Back Seat Driver

Back Seat Driver: Texas

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*Editor’s Note* Every Monday, after every race weekend, contributing writer Jacob Mullins will recap the top story lines from the track in our weekly feature, Back Seat Driver.

TOYOTA EARNS FIRST XFINITY SERIES WIN

Erik Jones. What can be said about this young talented driver? A lot if you ask me. This young man is full of talent and in only 29 races in the NASCAR Camping world Truck and XFINITY Series’, he has five wins, 12 top-5, 22 top-10 and four poles. It was jones’s first win only nine XFINITY races for the developmental driver at Joe Gibbs Racing.

Jones dominated the race as the 18-year-old to earn his first XFINITY Series win of his career. After the race, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Brad Keselowski spoke about the talent Jones has. In my opinion, when those two drivers are speaking your praise, you must be doing something right. Jones was excited for not only winning the race but for “beating Cup guys”, he exclaimed over the radio after winning Friday night.

After a drought in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series, Toyota went to victory lane with Denny Hamlin two weeks ago at Martinsville and now Toyota has gone to victory lane in the XFINITY Series. With a new title sponsor for the series, every manufacturer and driver wants to win in the new series. The last Toyota win in the XFINITY series came in the season finale and last race of the Nationwide Series at Homestead-Miami Speedway as Matt Kenseth won. Both wins came in Joe Gibbs’ No. 20 Toyota.

JOHNSON DOES IT AGAIN

Jimmie Johnson did it again – winning at Texas Motor Speedway. Johnson has five wins at Texas and third in his last six starts, at the 1.5 mile track in Fort Worth. However, this is his first win in the Spring Texas event. The other Texas event is a race in the Contender round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Johnson led 128 of 334 laps to capitalize on a full point payout.

Johnson has won a pair of the first seven races of the season and looks to be in championship form early this year. Johnson has won this many races, two, in the first seven races of the season since 2010, the year he won his fifth consecutive Sprint Cup Championship.

With his win at Texas, Johnson now has 72 career wins and is 8th on the all-time list. He is only four behind Dale Earnhardt’s 76 and 11 behind Cale Yarborough.

BUSCH WINS THE POLE

For the second time in three races, Kurt Busch started from the pole. In his second race of season, Busch claimed the top starting spot at Auto Club Speedway and Friday afternoon, he took claim to his second pole award of the season and 18th of his career.

After an early season suspension from NASCAR, Busch has been a man on a mission. After NASCAR informed the driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet that he could be eligible for the Sprint Cup championship this year, Busch has his mind set on one thing – victory lane. Despite starting on pole twice this year, Busch has had to settle for a third place finish at ACS and 14 at Texas. He has an average starting and finishing position of 9.0 this season.

NICE AND STEADY

Last year the poster boy of consistence was Ryan Newman. Newman, who didn’t win a race all year made it into the Chase for the Sprint Cup, and despite not winning a race, almost won the Championship. Newman has had some struggles this year, but Mr. Consistency has to go to Martin Truex Jr.

In the seven races this year, Truex has seven top-10 and one top-5, a second place finish at Las Vegas. Currently sitting third in the points, could Truex sneak into the Chase and possible win the title and not a race? Maybe, but I don’t think so, going winless that is. Bouncing back from a disastrous 2014 season both personally and professionally, Truex has been as untouchable a person can be without a win. I believe he will win in 2015, it is just a matter of time.

Until he wins a race, as long as he is staying consistent with top-10 finishes, he could spoil the party in Miami at the end of the season.

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About Jacob Mullins

Jacob Mullins serves as the managing editor and senior NASCAR writer covering all three national touring series's. You can find him on on Twitter at @JMulls15. An intercollegiate athletic administrator by trade, Mullins can be found at the big tracks as well as the local short tracks in the Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania area. Mullins enjoys social media, photography and graphic design. A native of West Chester, Pennsylvania, Mullins follows all forms of racing, Major League Baseball (Baltimore Orioles) and college football (Virginia Tech Hokies).

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