The 2017 spring race was the first look at the reprofiled, repaved Texas Motor Speedway. Contested over 334 laps on the 1.5-mile oval, the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 was the seventh race of the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series season.
Kevin Harvick started on the pole, but things quickly shifted and it looked like it was Ryan Blaney’s race to lose. Blaney, then driving for Wood Brothers Racing, swept the first two stages and led 148 laps on the day but drifted back in the final stage in part from missing his pit stall with 33 laps remaining en route to a 12th-place finish.
The battle for the lead came down to the three cars up front for the remainder of the race – Joey Logano, Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Larson.
The race restarted with 30 to go after a late caution for debris in Turn 3 on Lap 301. Johnson, the reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion and a six-time winner at Texas entering this race, took the lead from Logano with 17 laps remaining. Johnson held on for his first win of the season and his seventh at the Lone Star State track. The seven-time champion would go on to win two more times in 2017 (at Bristol and at Dover in spring races at both tracks). Those 2017 victories are his most recent points-paying victories on the Cup circuit. This race also marked Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s last top-five finish in the NASCAR Cup Series.
Check out Jimmie Johnson earning his first win of 2017 and make a late pass for the win in this Classic Race Replay of the 2017 O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.