor despite only leading the final lap.
Tony Kanaan finished third while Simon Pagenaud was fourth to extend his championship lead over Penske teammate Will Power, who finished eighth. Helio Castroneves rounded out the top five.
The Firestone 600 originally was scheduled for Saturday, June 11, but it was postponed until the following day due to weather. A total of 71 of the 248 laps were run that day before the race was suspended due to inclement weather. The race resumed on Saturday, Aug. 27, on Lap 72 with Hinchcliffe leading the field to the green flag to restart the race.
U.S. National Dirt Track Championship / Sat., Sept. 10
The Skinny: Johnny Herrera won the American Sprint Car Series Red River Region championship race during the U.S. National Dirt Track Championship that featured three series at the Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track.
The Recap: Johnny Herrera went wire to wire to capture the American Sprint Car Series Red River Region championship race during the U.S. National Dirt Track Championship at the Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track.
Herrera, of Albuquerque, N.M., started on the pole and led all 25 laps en route to his fifth series victory of the season and first career win at the venue.
In other action, Brandon Kenny, of Woodward, Okla., took advantage of a late caution to overtake leader Tracy Denby Jr. and win the Limited Modified championship race by 0.196 of a second. Justin Whitehead, of Texarkana, Texas, led 28 of 30 laps, but had to stave off challenges by Taylor Carver and Jason Gore to win the Factory Stock Championship.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Striping Technology 350 / Fri., Nov. 4
The Skinny: Johnny Sauter wins the Striping Technology 350 as he continues to show championship form in the Round of 6 of the Chase for the truck series.
The Recap: Johnny Sauter won the Striping Technology 350 for his second win in as many races in the Round of 6 for the Camping World Truck Series Chase.
Sauter, who clinched his berth in the Championship 4 the previous week with win at Martinsville, took the lead with three laps to go and outlasted Matt Crafton by .836 of a second for his third career truck series win at Texas. Daniel Hemric finished third, Tyler Reddick fourth and Daniel Suarez fifth.
William Byron finished sixth to move into second in Chase points behind Sauter with 3,052. Christopher Bell finished 11th and was one point (3,051) behind Byron. Crafton's runner-up finish moved him into the fourth spot at 3,048. Timothy Peters, who was 14th, moved one back of Crafton and Ben Kennedy, who was 13th, was 13 back with the final Round of 6 race at Phoenix to determine the four-driver championship group.
NASCAR XFINITY Series O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge / Sat., Nov. 5
The Skinny: Kyle Larson wins the O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge for his first XFINITY Series win at Texas Motor Speedway while the Chase Round of 8 field battles for points.
The Recap: Kyle Larson, the Sprint Cup regular who is ineligible for the XFINITY Series championship, edged fellow Cup driver Brad Keselowski by .385 of a second to win the O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge.
Keselowski dominated the race as he led 145 of the 200 laps, but Larson was able to take the lead from him on Lap 171 after a restart following a caution for fluid on the track. Larson led for the final 30 laps to earn his first win in any NASCAR national series at Texas Motor Speedway. The win also was the first XFINITY Series victory for Chip Ganassi Racing at the facility.
Kevin Harvick finished third to give the Cup contingent a sweep of the top three positions while the XFINITY Chase drivers vied for key points in this race.
Erik Jones, Daniel Suarez and Elliott Sadler finished fourth through sixth, respectively, in the Round of 8 race to help solidify their points positions for a shot at a berth in the Championship 4 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Chaser Justin Allgaier also earned a top-10 finish (10th) and all eight drivers finished among the top 15.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 / Sun., Nov. 6
The Skinny: Carl Edwards ended Jimmie Johnson's dominance of the AAA Texas 500 and earned an automatic berth in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship 4 race.
The Recap: Carl Edwards, who came into Texas last in the Chase standings among the eight contenders, rallied for a dramatic win in the AAA Texas 500 and advanced to the championship round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup format.
Edwards' victory ended Jimmie Johnson's AAA Texas 500 winning streak at four and provided the Joe Gibbs Racing driver an automatic berth in the Championship 4 race Nov. 20 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He secured the second of four berths, joining Johnson who earned his spot with a win at Martinsville the previous week.
The early-afternoon race start was delayed more than five hours due to rain causing wet track conditions, making it an all-evening affair.
Martin Truex Jr., who led 66 laps, was in command when a caution came out on Lap 257 as a result of polesitter Austin Dillon being tapped by Kevin Harvick and hitting the wall. The leaders pitted and Edwards came out first following a lightning-fast, 11-second pit stop with Truex Jr. and Logano trailing.
Edwards never surrendered the point as he led the next 36 laps before the race was officially called on Lap 293 of a scheduled 334 due to more rain. It was Edwards' third career Cup win at Texas, but first since he registered a season sweep in 2008.
Logano, who led a race-high 178 laps, finished second, Truex Jr. was third, rookie Chase Elliott fourth and Kyle Busch fifth.
Texas Motor Speedway also had various tributes to retiring three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart, including a life-size bobblehead of him as a farewell gift, with the AAA Texas 500 being his final Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway.