After taking a week off for the Easter holiday, the Monster Energy Cup Series returns to the track in the big state of Texas for the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500.

On Friday the temperature is in the 80’s but a cold front is expected and the temps will drop significantly. Predeeding that front are pupup showers and the forcast of rain which could afftect qualifying efforts.

After an oil pressure issue, William Byron’s team changed the engine; as a result, Byron will have to start the race from the back of the field. He is using the qualifying session as a practice round to feel out the new engine.

After hitting the wall that resulted in a tire rub, NASCAR has allowed Chris Buescher to make a two tire change.

With lightening in the area NASCAR suspended further qualifying efforts. The field will be set according to round one times putting Kurt Busch on the pole.

The starting lineup for the O’Reilley Auto Parts 500:
Kurt Busch
Kevin Harvick
Clint Bowyer
Ryan Blaney
Deny Hamlin
Martin Treux Jr
Joey Logano
Kyle Busch
Jimmie Johnson
Kyle Larson – moved to the rear of the field for failing inspection three times.
Brad Keselowski
Aric Almirola
Trevor Bayne
Daniel Suarez
Darrell Wallace Jr
Alex Bowman
Austin Dillon
Chris Buescher
Paul Menard
Chase Elliott
Eric Jones
AJ Allmendinger
Ty Dillon
Jamie McMurray
Ryan Newman
Ricky Stenhouse Jr – moved to the back of the field in a backup car
Michael McDowel
Kasey Kahne
David Ragan
Matt DiBenedetto – moved to the rear of the field for a transmission change
Ross Chastain
Gray Gaulding
William Byron – moved to the back of the field for an engine change
Cole Whitt
Landon Cassill
Harrison Rhodes
Reed Sorenson

Stages one and two of the race are 85 laps each with stage three lasting 164 laps for a total of 334 laps around the mile and a half track.

After frigid temperatures for Saturday’s practice sessions, the temps are a bit higher as the drivers take to the track for some fast racing as they will approach speeds of 200 miles per hour around the track.

After failing inspection three times, Kyle Larson’s care chief has been ejected from the track.

Kurt Busch brings the field down for the green flag start of the race and edges out Kevin Harvick to take the lead but going into turn two, Harvick passes Busch for the lead. Getting loose, Kurt Busch slides up the track and drops to sixt place.

The first caution flag comes out on lap three when several cars get into a wreck. Alex Bowman went around catching up Daniel Suarez, Austin Dillon, Ross Chastain, and Paul Menard in the maylee.

Kevin Harvick brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap eight and jumps out in front of Ryan Blaney for the lead. Before the lap is complete, Harvick has a lead of over half a second.

Lap 10 the top five are Kevin Harvick, Ryan Blaney, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, and Clint Bowyer.

Lap 13 Kevin Harvick’s lead is now a second over Ryan Blaney; followed by Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, and Clint Bowyer. After starting at the back of the field, Kyle Larson has moved up to 20th place. William Byron and Ricky Stenhouse Jr have moved up 12 spots since the beginning of the race.

Lap 17 Kevin Harvick has a lead of nearly a second and a half over Ryan Blaney.

Lap 24 Ryan Blaney has closed the gap on Kevin Harvick to just over half a second.

Lap 28, Kevin Harvick’s lead is back up to a second on Ryan Blaney with Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, and Kurt Busch rounding out the top five. There are 27 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 32 Kevin Harvick has pulled out to a lead of two seconds on Ryan Blaney.

Kyle Busch is reporting a possible tire vibration.

Lap 35 Kevin Harvick’s lead is now two and a half seconds on Ryan Blaney.

Lap 41 Martin Truex Jr comes down pit road for a green flag pit stop and the first of the scheduled green flag pit stops.

Lap 44 Kevin Harvick has pulled out to a lead of over three seconds on Denny Hamlin; Kurt Busch, Joey Logano, and Clint Bowyer round out the top five.

Lap 45 leader Kevin Harvick makes his pit stop, giving the lead to Denny Hamlin.

Ryan Blaney is penalized for having an uncontrolled tire on pit road.

Lap 51 Denny Hamlin continues to lead the race after staying out and not yet making his pit stop and the only driver on the lead lap. Kevin Harvick is the first car to have pitted.

Lap 54 Jimmie Johnson makes an unscheduled pit stop for a bad vibration.

Alex Bowman has taken his car to the garage.

Lap 56 Denny Hamlin makes his green flag pit stop. Kevin Harvick retakes the lead.

Jimmie Johnson’s car had a loose tire.

Denny Hamlin was caught speeding on pit road.

