Texas Winners and Losers

NASCAR

Pole-sitter Carl Edwards was sidelined with engine issues and secon-place starter Brad Keselowski was the top finishing non-Chase driver in sixth. (Photo: Getty Images)

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The second trip of the year to the Lone Star State turned out great for some and not so well for others.

Winners

Jimmie Johnson - Was there a bigger winner than Johnson on Sunday? Nope. He led 255 laps, completely dominated the race and broke the deadlock with Matt Kenseth to take a seven point lead in the Chase standings with two races left in the season. Yep, a pretty good day in Texas for old five-time.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. - Junior continues to rack up as many points as the championship contenders in recent weeks after his stumble to start the Chase with a blown engine at Chicagoland. But his runner-up finish to Hendrick teammate Johnson in Texas was Earnhardt's strongest performance of them all in a stretch where he's finishes second in three of the last six races.

Joey Logano - Like Earnhardt Logano's Chase started with a thud with an engine issue in Chicago. The Penske Racing driver has been up and down in recent weeks but showed more 1.5-mile track strength Sunday in Texas.

Brad Keselowski - Wasn't able to follow up his Saturday Nationwide Series race for a Texas weekend sweep, but Keselowski ran in the front pack most of the afternoon on Sunday. He even helped arch rival Kyle Busch get a little trash off his grille earlier in the race.

Mark Martin - Sure an 11th-place finish isn't something to set the world on fire. But with the way Martin's tenure as Tony Stewart's replacement has gone the veteran driver had to be smiling at the checkered flag on Sunday.

Losers

Matt Kenseth - You're not going to win this year's Sprint Cup championship but rather lose it. Kenseth may have done just that with a pit road speeding penalty that took him from second to 16th place. He rallied back but fourth behind Johnson was enough to drop seven points out of the Chase lead.

Jeff Gordon - Fans of the four-time champion were excited about the chance for title number five after last week's Martinsville win. But Gordon's extremely long odds were completely blown up after a tire did the same. Gordon ended up in the wall and out of the title picture.

Kyle Busch - Had his sights set on a Texas sweep after his April win but it wasn't to be even after charging back from an encounter with the wall of his own early on in the day. But a pit road speeding violation in the late going sealed Busch's fate and he settled for a 13th-place finish.

Carl Edwards - Won the pole and looked like he would be very much a factor for a fourth career Texas win with a strong early race performance. But a blown engine ended those aspirations and Edwards' trying season rolled on.

Bobby Labonte - His final days with the JTG Daugherty Racing team are not going well and Labonte exited Sunday's race early with an engine problem for a sour Texas homecoming. Labonte's may very well be winding down his Sprint Cup career in the next two weeks with AJ Allmendinger set to replace him in the No. 47 next season.

Related Topics:

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