FORT WORTH, TX – Heading into Saturday night’s DXC Technology 600 at the Texas Motor Speedway it appeared that Team Penske would dominate the show. Most drivers said that passing would be few and far between and their trio of drivers had no one starting in front of them.
In qualifying, the earned the top three starting spots with Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud and Will Power starting 1-2-3 respectively. They were not just quick in qualifying though but rather in superspeedway trim in general.
Chevrolet as a whole led 150 of 200 laps at Indy a few weeks ago and Penske won this very race last year with Power. In fact, Power has won three straight superspeedway races as a whole and four of the last five.
It was their race to lose. Unfortunately for them, tire wear cost them dearly. Their tires started blistering early, as where they had speed, they gave up in severe tire wear on all three of their cars.
Power, dropped quickly in the race but stayed in the top five. Pagenaud even took over the lead after the first pit sequence on Lap 72. But, after that first pit sequence, that’s where all hell broke loose for them.
Newgarden, despite leading the first 59 laps had to pit on Lap 96 with severe tire wear. His tires were corded. He’d fall two laps down in the process but would eventually earn them back. In the end though, while falling back down a lap, he was hit with a penalty for jumping a late race restart. He’d finish four laps down in 13th and fall to 68 points out of the lead.
Meanwhile, a little more than 20 laps later, Pagenaud went from the lead to fourth to pit road with blistering tires on his No. 22 Chevrolet too. On the same lap, Power hit pit road too in his No. 12 Chevrolet. His tires were blistered for a second straight stint.
Pagenaud, would remain up front though and bring his No. 22 Chevrolet home second for his fourth top four finish in his last five Texas races.
Power, well he would crash on Lap 204 when he came up on Zachary Claman DeMelo while the rookie was trying to pass him in Turn 4. Power, would hit the SAFER barrier hard on three separate occasions but luckily would walk away. He’d finish 18th and fall to third in the standings.
Overall, it was a rough night for the group.