Lap 64 Kevin Harvick has a lead of over seven seconds on Martin Truex Jr while the Busch brothers battle for third with Kurt in third and Kyle in fourth. Joey Logano is in fifth.

Lap 66 Kevin Harvick’s lead is now over eight second over Martin Truex Jr.

Lap 68 Kevin Harvick’s has run away with the lead, he has a lead of over 10 seconds on Martin Truex Jr. There are only 16 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 70 Kevin Harvick’s lead is now over eleven seconds.run away with the lead; he’s over 12 seconds ahead of Martin Truex Jr.

With nine laps remaining in stage one, Kevin Harvick has a lead of over 12 seconds on Martin Truex Jr.

Lap 80 Martin Truex Jr brings out the caution flag when he hits the wall hard after blowing a tire.

Stage one ends under caution with Kevin Harvick winning the stage.

The top 10 at the end of stage one:
Kevin Harvick
Kyle Busch
Kurt Busch
Joey Logano
Kyle Larson
Clint Bowyer
Jamie McMurray
Brad Keselowski
Chase Elliott
Erik Jones

Kyle Busch wins the race off of pit road, beating Kevin Harvick by two seconds.

Denny Hamlin was again penalized on pit road, this time for an uncontrolled tire.

Kyle Busch brings the field down for the green flag start of stage two from the outside lane on lap 91 and edges out Kevin Harvick for the lead.

After having to start the race from the back of the field, Kyle Larson have moved to the top five.

Lap 93, Kyle Busch has pulled out to a lead of over half a second on Kevin Harvick with Kurt Busch in third, Joey Logano in fourth, and Kyle Larson in fifth. There are 22 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 96 Kyle Busch has a half second lead over Kevin Harvick with Kurt Busch, Joey Logano, and Kyle Larson rounding out the top five.

Kevin Harvick is slowly closing the gap on leader Kyle Busch.

Clint Bowyer is reporting a vibration.

Lap 100 Kyle Busch’s lead is down to less than half a second on Kevin Harvick.

Lap 109 Kyle Busch holds on to his lead over Kevin Harvick by about half a second with big brother Kurt in third, Joey Logano in fourth, and Kyle Larson in fifth.

After taking the wave around, Chris Buescher and Ty Dillon bring their cars down pit road for service.

Lap 115 Kyle Busch leads Kevin Harvick by less than half a second.

Lap 117 Kevin Harvick finally catches Kyle Busch and retakes the lead of the race.

Lap 123 Kevin Harvick has pulled out to a lead of over a second and a half on Kyle Busch with Kurt Busch, Kyle Larson, and Joey Logano rounding out the top five. There are 15 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 126 Kevin Harvick’s lead is back up to over a second on Kyle Busch.

The caution flag comes out n lap 127 when Kye Larson hits the wall. Larson is quickly out of his smoking and flaming car. Larson hit the wall hard after blowing a tire.

Kurt Busch wins the race off of pit road. Kevin Harvick again has pit road issues and loses eight spots on the track.

The Busch brothers are on the front row and bring the field down for the green flag restart on lap 135 with big brother Kurt edging out Kyle for the lead.

Lap 137 Kevin Harvick makes an unscheduled trip down pit road with a loose tire.

Kurt Busch has a lead of over half a second on Kyle Busch with Joey Logano in third, Ryan Blaney if fourth, and Erik Jones in fifth.

Ryan Blaney is reporting a loose wheel and will have to come down pit road.

Lap 140 Kurt Busch has a half second lead on brother Kyle; followed by Joey Logano, Erik Jones, and Clint Bowyer. There are only 13 cars on the lead lap.

AJ Allmendinger brings his car down pit road with a loose tire.

Kyle Busch continues to report a vibration, but the crew says that it is not the tires.

Lap 150 Kurt Busch holds on to a narrow lead on brother Kyle.

Lap 152 Kurt Busch has a half second lead on Kyle Busch with Joey Logano in third, Erik Jones in fourth, and Clint Bowyer in fifth; Chase Elliott, Brad Keselowski, Ryan Newman, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr, and Denny Hamlin round out the top 10. There are 13 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 156 the Busch brother continue to lead the field Kurt in front with a half second lead. Third place driver Joey Logano is four seconds back.

Ten to go in stage two, Kurt Busch holds on to his lead over the field.

Joey Logano is reporting a vibration.

Only five laps remaining in stage two, Kurt Busch has a lead of less than half a second on Kyle Busch; Joey Logano in third is over five seconds behind.

Lap 166 the Busch brothers battle for the lead with Kyle finally taking over the top spot.

