2010 AAA Texas 500
|Race 34 of 36 in the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season|
|Date||November 7, 2010|
|Location||Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas|
|Course||Permanent racing facility
1.5 mi (2.4 km)
|Distance||334 laps, 501 mi (806.3 km)|
|Weather||Sunny with a high around 71; wind out of the SE at 11 mph.|
|Average speed||140.456 miles per hour (226.042 km/h)|
|Driver||Elliott Sadler||Richard Petty Motorsports|
|Most laps led|
|Driver||Greg Biffle||Roush Fenway Racing|
||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|Television in the United States|
|Announcers||Marty Reid, Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree|
The 2010 AAA Texas 500 was a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stock car race that was held on November 7, 2010, at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. Contested over 334 laps, it was the thirty-fourth, and the eighth race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup during the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. The race was won by Denny Hamlin, for the Joe Gibbs Racing team. Matt Kenseth finished second, and Mark Martin clinched third.
There were nine cautions and thirty-five lead changes among fourteen different drivers throughout the course of the race. It was Hamlin's eighth win in the 2010 season, and his second at Texas Motor Speedway. The result moved him to first in the Drivers' Championship, 33 points ahead Jimmie Johnson in second. Chevrolet maintained its lead in the Manufacturers' Championship, 40 ahead of Toyota and 91 ahead of Ford, with two races remaining in the season. A total of 156,000 people attended the race.
The track, Texas Motor Speedway, is one of ten intermediate to hold NASCAR races, the others being Atlanta Motor Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway, Darlington Raceway, Homestead Miami Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and Charlotte Motor Speedway. The standard track at Texas Motor Speedway is a four-turn quad-oval track that is 1.5 miles (2.4 km) long. The track's turns are banked at twenty-four degrees, while the front stretch, the location of the finish line, is five degrees. The back stretch, opposite of the front, also has a five degree banking. The racetrack has seats for 191,122 spectators.
Before the race, Jimmie Johnson led the Drivers' Championship with 6,149 points, and Denny Hamlin stood in second with 6,135 points. Kevin Harvick followed in third with 6,111 points, 169 ahead of Jeff Gordon and 192 ahead of Kyle Busch in fourth and fifth. Carl Edwards with 5,902 was seventy points ahead of Tony Stewart, as Matt Kenseth with 5,825 points, was twenty-six ahead of Kurt Busch, and twenty-eight in front of Jeff Burton. Greg Biffle and Clint Bowyer was eleventh and twelfth with 5,788 and 5,788 points. In the Manufacturers' Championship, Chevrolet was leading with 245 points, forty-five points ahead of their rival Toyota. Ford, with 152 points, was twenty-three points ahead of Dodge in the battle for third. Kurt Busch is the race's defending champion.
Practice and qualifying
Three practice sessions will be held before the Sunday race — one on Friday, and two on Saturday. The first session lasted 90 minutes, while the second session lasted 45 minutes. The third and final practice session lasted 60 minutes. During the first practice session, Biffle, for the Roush Fenway Racing team, was quickest ahead of Edwards in second and Juan Pablo Montoya in the third position. Kensehth was scored fourth, and Elliott Sadler managed fifth. Regan Smith, Paul Menard, Martin Truex, Jr., Johnson, and A. J. Allmendinger rounded out the top ten quickest drivers in the session.
Afterward, during qualifying, forty-nine cars were entered, but only forty-three was able because of NASCAR's qualifying procedure. Sadler clinched his eighth pole position during his career, with a time of 27.363, his first since May, 2006 at Talladega Superspeedway. He was joined on the front row of the grid by Biffle. Edwards qualified third, Montoya took fourth, and David Ragan started fifth. Johnson, one of the drivers in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, qualified seventeenth, while Hamlin was scored thirtieth. The six drivers that failed to qualify for the race were J. J. Yeley, Scott Riggs, Michael McDowell, Jeff Green, Josh Wise, and Brian Keselowski. Once the qualifying session completed, Sadler commented, "I’m feeling Superman today! I could sit here and say it is me, or this or that, but [crew chief] Todd Parrott is the man. He can do so much as a crew chief. He is good for me from the mental side and we have been qualifying so much better here the last six weeks or so... that is a really fast lap for me. I got all I can get out of it."
On the next morning, Kyle Busch was quickest in the second practice session, ahead of Edwards and Truex, Jr. in second and third. Ryan Newman was fourth quickest, and Burton took fifth. Stewart, Montoya, Kurt Busch, Bowyer, and Biffle followed in the top-ten. Other drivers in the chase, such as Hamlin, was eighteenth, and Harvick, who was thirty-first. During the third, and final practice session, Kyle Busch, with a fastest time of 28.696, was quickest. Ragan and Truex, Jr. followed in second and third with times of 28.765 and 28.884 seconds. Kurt Busch managed to be fourth fastest, ahead of Smith and Sam Hornish, Jr.. Sadler was scored seventh, Menard took eighth, Gordon was ninth, and Johnson took tenth.
The race, the thirty-fourth out of a total of thirty-six in the season, began at 3:00 p.m. EST and was televised live in the United States on ESPN. Prior to the race, weather conditions were dry with the air temperature around 69 °F (21 °C). Dr. Roger Marsh, of Texas Alliance Raceway Ministries, began pre-race ceremonies, by giving the invocation. Next, Kelly Hansen of Foreigner performed the national anthem, and Lee Ann Womack gave the command for drivers to start their engines. During the pace laps, Trevor Bayne had to move to the rear of the grid because of changing transmissions.
At the start, Elliott Sadler was first, ahead of Greg Biffle. On the following lap, Biffle took the first position away from Sadler, as Juan Pablo Montoya maintained fourth. Denny Hamlin, who started the race twenty-eighth, had fallen to thirtieth by the fifth lap. David Ragan took over the third position, while his team mate Carl Edwards claimed second on the sixth and eighth laps. On the twelfth lap, the first caution was given because Joe Nemechek's car was putting smoke on the track. All the front runners pitted during the caution. At the lap 17 restart, Biffle remained the leader, ahead of Sadler and Edwards in second and third. Two laps later, Jimmie Johnson had moved to eleventh, before Martin Truex, Jr. passed him.
Standings after the race
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