NASCAR

Surviving at Texas no small task

Jimmie Johnson (48) enters Texas Motor Speedway tied for the Sprint Cup Series lead.
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Larry McReynolds

Larry McReynolds has more than 30 years of NASCAR experience as a mechanic, Daytona 500-winning crew chief and broadcaster. He earned 23 Sprint Cup wins as a crew chief, including two victories in the prestigious Daytona 500, as well as a pair of non-points victories in the annual all-star race. Follow him on Twitter.

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Back in 2007, Jimmie Johnson chased down Matt Kenseth in the Chase race at Texas Motor Speedway on his way to Victory Lane, and ultimately the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship.

IT ADDS UP

Where did your favorite driver finish in the 2013 final standings?

Then just last year at Texas, we had Jimmie and Brad Keselowski put on a really great show in the closing laps. I expect the same kind of race again at Texas this weekend.

This mile-and-a-half track has an older surface, so the grip isn’t going to be there. Strategy with tires can be huge. Track position is still going to be critical, as it is at all mile-and-a-half tracks, but the better handling car will prevail there.

This isn’t like Kansas or Michigan that is really smooth and had a ton of grip. You really are going to have to have your car driving well and continue to make changes on the car to keep up with the racetrack.

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Texas is our final 500-mile race of the year. Not that the engine guys ever relax when you are in the Chase, but Texas is probably the ultimate last test for the engine guys in 2013. If you can get through Texas without any engine issues, trust me, all the folks in the motor room breathe a little easier because there is only a short race at Phoenix and a 400-mile race at Homestead left.

We all know how well Jimmie and Matt run at Texas, so I am expecting another epic battle seeing that they are tied in the points and there is so much on the line.

I know we all hope that 2011 repeats itself in who beats who at Homestead in two weeks, but both our leaders have to get through Texas first. That is no easy task.
 

Tagged: Jimmie Johnson

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