After passing brother Kurt for the lead, Kyle Busch is pulling away from the field. With only two laps remaining in stage two, Kyle has a lead of nearly two seconds on Kurt.

Kyle Busch wins stage two.

The top 10 at the end of stage two:
Kyle Busch
Kurt Busch
Joey Logano
Erik Jones
Clint Bowyer
Chase Elliott
Brad Keselowski
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Denny Hamlin
Aric Almirola

Erik Jones wins the race off of pit road.

Kevin Harvick is reporting that his car feels like it has another loose wheel.

Erik Jones brings the field down for the green flag start of stage three on lap 177 and edges out Kyle Busch to take the lead of the race.

The caution flag comes out on lap 178 for a big wreck involving Aric Almirola, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, David Ragan, Austin Dillon, and Trevor Bayne.

With several cars involved in the wreck, NASCAR has brought out the red flag in order to get the track cleaned up.

After getting loose on the restart, Kyle Busch has dropped to eighth place.

After a 10 minute red flag delay, NASCAR displays the caution flag and the cars return to making laps around the track.

Erik Jones brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 184, getting out in front of the field for the lead.

Lap 185 Erik Jones is in the lead with Kurt Busch in second, Chase Elliott in third, Joey Logano in fourth, and Clint Bowyer if fifth. There are eleven cars on the lead lap.

Lap 190 Erik Jones has a narrow lead on Kurt Busch; followed by Chase Elliott, Clint Bowyer, and Joey Logano.

Lap 192 Erik Jones has pulled out to a lead of half a second on Kurt Busch with Chase Elliott nearly two second behind in third.

Lap 197 Erik Jones holds on to the lead over Kurt Busch with Chase Elliott , Clint Bowyer, and Joey Logano rounding out the top five.

Kurt Busch has picked up some debris from the track on to his grille, but the team is not concerned about overheating.

With 129 laps remaining in the race, Erik Jones hold on to his lead and has pulled out to a lead of nearly a second on Kurt Busch; Chase Elliott, Clint Bowyer, Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, Jamie McMurray, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Ryan Newman, Ryan Blaney, and William Byron round out the cars on the lead lap.

With 122 laps to go, Kurt Busch is the only driver on the lead lap less than a second behind leader Erik Jones. The next driver – Clint Bowyer – is over four seconds back.

Chase Elliott is reporting a vibration and brings his car down pit road.

There are 116 laps to go and Erik Jones continues to hold on to his lead of nearly a second on Kurt Busch.

With 110 laps to go, Kurt Busch has closed to within less than half a second on leader Erik Jones; Clint Bowyer, Kyle usch, and Joey Logano round out the top five.

Austin Dillon brings his car down pit road for an unscheduled pit stop. When the team removes the right rear tire, they find a fire.

Driver begin to make green flag pit stops with 104 laps remaining in the race.

Erik Jones comes down pit road with 102 laps to go, Kurt Busch takes over the lead of the race.

Kurt Busch comes down pit road, handing the lead over to rookie William Byron.

Austin Dillon takes his car to the garage for mechanical repairs.

William Byron brings his car down pit road and hands the lead over to Erik Jones.

Lap 234, Paul Menard brings out the caution flag after hitting the wall with a flat tire.

Kevin Harvick was penalized for having too many crew members over the pit wall when a crew members fell over the wall reaching for a tire.

Erik Jones brings the field down for the green flag restart with 94 laps remaining in the race but Kyle Busch takes over the lead of the race. There are now 13 cars on the lead lap.

After the penalty, Kevin Harvick had to start at the back of the lead lap cars and is pushing his way through the field over five seconds behind.

Kyle Busch has a half second lead on Erik Jones with Kurth Busch in third, Joey Logano in fourth, and Clint Bowyer in fifth.

Lap 248 Kyle Busch has a lead of over a second on Erik Jones; with brother Kurt in third a secnd and a half behind.

The caution flag comes out with 85 laps to go when Trevor Bayne and Kasey Kahne tangle it up battling for the “lucky dog” spot. Both drivers made a run through the grass.

Some drivers bring their cars down pit road for service.

From the inside lane, Kyle Busch brings the field down for the green flag restart with 79 laps remaining in the race. Kyle Busch jumps out in front of the field with Jamie McMurray moving up to second place; Erik Jones, Chase Elliott, and Joey Logano round out the top five.

Ricky Stenhouse brushes the wall but the track stays green.

Seventy-five to go, Kyle Busch leads the racy by nearly two seconds with Jamie McMurray in second; Erik Jones, Joey Logano, and Chase Elliott round out the top five. Kevin Harvick has moved up to eighth place.

