2020 NASCAR Cup Series preview: Texas 1

After an action-packed All-Star Race at Bristol on Wednesday, the NASCAR Cup Series continues its regular-season slate with a 500-mile event at Texas Motor Speedway Sunday afternoon. 

The race will serve as the seventh consecutive regular-season race that features the high-downforce aero package. 

Aric Almirola will start on the pole. Despite having a shaky start to his 2020 racing season, the 36-year-old for Stewart-Haas Racing has turned it around, as the No. 10 Ford has finished in the top 10 in six consecutive races. 

Almirola’s teammate, Kevin Harvick, currently leads the field in points (675) and has become a clear championship contender with his No. 4 Ford. In 17 starts this year, the 44-year-old has collected four wins (a winning percentage of 23.5%), 10 top-five finishes (first among the field), and 14 top 10’s (also first among the field). After winning last November’s playoff race at Texas, Harvick will have the opportunity to become the fourth driver to post consecutive wins at the track (Jimmie Johnson in 2014 and swept in 2015, Carl Edwards swept in 2008 and Denny Hamlin swept in 2010). Harvick will start the race fifth.

After picking up his first Cup Series victory last weekend, Cole Custer will make his Cup debut at Texas. In six Xfinity starts at the 1.5-mile oval, the 22-year-old has one win, four top-five finishes, and five top-10 finishes. Custer will start 19th.

After posting five top-10 finishes out of six races from May 24 (Charlotte) to June 14 (Homestead-Miami), Chase Elliott has only collected one top-10 finish since (fourth at Pocono on June 28). After winning the All-Star Race Wednesday, Elliott will look to rekindle the speed his No. 9 Chevrolet had earlier in the season. In eight career races at Texas, Elliott has five top-10 finishes. He will start eighth. 

Kyle Busch, the defending Cup Series champion, is still searching for his first win in 2020. Luckily for the 35-year-old, Texas has been a good track. In 28 career Cup races in Fort Worth, Busch has three victories, 12 top-five finishes, and 15 top 10 finishes. He will have an advantage over the rest of the field Sunday as he ran both the Xfinity Series and truck series races on Saturday; winning both races but was disqualified from his Xfinity win after failing post-race inspection. Busch currently sits 11th in the point standings (477). He will start fourth. 

Jimmie Johnson currently sits on the fringe of the 2020 playoff bubble, as the No. 48 for Hendrick Motorsports sits 15th in the points standings (412). The 44-year-old will look for his first victory in over three years at a track he has an excellent record at. Johnson currently leads active Cup drivers in wins at Texas (seven). Johnson will start 20th

Stages for Sunday’s race end on lap 105, lap 210 and the finish on lap 334. TV coverage for the race will begin at 3:00 p.m. EST on NBC Sports Network. The Performance Racing Network will provide radio coverage.

Here is the starting lineup: 

Pit stall assignments:

Goodyear tire notes: https://www.jayski.com/2020/07/16/goodyear-fast-facts-texas-4/

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