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Carl Edwards led Joe Gibbs Racing with a 10th-place finish in today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Meanwhile teammates Denny Hamlin finished 11th, David Ragan was 13th and late-race issues left Matt Kenseth to finish 23rd.
Carl Edwards started the No. 19 STANLEY Racing for a Miracle Toyota in 16th and patiently worked his way into the top 15 and was running 11th at lap 125. He would work his way into the top ten and following a tremendous pit stop by his STANLEY crew he would restart fifth on lap 179. Edwards would hold the sixth position at lap 200. A caution on lap 228 would bring them back down pit road and Edwards would line up fifth for the ensuing restart with 100 laps to go. He was running seventh when another caution came out with 86 laps to go and the STANLEY Racing for a Miracle Camry held seventh for the restart with 80 to go. Another caution quickly followed and Edwards would bring the 19 back down pit road for four fresh tires. With several teams making the decision to remain out on the track he would restart 13th with 65 to go. The decision proved a good one for the 19 team as Edwards quickly climbed up to eighth and was sixth with 54 laps to go. He continued to climb forward and was fourth when a caution came out with 41 laps to go. Another great stop allowed the 19 to line up fourth for a restart with 36 laps to go. Edwards would get pushed up high on the restart and dropped back to run eighth before eventually taking the checkered flag in 10th.
Denny Hamlin started the No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota from the 18th position and struggled with tight conditions early on as he dropped back outside the top 20 on the opening green flag run. Hamlin would work his way back toward the top 15 and was set to line up 16th after a round of pit stops following a lap 109 caution, but NASCAR ruled he had driven through too many pit boxes forcing him to drop to the rear of the field. He would work his way back to 21st with 200 laps remaining. A caution would keep Hamlin on the lead lap and he was able to drive up to 15th at lap 200. A caution on lap 228 would bring the FedEx Camry down pit road and a great stop allowed Hamlin to restart ninth with 100 laps to go. He would hold that spot until another caution with 86 laps to go brought the 11 down pit road yet again. Hamlin would get boxed in his pit stall during the round of stops causing him to lose several spots and he would restart 13th with 80 to go. A quick caution followed and the FedEx team made the call to gain track position by not pitting. Hamlin would restart fifth with 65 laps to go. Despite having older tires he would hold onto the eighth position with 50 laps to go. Another great stop by the 11 team allowed him to restart eighth with 35 laps to go and Hamlin would go on to finish 11th.
David Ragan qualified the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota in 30th and proved fast from the outset as he climbed into the top 20 over the opening 20 laps. He would continue to climb his way toward the top 10 and was running 14th at lap 125. Ragan would crack the top ten and was into ninth with 150 laps remaining and gained another spot to run eighth at lap 200. A caution on lap 228 would bring the leaders down pit road and Ragan would line up 10th for a restart with 100 laps to go. He would report that the car had become loose and he dropped back to 16th prior to the next caution with 86 laps remaining. He would restart from 16th with 80 to go. Crew chief Adam Stevens would make the call not to pit following a quick caution and Ragan lined up sixth for the restart with 65 to go. Despite having older tires than those that pitted and battling a loose handling race car he was able to hold the 10th position with 40 to go. He would restart 10th with 35 laps remaining and went on to finish 13th.
Matt Kenseth started the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota in 17th and was able to gain five spots on the opening green flag run. He would race 10th at lap 100 despite battling tight handling conditions throughout the evening. Kenseth was running 11th at lap 200. A caution on lap 228 would bring the Dollar General Camry back down pit road and he would restart 11th with 100 laps to go. He would continue to hold that spot for another restart with 80 to go. A quick caution followed and the Dollar General team made the call to remain on the track and lined up fourth for a restart with 65 to go. The older tires would give way to some who pitted for fresher tires but Kenseth was able to hold the ninth spot with 50 laps to go. Kenseth would continue to battle the handling on his Dollar General Camry which was loose entering the turns and tight in the center. He would get loose and make contact with the outside wall bringing out a caution with 41 laps to go. Quick work by his Dollar General crew allowed him to still restart 11th with 35 to go. The damage would impact the handling even further however and Kenseth was forced to drop back in the field. He would finish 23rd.
Jimmie Johnson captured the win, followed by Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Joey Logano and Brad Keselowki rounded out the top five. There were eight cautions for a total of 40 laps and 29 lead changes among nine different drivers.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will come back to the east coast next week for a race on the small track confines of Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday April 19. Fox will broadcast the race live with coverage starting at 12:30 PM (race begins at 1 PM ET).Facebook API came back with a faulty result. You may be accessing an album you do not have permissions to access.