With 68 laps remaining in the race, Kyle Busch has a lead by two and a half seconds on Jamie McMurray. Kevin Harvick is now in sixth place.

Sixty-five to go and Kevin Harvick passes Chase Elliott for fifth.

Sixty-two to go and Kevin Harvick is in fourth; he is running laps faster than leader Kyle Busch.

Sixty to go, Kyle Busch has a three second lead on Jamie McMurray with Erik Jones in third, Kevin Harvick in fourth, and Joey Logano in fifth.

David Ragan has been black flagged for an unknown issue.

With 57 laps to go Kevin Harvick is now in second place – four seconds behind leader Kyle Busch.

Kevin Harvick is running laps about a half a second per lap faster than Kyle Busch.

Fifty to go, Kyle Busch is in the lead with Kevin Harvick in second; Jamie McMurray, Erik Jones, and Joey Logano round out the top five.

Kyle Busch’s lead is down to under two and a half seconds over Kevin Harvick.

Forty-seven laps to go, Kevin Harvick has closed the gap to leader Kyle Busch to less than two seconds.

Forty-five laps to go, Erik Jones brings his car down pit road for fresh tires as drivers begin their final green flag pit stop cycle.

Leaders Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick bring their cars down pit road, Chase Elliott is the new leader.

NASCAR is reviewing Kevin Harvick’s pit stop.

Forty to go, the fop five are Chase Elliott, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Ryan Newman, Bubba Wallace, and Kyle Busch.

Chase Elliott makes his pit stop.

NASCAR has cleared Kevin Harvick’s team of another uncontrolled tire issue.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr is the new leader with 37 laps to go.

Stenhouse, Ryan Newman, and Bubba Wallace are the ony drivers yet top make a pit stop.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Ryan Newman, Bubba Wallace, Kyle Busch, and Kevin Harvick are the only drivers on the lead lap.

Ryan Newman blows a tire and hits the wall with 31 laps remaining in the race to bring out the caution flag. Newman had just reported to his crew that he needed fresh tires right now.

Chase Elliott was a lap down but pitted with the lead lap cars and has to restart the race at the end of the longest line.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr is reporting brake issues.

Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick will battle it out for the lead on the green flag restart with only 23 laps remaining in the race. Kyle Busch jumps out for the lead with Kevin Harvick in second; Bubba Wallace, Jamie McMurray, and Erik Jones round out the top five.

Twenty to go Kyle Busch holds on to a narrow lead on Kevin Harvick; Jamie McMurray is in third, Erik Jones in fourth, and Ryan Blaney is in fifth.

There are only eleven cars on the lead lap.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr brings his car down pit road with only 17 laps to go.

Kyle Busch has pulled out to a half second lead on Kevin Harvick.

Fifteen to go, Kyle Busch has a half second lead on Kevin Harvick; with Jamie McMurray, Erik Jones, and Ryan Blaney rounding out the top five.

Thirteen laps to go and there are only 10 cars on the lead lap.

Ten to go, Kyle Busch holds on to his half second lead over Kevin Harvick; but Harvick is slowly closing in on the leader.

With nine laps to go, AJ Allmendinger brings his car down pit road with an engine issue and is out of the race.

Eight to go, Kyle Busch holds on to his lead.

Six to go, Kyle Busch’s lead is down to less than half a second over Kevin Harvick.

Five to go, Kyle Busch is still out in front but Kevin Harvick is closing the gap ever so slowly.

Three to go, Kyle Busch holds on to his lead over Kevin Harvick.

White flag: Kyle Busch has a lead of just under half a second over Kevin Harvick.

Kyle Busch gets the win for his first of the season…and the first 2018 win for Joe Gibbs Racing.

The unofficial results of the O’Reilley Auto Parts 500:
Kyle Busch
Kevin Harvick
Jamie McMurray
Erik Jones
Ryan Blaney
Joey Logano
Kurt Busch
Darrell Wallace Jr
Clint Bowyer
William Byron
Chase Elliott
Trevor Bayne
Ty Dillon
Michael McDowell
Chris Buescher
Matt DiBenedetto
Kasey Kahne
Ross Chastain
Cole Whitt
Gray Gaulding
Landon Cassill
Harrison Rhodes
David Ragan
AJ Allmendinger
Rick Stenhouse Jr
Austin Dillon
Ryan Newman
Aex Bowman
Daniel Suarez
Paul Menard
Reed Sorenson
Aric Almirola
Brad Keselowski
Denny Hamlin
Jimmie Johnson
Kyle Larson
Martin Truex Jr

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