Chase Update: Jimmie Johnson rolling along at Texas; Jeff Gordon 2nd at halfway

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Jimmie Johnson has won the last two fall races at Texas Motor Speedway and has done so in dominant fashion.

In the 2012 fall race, he led 168 laps to win from the pole. Then last fall, he led 255 laps before capturing a critical victory in his run to a sixth Sprint Cup title.

And right now, today’s middle race of the Chase for the Sprint Cup’s Eliminator Round at TMS is starting to look very similar.

Johnson took the lead from polesitter Matt Kenseth at Lap 54 and was still cruising in the lead at the halfway point of the AAA Texas 500.

Johnson was running third prior to a caution for debris and a crash involving Josh Wise at Lap 42, then moved up to second on the subsequent pit stops under yellow.

The race resumed at Lap 47, and seven laps later, Johnson moved underneath Kenseth going into Turn 1 to take the lead. He abandoned P1 for service at Lap 92 but was able to go back up front when the cycle ran through under green.

Jeff Gordon and Kevin Harvick were closing in on him leading into another green pit stop cycle at around Lap 135-140. Johnson and Harvick pitted together at Lap 139, with Gordon coming in one lap later.

But when the cycle shook out, Johnson had not only returned to the lead but had stretched it out over Harvick by almost an additional two seconds. Harvick then dropped second place to Gordon at Lap 153 while complaining of a “horrible loose” condition on his car.

With only one caution having slowed things down today, a fast pace has ensued at TMS with Johnson having lapped all the way up to 16th place.

At Lap 167 of 334, it’s Johnson leading Gordon, Harvick, Ryan Newman, Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Joey Logano, Kasey Kahne, Kurt Busch, and Brad Keselowski. Johnson is the lone non-Chase competitor inside the Top 5.

NEOM McLaren Formula E announces Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast for 2023 season

McLaren Formula E Hughes
McLaren Racing
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Doubling down on their commitment to electric auto sports, McLaren Racing announced Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast to compete in the 2023 Formula E Series (FE), which completes their driver lineup.

The NEOM McLaren FE team was formed by the acquisition of the Mercedes-EQ Formula E team that won the 2021 and 2022 championships with Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries behind the wheel.

“Today’s announcement feels like a long time coming,” said Ian James, managing director of NEOM McLaren Electric Racing in a release. “Since May this year, when we first announced McLaren Racing’s entry into Formula E, we have been working tirelessly to get in place the best possible team and structure for sustainable success.

“On the one hand, we have been working on the retention of the amazing talent that already was in place before going into the transitional phase. I’m proud to say I think we’ve done a great job on that front.

“On the other hand, we have been focusing on putting in place new processes and new talent – and the latter includes the drivers.”

The driver lineup clasps the two hands together.

Hughes brings 10 years racing experience in single seater cars, including a role with the acquired Mercedes-EQ team as a reserve and development driver for the past two seasons. He is the 2013 BRDC Formula 4 champion and has multiple wins in Formula 2, including two in 2020.

Announced in August, Rast joins the team after earning two podium finishes and six top-fives in 22 career Formula E starts for Audi Sport ABT before returning to the DTM Series last year. Rast’s best finish in Formula E came in the Puebla E Prix when he finished second to teammate Lucas di Grassi by less than a half second.

McLaren’s commitment to Formula E comes one year after they entered the Extreme E rally series in 2022 with Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour in the driver lineup. After a modest start to the season, the McLaren XE drivers crossed the finish line first in Round 4 in Chile, but were assessed a time penalty that dropped them to fifth. Last week in the season finale in Uruguay, they held onto a hard-earned second place finish.