Potential Chase spoilers are plentiful for today’s Eliminator Round race at Texas


Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s victory in last weekend’s Eliminator Round opener at Martinsville Speedway ensured that at least two of the four spots for the Sprint Cup Championship Race will be decided on points.

Could that number go up to three today? The spotlight may be on the Eliminator 8 in today’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, but the field is littered with potential spoilers that can wipe out another automatic bid to South Florida.

That would be a bad scenario for three Chasers in particular – Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick, all of whom are currently below the cutoff for advancement by double-digit margins (although Harvick would still be somewhat buoyed by the fact that he’s basically owned Phoenix, which hosts the Eliminator Round finale next weekend).

So which non-Chase competitors should you keep an eye on today in Fort Worth? Here’s five…

1) Jimmie Johnson – Starts 3rd

Eliminated from the Chase in the Contender Round, Johnson’s all about making sure everybody knows that he’ll be a force once again in 2015. He topped final practice yesterday and in that session, he also had the best 10-consecutive lap average as well. It would appear he has the race pace to contend today for a fourth Texas win, which leads to a big question: Could Chase Grid leader Jeff Gordon (starts 2nd) have to battle a Hendrick Motorsports teammate again for a win that would propel him to the Championship?

2) Tony Stewart – Starts 6th

The relief on Stewart’s face was palpable after he squeezed out a Top-5 finish last weekend at Martinsville. And this weekend at Texas, he’s shown that he’s got a fast hot rod by popping the first 200-mph qualifying lap on a 1.5-mile oval in NASCAR history. He’s been toward the top of all three practice sessions, so look for “Smoke” to continue his momentum.

3) Kyle Busch – Starts 9th

Bummed as he may be over getting knocked out of the Chase, a triple-header sweep at Texas would raise Rowdy’s spirits – even if it would make things more tense for Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin, his two Joe Gibbs Racing teammates that are still in the Chase. However, it bears noting that while Busch has won 11 NASCAR national series races at TMS, only one of them have come in Sprint Cup competition.

4) Dale Earnhardt Jr. – Starts 12th

We didn’t get to see much of Junior this past spring at Texas. On Lap 13 of the race (which was postponed to Monday because of heavy rains), Earnhardt slipped a tire into the tri-oval grass and then slammed into the outside wall in a fiery crash. But considering Hendrick’s overall performance on 1.5-milers like Texas, Earnhardt can have a say in today’s outcome if he can avoid trouble.

5) Martin Truex Jr. – Starts 8th

We needed a non-Chaser outside of that Hendrick/Gibbs/Hendrick-powered group, so let’s go with Truex, who finished fourth a few weeks back on the 1.5-miler at Kansas. The Furniture Row has been steady this weekend at Texas in the practice runs – fourth in both first and second practices, and seventh in “Happy Hour.”

IndyCar disappointed by delay of video game but aiming to launch at start of 2024

IndyCar video game 2024

An IndyCar executive said there is “absolutely” disappointment that its long-awaited video game recently was delayed beyond its target date, but the series remains optimistic about the new title.

“Well, I don’t know how quick it will be, but the whole situation is important to us,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said during a news conference Monday morning to announce IndyCar’s NTT title sponsorship. “Motorsport Games has spent a lot of money, a lot of effort to create an IndyCar title. What we’ve seen of that effort, which is not completely obvious, is very reassuring.

“I think it’s going to be outstanding. That’s our shared objective, that when it is released, it’s just widely accepted. A great credit both to IndyCar racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, something that our fans love.”

In June 2021, IndyCar announced a new partnership with Motorsport Games to create and distribute an IndyCar video game for the PC and Xbox and PlayStation consoles in 2023.

But during an earnings call last week, Motorsport Games said the IndyCar game had been delayed to 2024 to ensure high quality.

Somewhat compounding the delay is that IndyCar’s license for iRacing expired after the end of the 2022 season because of its exclusive agreement with Motorsport Games.

That’s resulted in significant changes for IndyCar on iRacing, which had provided a high-profile way for the series to stay visible during its 2020 shutdown from the pandemic. (Players still can race an unbranded car but don’t race on current IndyCar tracks, nor can they stream).

That’s helped ratchet up the attention on having a video game outlet for IndyCar.

“I wish we had an IndyCar title 10 years ago,” said Miles, who has been working with the organization since 2013. “We’ve been close, but we’ve had these I think speed bumps.”

IndyCar is hopeful the Motorsports Game edition will be ready at the start of 2024. Miles hinted that beta versions could be unveiled to reporters ahead of the time “to begin to show the progress in a narrow way to make sure we’ve got it right, to test the progress so that we’re ready when they’re ready.”

It’s been nearly 18 years since the release of the most recent IndyCar video game for console or PC.

“(We) better get it right,” Miles said. “It’s something we’re very close to and continue to think about what it is to make sure we get it over the line in due course.”