The second leg of the eliminator round of the NASCAR Chase For The Sprint Cup stopped at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday Afternoon for the AAA 500. The big story coming in was how Erik Jones would fare in the #20 car, which is normally driven by Matt Kenseth. However, it was driven by Jones after Kenseth was suspended for two races following an incident at Martinsville with Joey Logano.
When the race started, Brad Keselowski picked up where he left off in qualifying on Friday, as he led the first 17 laps before relinquishing the lead to Kevin Harvick. The first caution of the race came out on Lap 9 when Logano spun out after suffering a tire issue. That wreck, together with his wreck last weekend, means that Logano absolutely needs to win next week at Phoenix if he wants to be one of the four drivers to race for the champonship at Homestead-Miami.
That would not be the last time that tires would be an issue. On the next caution, which came out on Lap 24, was also because of a tire issue. This time it was on the #21 car driven by Ryan Blaney. Dale Earnhardt Jr. also had a tire issue, as he had to make an unscheduled pit stop. He would lose a lap, but got it back a short time later when Tony Stewart cut a tire and spun, which brought out the caution, giving Earnhardt Jr. the free pass back onto the lead lap.
Earnhardt Jr. would not be out of the woods after that, as he hit the wall on Lap 160, then spun out during Lap 167 which again brought out the caution flag. When the race went back to green, Keselowski stayed in front, with Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards battling for second place. Johnson had the spot initially, but Edwards was able to power around Johnson to take the spot.
Harvick then had more issues, as his shifter gear popped out, forcing him to drive one handed, while he held the shifter in place with his other hand. His team attempted to fix that issue when they gave him a bungee cord to help secure the shifter.
After a debris caution with 30 laps to go, Johnson got a great restart, and challenged Keselowski for the lead. Keselowski was able to hold on until there were just three laps to go when Johnson finally got a run and passed Keselowski. Johnson then was able to use the lapped traffic to prevent Keselowski from getting the lead back, and Johnson ended up winning the race.
Next week, the Chase moves onto the second to last race of the season at Phoenix Motor Speedway. The series then travels to Florida for the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where a champion will be crowned.