NASCAR: Penske, Roush Fenway squads test at Texas Motor Speedway

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Two teams on the opposite ends of the Chase spectrum tested this afternoon on the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway.

Team Penske’s duo of Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano joined Roush Fenway Racing’s trio of Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. for the session, which was open to the public.

Keselowski and Logano have locked themselves into the Contender Round of the Chase already with wins at Chicagoland (Keselowski) and New Hampshire (Logano).

But the fate of RFR’s two Chasers, Edwards and Biffle, remains in doubt. Going into this Sunday’s Challenger Round finale at Dover, Edwards sits eighth at just eight points over the cutoff while Biffle is 14th at six points behind.

Both of them need to be in the Top 12 after Dover to join the Penske pair in the Contender Round.

Today, Edwards acknowledged that Roush Fenway’s decision to test on the 1.5-mile Fort Worth oval was “kind of a risk” since he’s not yet locked in.

“…This race is obviously not for a while and we’ve got other things to focus on,” he said to TMS. “But we do feel like things that we find here at Texas could apply at Dover, Kansas, Charlotte, all the mile-and-a-half [tracks in the Chase].”

Biffle chimed in: “It is critical and that is why we are here testing. Trying to figure out our program for these mile-and-a-halves and a lot of times when you find speed at these places that transfers to shorter tracks as well. We are working hard to try and find some speed.”

Meanwhile, Logano got back to work just one day after taking home the lobster in New Hampshire.

“That’s how we got to do it,” said Logano, who defeated Jeff Gordon in green-white-checkered to win at Texas in April. “We got to keep fighting hard until the end of this Chase.

“This was planned before we went to Loudon. [It is] great we were able to get the win, but we flew down here last night – got here around midnight and got ready for the test today.”

Texas will host the second race in the Eliminator Round in November, but while Logano said that his team’s presence at TMS fit their style of always looking ahead, he’s not about to slack off at Dover’s “Monster Mile.”

“We still want to go up there and have a shot at winning it,” he said. “The fact that we’re in the next round doesn’t make us just say ‘We’re taking an off weekend this week and focusing on the next one.’

“We need to keep that momentum going. We want to go out there and win races. We want to keep this wave rolling as long as we can. So that means we just keep doing what we’ve been doing all year, focus on one track at a time, get prepared for it and execute the plan when we get there.”

Travis Pastrana leads flag-to-flag in Nitro Rallycross as the series returns to America

Pastrana Nitro Rallycross
Barry Chin / Getty Images
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Travis Pastrana waited until the final trip around ERX Motor Park to take his Joker Lap – a longer way around the course that all drivers must do at least once in a race – and came out cleanly to win his first Nitro Rallycross race of 2022. With this win, Pastrana is the third driver to visit Victory Lane in the first three rounds of the 2022-23 season.

“This is the closest to a motocross track,” Pastrana told Katie Osborne on Peacock. “Thank you so much for a beautiful facility. It’s been a rough start to the season and I’m so thankful to be back out here. We had a good run in the side-by-side and now for this. This is much needed.”

Another thing needed was the sense of improvement. And Pastrana earned that affirmation each time he completed a lap around the course.

“I get my lap times read out and they said ‘fastest time of the week,’ ‘fastest time of the week’ (each time around) ” Pastrana said. “This is really special. We’re a long way behind in the championship, but welcome to America.”

In a pre-race press conference, Pastrana said that as Nitro Rallycross heads back to America, it was time for an American to win and he made good on his promise. Pastrana took the early lead over Robin Larsson and let the back of his Subaru hang out, taking risks he might not otherwise take if not for his need to win.

How to Watch Nitro Rallycross

Larsson’s second-place finish completed a perfect sweep of the podium in three rounds. In fact, he has not yet finished worse than second after winning the opening round at Lydden Hill in the United Kingdom and finishing second at Strangnas in Sweeden.

Fraser McConnel rounded out the podium for his best result of the season. He finished fourth in each of the first two rounds.

Last year, Pastrana finished second in this race to Scott Speed before narrowly edging his teammate for the championship.

Andreas Bakkerud crashed in prelims, but rebounded to finish just off the block in fourth. Bakkerud won the second round ahead of his teammate Larsson.

Oliver Bennett completed the top five.

Minneapolis is the first of three rounds scheduled in the United States. Next on the schedule is Glen Helen, Calif. on Octo 30 and then Phoenix at Wild Horse Pass on November 12th. Nitro Rallycross will then head to Saudi Arabia in December to continue their 2022-23 season.