LiveBlog: Texas Motor Speedway

Jeff Gordon ends a 47-race winless streak, and wins his first race at Texas Motor Speedway. Gordon holds off a furiously-charging Jimmie Johnson to solidify his hold on the overall lead and flip the proverbial bird to anyone who thought that perhaps his days as one of the sport’s top drivers were behind him.

215 Laps Run and Two Cautions?
Record for fewest cautions at Texas? Five. Do such long green-flag runs at Texas lead to balls-out racing on the track or does it string cars out and force people to follow the leader.

Earnhardt Keepin’ on Keepin On
Junior is hardly setting the world on fire running 14th, but he continues to do what he needs to do to reinsert himself into Top-12 consideration.

You’ve Gotta Be Freaking Kidding Me
On the race’s third caution, Junior comes to the pits 14th. He and his crew screw up again, he leaves short a lugnut on the stop and has to return to the pits. Fortunately for him, he only drops to 15th, last car on lead lap. 

I smell changes to the personnel on the No. 88 pit crew coming! This crap has to change…

Steve Letarte Rolls the Dice
Caution No. 4, crew chief Steve Letarte tells driver Jeff Gordon to stay out. A small gamble, given that Gordon’s right-side tires are already old.

We’re going for the win, he tells Gordon. Texas, of course is one of the two tracks Gordon has never won at…

Say this for Junior

Just as he did at Daytona when he screwed up on pit road, he has driven his ass off to get back into contention. Barely 10 laps after dropping to 16th, after the last caution, he’s back to 11th.

Damn, No Record
Robby Gordon blows up, bringing out the race’s fifth caution. I have a soft spot for Gordon — anyone ballsy enough to think he can succeed as a driver/owner while a whole bunch of other guys more successful than he have failed miserably is okay in my book. Unfortunately, he kinda sucks…

You’ve Gotta Be Freaking Kidding Me, Part Deux
Junior takes two tires, doesn’t screw anything up on pit road and leaves in first…will wonders never cease.

Earnhardt in First
Among NASCAR’s many $64,000 questions is the following: Is Junior a good driver? Well, opinions vary widely and while this race won’t decide the issue, you see who’s behind him on the restart? Gordon in second, Edwards, Stewart and Martin running fourth through sixth. Should give us a pretty good opportunity to see what Earnhardt’s got.

Busch and Earnhardt, Bosom Buddies?
Uh, that would be a no. As if Junior might not have been annoyed at Wild Thing after the latter’s comments from a few week’s back. Crowding him on the restart and bumping him out of the groove can’t make Junior happy.

Green Flag Stops?
Here we go, no pressure…who gets in and out smoothly? This much is certain: Earnhardt, who came in with about 44 to go after tagging the outside wall, didn’t screw up.

30 to go and 16 Cars on the Lead Lap
Let me think: 43 minus what equals 16 … hmm. Thirteen minus six … carry the  one, divide by four … 27! 27 cars are not on the lead lap!

And to think people say the racing isn’t all that great these days…

Gordon Takes the Lead off Pit Road
And then runs away from the field in the first few laps after the restart. Still, it’s hard to shake the feeling that either Stewart or Johnson won’t steal the win…meanwhile, back in the land of the snake-bit, Junior is a lap down and running 22nd. I’m beginning to think it’s time to start doubting.

Gordon Wins!
Never won at Texas, hadn’t won in 47 races … so much for those storylines. Jeff Gordon continues rebuilding his reputation as one of NASCAR’s dominant drivers, holding off a furiously-charging Jimmie Johnson in the race’s final laps to win his first race since 2007.