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AAA Texas 500 Review: Stewart Backs Up Smack Talk

[1]After his victory in Martinsville last weekend, Tony Stewart climbed out of his car in Victory Lane and said that Carl Edwards ”better be worried” about Stewart cutting Edward’s lead down to eight points.  Stewart backed up his smack talk at Texas Motor Speedway by earning his second consecutive victory in the Sprint Cup Series, giving him his fourth win in just eight Chase races.

Stewart was running second when Jeff Burton ran out of fuel with four laps to go in the 334 lap race.  Stewart led on seven different occasions for a race-high of 173 laps.  He finished just one spot ahead of points leader Edwards, cutting his lead down to three points.

Teams Have Good Days

Roush Fenway Racing had a strong day with Greg Biffle and David Ragan qualifying on the front row, along with the rest of RFR starting in the Top 10.  Biffle led 23 laps early on and Matt Kenseth led 87 total.  Although Edwards only led 14 laps, he was the top finishing RFR driver by virtue of a second place finish.  Kenseth and Biffle finished the day out in fourth and fifth position, respectively.  Ragan, who raced in the Top 5 for most of the race, finished in 12th position.

After finishing the race in 13th position, Kevin Harvick remains third in points standings.  However, he is now 33 points behind the leader.  Kenseth, who finished the race in fourth position, gained one spot in standings and is now 38 points back in, fourth place.  Suffering from handling issues and troubles on pit road during the race, Brad Keselowski finished in 24th position, which drops him to fifth place in standings, now 49 points behind Edwards.

Hendrick teammates Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr finished in sixth and seventh, respectively, both gaining two spots in standings.  Earnhardt nows sit seventh in points, 79 points behind the leader. Gordon sits in eighth, 89 out of the lead.

Their HMS teammate, Jimmie Johnson, had a day that was indicative of his Chase thus far this season. Johnson started strong, running in the Top 10 for most of the race before sliding through the grass on lap 240, effectively ending his chance to win the race. This is just one example of a lackluster Chase performance this season that has plagued the No. 48 team.

Kyle Busch Parked For Race, Fined And Put On Probation

Kyle Busch did not participate in the Cup race after being parked by NASCAR for intentionally wrecking Ron Hornaday under caution in the truck series race on Friday night.  By missing the race, Busch dropped four spots in standings and is now 100 points behind the leader.  Busch has been fined $50,000 and placed him on probation until Dec. 31 for his actions.

When issuing the penalty on Monday, NASCAR said that “if during the remaining NASCAR events in 2011 there is another action by the competitor that is deemed by NASCAR officials as detrimental to stock car racing or to NASCAR, or is disruptive to the orderly conduct of an event, the competitor will be suspended indefinitely from NASCAR.”

Chase Is A Two-Man Race

With just two races left in the season, it looks like the Chase battle has come down to a two man battle.  The championship may just come down to the final lap at Homestead between Edwards and Stewart.  Next week we head to Phoenix International Raceway to see how the battle plays out!

Results: 1. Tony Stewart, 2. Carl Edwards, 3. Kasey Kahne, 4. Matt Kenseth, 5. Greg Biffle, 6. Jeff Gordon, 7. Dale Earnhardt Jr., 8. Martin Truex Jr., 9. Clint Bowyer, 10. AJ Allmendinger