Saturday, November 3, 2018

NASCAR Xfinity Series playoff contenders discuss racing at Texas Motor Speedway


credit: Lisa Janine Cloud/Skirts and Scuffs
by Lisa Janine Cloud

For NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers Daniel Hemric and Christopher Bell, coming to Texas Motor Speedway seems like a family reunion.

The two Xfinity Series Playoff contenders were joined by Cole Custer in advance of Saturday afternoon’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 300.

Hemric, whose No. 21 South Point Chevy was second-fastest in first practice and sixth in final practice, explained, “My wife’s from Oklahoma, grew up in Texas - Oklahoma, back and forth. For us it’s like a family reunion. With our schedules and whatnot we don’t get a lot of time to see our families, so coming here it’s like a family reunion. And when you have all that many people coming to the racetrack to support you, it makes you want to put on a really good show."

As a driver, he thinks that Texas Motor Speedway is a challenging track to run. “The fact that after the repave it’s a little bit different, what have to ask out of the racecars and the setups and team side of it. It’s a challenge, and it’s different. We have a couple of variables this week that we haven’t had in the past with different tire construction and build so it’s going to be interesting how it all plays out.”
credit: Lisa Janine Cloud/Skirts and Scuffs

Norman, Oklahoma native Christopher Bell was seventh on the speed charts in first practice and fifth in second practice with his Game Stop NBA2K19 Toyota. He agreed with Hemric. “Texas is my home race track so I get to come here and I’ll have a bunch of family here so that will be cool.”

“As far as the race track itself, the old Texas was my all-time favorite NASCAR track. it was really fun. Each time you come back here the track weathers a little bit more and hopefully over time it will get back to that really wide where you can spread out and run all over, and that’s the Texas we love.”

credit: Lisa Janine Cloud/Skirts and Scuffs
Custer does not have a Texas or Oklahoma connection but still enjoys racing at the Great American Speedway. His No. 00 Autodesk Ford ran fourth in first practice and first in final practice.

“I think the biggest thing, and way you have to look at the fun is that it is a challenge and you have to figure it out every single time,” Custer explained. “It is different with the tire and how they drag the Tire Dragon and how it works rubber in. It’s kind of a challenge getting your car right between the two ends. It is a challenge all weekend and I find fun in figuring that out, figuring out the problems.”

The O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 could make or break Bell and Custer’s bid for the Xfinity Series Championship. Bell sits one below the cutoff line for the final four and Custer is 21 points below. Hemric is 13 points to the good but that cushion could evaporate with a bad day.

Tune in at 3:30 p.m. CT to see how it all plays out.

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