O’Reilly Auto Parts 500



The motorsports season is in full swing as all four major racing series that compete at Texas Motor Speedway are off and running. The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, the NASCAR XFINITY Series, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the Verizon IndyCar Series are still in the early-going of what will be a very arduous and competitive season to determine a respective champion.

With that in mind, it’s never too early to look at the biggest surprises of the 2018 season for each series. Here’s a look at our list … what’s yours look like?


No Hendrick Motorsports Drivers Currently In The Top-10

While there was a certain learning curve and adjustment to be expected, it’s still hard to believe that eight races into the season not a single driver in the Hendrick Motorsports camp is ranked inside the top-10.

Jimmie Johnson moved up (yes, moved up) to 17th in the standings after a third-place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway on Monday. His teammate, Alex Bowman, also scored top-five finish and has moved up to 13th. Rookie William Byron sits 19th with just one top-10 this season and Chase Elliott ranks 23rd despite three top-10 finishes.


Veteran Leads Way In Youth-Driven Standings

No other driver has been more consistent in 2018 than the NASCAR XFINITY Series standings leader Elliott Sadler, who posted his series-best seventh top-10 finish this past weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Just how consistent has Sadler been?

He leads the series in championship points (261), top-fives (five), top-10s (seven) and average finish (5.1) through seven races. It doesn’t stop there, however, as Sadler also leads the series in season-to-date average running position (8.6) and percentage of laps run on the lead lap (96.3 percent). He is also ranked second in season-to-date Driver Rating (102.3) and percentage of laps completed in the top 15 (88.9 percent).

Yeah, he’s been that good.


Moffitt Making Most Of Opportunity

For the first time in his career, 25-year-old Brett Moffitt has a full-time ride in one of NASCAR’s three national racing series. Running the No. 16 Toyota for Hattori Racing Enterprises, Moffitt is off to a strong start with three top-fives, including a win at Atlanta Motor Speedway and back-to-back third-place finishes in Las Vegas and Martinsville.

Moffitt’s win was hardly a fluke, either. Lined up in Row 2 behind the leaders, Moffit made an aggressive move to go three-wide into the first turn at Atlanta to overtake the leaders during an overtime restart. His move paid off and he cruised to Victory Lane.

Moffitt does have some Cup experience, running 31 races for Michael Waltrip Racing’s Brian Vickers during the 2015 season. Moffitt is a nine-time winner in NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series East, which he competed in full-time from 2009-2013. He never finished worse than third in the season standings in any of his five seasons in that series.

Moffitt will make his Camping World Truck Series debut at Texas Motor Speedway in the Rattlesnake 400 on June 8.


Rossi Races To Red-Hot Start

An American leading the charge in the Verizon IndyCar Series standings isn’t much of a surprise. Which American that’s doing it, however, certainly is.

With just four podium finishes – two of those wins – in his first 33 IndyCar starts, Alexander Rossi has nearly equaled those statistics through the first three races of 2018. The native of Auburn, Calif., finished third in the season-opening race at St. Petersburg and followed that up with another third-place finish in Phoenix. But a dominant win this past Sunday in Long Beach certainly puts the rest of the field on notice. Especially reigning IndyCar champion Josef Newgaden.

Rossi has never finished better than 11th in two career starts at Texas Motor Speedway. But the Andretti Autosport pilot should be one of the favorites entering “America’s Original Nighttime Race”, the DXC Technology 600 on June 9.


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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