Memorable moments at Texas Motor Speedway
By Staff Report | Friday, October 23, 2020
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As NASCAR heads to the 1.5-mile oval at Texas Motor Speedway, NASCAR.com takes a look at some of the more memorable moments at the Fort Worth, Texas, track.
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April 6, 1997: The start of the first NASCAR Cup Series race at the 1.5-mile track didn't even make it half a lap before a 13-car wreck commenced. In the beginning, drivers were more inclined to cut to the inside on the new track. Jeff Burton emerged victorious. Pushing to the front of the field, Burton won by 4.067 seconds and managed to escape a late-race accident that sent Todd Bodine spinning. It was the first premier series victory of Burton's career.
Peter Carvelli/Getty Images
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April 4, 1998: Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s first win in what is now known as the NASCAR Xfinity Series came at Texas in just his 16th start in the series. The victory was his first in a NASCAR national series and marked the first win over a two-year stretch where he won two Xfinity Series titles and had 13 wins.
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April 2, 2000: With big things expected during his rookie season, Dale Earnhardt Jr. broke through with a victory in his 12th NASCAR Cup Series race.
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April 2, 2000: Dale Earnhardt Jr. led a total of 106 laps and beat Jeff Burton by 5.9 seconds. His performance wowed many, including his dad. The two are shown here on May 28, 2000.
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Nov. 6, 2005: As one of five Roush Fenway Racing drivers in contention for the championship, Carl Edwards led 82 laps before a caution for debris sent him to pit road for new tires. Edwards' stop allowed Mark Martin to take the lead, but with new tires, Edwards was able to blow past the No. 6 and won. Edwards' performance trimmed the gap between him and points leader Tony Stewart to 77, but Stewart went on to win the championship. The race was also the first fall event at Texas.
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Nov. 7, 2010: After seasoned veterans Jeff Burton and Jeff Gordon got into a wreck exiting Turn 2 that sent Gordon into the outside wall, no one expected the normally calm duo would settle the incident with punches. Shown here as NASCAR officials break up the fight, both drivers have different stories about what happened.
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Nov. 7, 2010: After a number of slow pit stops, the No. 48 crew of Jimmie Johnson was losing time to the No. 11 team of Denny Hamlin. In an effort to get Johnson back in the lead, crew chief Chad Knaus pulled in reinforcements -- Jeff Gordon's crew, who had been turning in faster pit stops. In the end, the pit crew couldn't play catch-up quickly enough to put Johnson up front; he finished ninth. While Hamlin won the race, Johnson closed on his fifth consecutive title later that year.
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2014: Everything is bigger in Texas, so in 2014, the speedway unveiled "Big Hoss TV," which is 218 feet wide and 94.5 feet tall.
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April 4, 2014: The son of Hall of Famer Bill Elliott, Chase Elliott, scored his first win in what is now the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Driving for the Dale Earnhardt Jr.-owned JR Motorsports, Elliott outdueled several NASCAR Cup Series stars for the win.
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Nov. 2, 2014: The new elimination-style playoff format saw tempers boil over in a big way following a late-race move by Brad Keselowski that led to a cut tire for Jeff Gordon. Gordon and Keselowski, who were both in the Round of 8, had words on pit road after the race, with Gordon pulling up along side of the No. 2 car. With a slight shove from eventual 2014 champion Kevin Harvick, a melee ensued on pit road. Both Gordon and Keselowski were eliminated from the playoffs the next week at Phoenix Raceway.
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Nov. 8, 2015: Brad Keselowski dominated the race from the start -- but not to the finish -- and Jimmie Johnson's late-race pass stopped Keselowski from a win that would have advanced him to the Championship 4. Keselowski, the pole winner, led 312 of 334 laps, but Johnson applied enough pressure to pass the No. 2 Ford and lead the final four laps to the checkered flag. It was Johnson's third straight win at Texas and fifth in the last seven races there.
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Nov. 6, 2016: Carl Edwards was basically in a must-win spot over the last two races of the Round of 8. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver took the lead on Lap 258 and led the final 36 circuits of a race that was shortened by rain. The victory turned out to be Edwards' last since he decided to step away from NASCAR competition in January 2017.
Sarah Crabill/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway
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2017: A general view of the track is seen during the renovation unveiling. The project addressed the track’s drainage system and transformed Turns 1 and 2, reducing the banking from 24 to 20 degrees and widening the racing surface from 60 to 80 feet.
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April 9, 2017: Jimmie Johnson won the first race at the repaved Texas. The seven-time champion has seven victories in Fort Worth.
Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images
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April 8, 2018: Kyle Busch kick started an eight-win campaign with his first 2018 win coming at Texas. This would also be the first of three straight wins for the Joe Gibbs Racing driver -- one of three drivers to roll off three wins in a row during the course of the season.
NASCAR Digital Media
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Nov. 3, 2018: NASCAR Xfinity Series playoff contenders Cole Custer and Tyler Reddick made contact on the final lap of the second race of the Round of 8. Custer would score the win, but Reddick would go on to win the championship two weeks later.
Jared C. Tilton | Getty Images
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March 31, 2019: Denny Hamlin overcame several pit road mishaps at Texas to score the victory -- his second in the season's first seven races.
Jonathan Ferrey | Getty Images
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Nov. 3, 2019: For the third straight year, Kevin Harvick won the Texas playoff race. "The Closer" came on strong late -- leading 73 of the final 80 laps for the win.