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The long, tiring and exhausting start of NASCAR’s 12th round in Texas

Chase Elliott (9) has his tire burn as Martin Truex Jr. (19) and Corey LaJoie (7) drive by at the NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas, Sunday September. 25 2022. (AP Photo/Larry Papke)

Chase Elliott (9) has his tire caught fire while Martin Truex Jr. (19) and Corey LaJoie (7) drive by in the NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas, Sunday, September. 25 2022. (AP Photo/Larry Papke)

FORT WORTH Texas Fort Worth, Texas Chase Elliott was leading at Texas when a rear tire issue caused an intense collision with the wall, and an intense end to his race, removing him off the top of his playoff rankings.

The caution lights were turned on , a front-running car also had issues with its tires, Denny Hamlin went spinning into the grass infield following an unintentional bump from behind by fellow playoff competitor William Byron that NASCAR didn’t initially recognize — or penalize until.

In fact, Christopher Bell, who like his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Hamlin was so fast in the opening round of the playoffs was unable to finish the race at his track at home after his team ran out time to complete repairs to his car damaged by an issue with his tire caused him to crash into the wall.

With all the worries that the teams competing in the playoffs had voiced regarding Talladega Superspeedway and the Roval at Charlotte Motor Speedway in this three-race portion of the playoffs 334 laps around the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday was a turbulent start in the race of 12.

“Just a crazy race for everybody,” said race winner Joey Logano, who took over the lead in points. “You just cross your fingers, say a few prayers, hope it’s not your turn when the tire blows out.”

The tire problems caused a record-breaking 16 cautions (for nine laps) including 12 of them for single-car accidents, and the usual yellows at the end of both race stages. The race also saw the red flag of 56 minutes for lightning, as well as a record 36 lead change among 19 drivers.

Logano was worried about the vibrations on the right rear of his car in the final laps. He was 1.19 seconds slower than Tyler Reddick, whose win for Richard Childress Racing came a week after he was ejected from contention for the title when his playoff team was reduced between 12 and 16 drivers.

Four playoff races thus to date have been won by a driver who is in the running to compete for the title.

“It’s still nice,” Reddick stated. “I’d love to be racing for a championship, I really would, but we can’t.”

Even Reddick was a bit solitary during the last laps worried with tire issues that could be a problem and three of the drivers with issues with tires: “Probably about 50% of my brain was thinking about that,” the driver declared.

The caution was issued shortly after. out due to Martin Truex’s spinout of the leader in lap 26, Hamlin had a hard time navigating through the track following Byron’s violent collision from behind. After racing, Byron acknowledged that he had intentionally made the mistake, irritated by being pushed into walls by Hamlin on green-flag laps, when they were just behind the lead.

“He forced me out of the room. … The two of us are blessed that we got through,” Byron said. “I decided to express my frustration. I didn’t intend to hit him or spin his head.’

Hamlin continued to run alongside Byron throughout the warning time angry at the place he was losing along the course. Because he was unable to keep up with Byron after he slipped into grass Hamlin was able to restart about 10 rows away from the front.

“I think we could crash each other with caution. It was my attempt to destroy him again,” Hamlin said. “Yeah I don’t think we ever touched. I’ve got to check. I don’t think we’ve even were even close. Evidently, he sent us into the field under precaution.”

Scott Miller, NASCAR’s senior vice president of competition, claimed that officials couldn’t have seen the incident in real-time and were focused on the cause of the caution. He admitted that Hamlin might have been able to keep his place and Byron was sent to the side of the track. Penalties could still be a possibility when the incident is examined.

“By the time we got to a replay that showed the incident well enough to do anything to it, we had gone back to green,” Miller stated.

Hamlin nearly immediately tweeted an angry Tweet to voice his disappointment at the incident.

Elliott was leading just over the halfway point when he struck the wall. The flames could be seen quickly from under the right-hand part of the No. 9 Chevrolet when he stepped onto the front stretch. He eventually stopped at the center of the track and climbed out without injury while the car was consumed by fires. He was 32nd.

“I’m not sure that Goodyear is at fault,” Elliott stated. “Goodyear always gets an eye to the dark side, yet they’re in a tough spot by NASCAR to design an engine that can withstand the kinds of tracks that race with this car. I don’t think it’s fair to blame Goodyear.”

Goodyear as well as NASCAR officials have said that there were teams without problems with tires. Miller stated that these teams were that they were conservative with their pressure of air in addition to being “closer to the suggested minimums” that are recommended by the tire maker.

“Goodyear produces a top-quality tire. It was a fantastic tire that Goodyear designed to us.” Childress said. “There’s a line that you must cross to go over that line. It’s not the tire so far as it’s trying to become the most competitive you can be.”



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