NASCAR’s top 5 moments from Texas Motor Speedway
Today would have seen the Cup Series take to the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway just outside Fort Worth. The race would have been the 39th Cup Series event at the track since it opened in 1997.
Like last weekend with Homestead-Miami Speedway, we’re taking a trip down memory lane to look at five of the most memorable NASCAR moments seen at the track.
Here’s our list:
1) Jeff Gordon gets in a fight, Part II (2014)
“He’s just a dipshit!”
Jeff Gordon gave the NASCAR world whiplash after the Texas playoff race six years ago.
First, he got in a Kevin Harvick-induced scuffle with Brad Keselowski and their respective crew members on pit road. Then he cursed on live television to show he was really mad with Keselowski for making contact with him on a late-race restart and cutting down a tire while battling at the front.
As you’ll see later, Gordon’s temper is just bigger in Texas.
2) Dale Earnhardt Jr. wins a Cup race (2000)
You know what’s better than winning your first career Xfinity Series race at a track in 1998?
Winning your first career Cup race at that same track two years later.
Good things happened to Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Texas Motor Speedway early in his career. On April 2, 2000, Earnhardt took his No. 8 Budweiser to victory lane, earning his first Cup victory in his 12th career start. He led 106 of 334 laps and beat Jeff Burton, who also got his first Cup win at Texas three years before.
3) Kyle Busch gets parked (2011)
What happens when you intentionally wreck a competitor under caution?
You get “parked” by NASCAR for the rest of the weekend.
That’s the position Kyle Busch found himself in after he did just that to Ron Hornaday Jr. in a Truck Series race.
After Hornaday and Busch made contact in the middle of a three-wide pass, both of them got into the outside wall, causing the caution. As they entered Turn 3, Busch began roughing up the back of Hornaday’s truck, causing Hornaday to be turned nose first into the outside wall.
When the green flag dropped on that weekend’s Cup race, Michael McDowell was driving Busch’s No. 18 car and Busch’s bank account had $50,000 less in it.
4) Elliott Sadler crosses the finish line first ... barely (2004)
When Elliott Sadler won his first Cup race in 2001, he did it for the historic Wood Brothers Racing at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Sadler would have to wait three years for another visit to victory lane, but he made it count.
Now with Robert Yates Racing, Sadler dueled with Kasey Kahne for the win in Texas’ spring race, and edged Kahne by .028 seconds in a side-by-side finish.
Sadler would only have to wait 18 races for his third - and final - Cup win, at Auto Club Speedway.
5) Jeff Gordon gets in a fight, Part I (2010)
It’s been a decade, but yes, Jeff Gordon got into two scuffles at Texas Motor Speedway during his career.
While under caution for a Martin Truex Jr. incident on Lap 191, Gordon was involved in a wreck with another Jeff by the name of Burton.
Burton’s car turned left into Gordon’s rear bumper. The contact sent both cars into the wall at the exit of Turn 2.
Gordon was not pleased, going after Burton and having to be separated by safety workers before it got out of hand.
Burton later took full responsibility for the accident.
Meanwhile, Denny Hamlin won that day, completing a sweep of that year’s Texas races. During the race, Hamlin’s main competition for the championship, Jimmie Johnson, got a new pit crew after multiple slow pit stops. His team swapped crews with Gordon’s. The move came with two races left in the season.
Mike Ford, Hamlin’s crew chief, called the switch a “desperation move.
“They just took their team out of it,” Ford said. “This is more about trying to win a championship for (Hendrick Motorsports) and not (Johnson’s) team.”
Two weeks later, Johnson won his fifth consecutive title.