Breaking down the O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge

Posted Saturday, Nov. 02, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Why Brad Keselowski won

The defending Sprint Cup champion had a finely tuned machine racing over Texas Motor Speedway’s 1.5-mile oval. In this type of car, Keselowski said, the only concern is “Don’t screw it up.… you have the best car.”

Turning point

Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin battled for the lead position down the stretch, until Lap 187, when Keselowski overtook his Sprint Cup peer in the last 13 laps.

Key stat

12 victories for Penske Racing’s No. 22 in 2013, one short of tying the record held by Joe Gibbs’ No. 18 in 2010. Penske’s No. 22 leads the owner’s standings, 26 points ahead of Gibbs’ No. 54, driven on Saturday by Kyle Busch.

Quotable

“I was thinking that we could gain three today.… We will see what happens. We didn’t lose any and that is the key thing. If we can take one or two off the following weekend that puts the pressure on him.”

— Sam Hornish Jr., assessing his six-point deficit in the Nationwide Series standings.

Notable

• Kyle Busch jumped in the Gibbs’ No. 54 and was a player until he spun out on Lap 111, resulting in a blown back right tire and a damaged back.

• Rookie Austin Bowman was the pole sitter, running the best lap in Saturday morning’s qualifying in 186.2 mph. He was the only driver to break 186.

• Kyle Larson improved his lead in the Rookie of the Year standings, over Austin Bowman, with a ninth-place finish on Saturday, the best among first-year drivers competing.

• Denny Hamlin posted his eighth top-10 finish in 11 starts at TMS.

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