Race Report - 2015 Duck Commander 500

Under partly cloudy weather, the 2015 Duck Commander 500 race started around 19:30 local time on April 11. It was pretty calm compared to previous races of the season, with just one yellow flag in the first 100 out of 334 laps, but was marked by a lot of loose lug nuts. In a nail-biting three way race, Jimmie Johnson has scored his fifth Texas win race by 1.296s over Kevin Harvick.

 

Kevin Harvick took the early lead, maintaining it for the first thirty laps, and first caution of the day flew at lap 32 when Alex Kennedy lost control of his car on Turn 4. The race restarted on lap 36 with Kurt Busch briefly leading, but Harvick soon reclaimed the first. Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson soon pushed Harvick to third, and then Keselowski got into the top three, pushing Harvick to fourth. On lap 53, Kevin Harvick got to third, a place that he has been able to hold onto until lap 81, when he went to the pits during the scheduled green flag pit stops which started around lap 79.

2015-Duck-Commander-500-Keselowski

Jeff Gordon took the lead from during the pit stops, but Keselowski got into first soon, followed by Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson. Ricky Stenhouse got the penalty for speeding in the pit lane. In the following laps, Johnson, Harvick and Kurt Busch battled for second and third while Keselowski had a stable lead. Jimmie Johnson took the lead at lap 109 when second caution flew because of debris on the track. Denny Hamlin was penalized because of driving through too many pits. The race restarted on lap 113 with an immediate battle between Harvick, Kahne and Keselowski. On lap 125 Harvick took over the lead. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was climbing his way up to the top, going to fourth despite all the problems he has encountered early on into the race.

 

 

On lap 156, Johnson reclaimed the leading position, and a next set of green flag pit stops started, which enabled Kahne to briefly take the lead for the first time during the race. However, Jimmie Johnson soon reclaimed the leading position followed by Harvick, Keselowski and Dale Earnhardt Jr. The third caution flew on lap 172 because of debris on track, enabling Harvick to take over the lead during the pit stops. Johnson soon got back to the first position before the race restarted on lap 176. As soon as the green flag flew, Dale Jr. climbed to third in a fantastic drive during the evening. On lap 198 Kasey Kahne made an unscheduled pit stop because of vibrations resulting from a loose right rear wheel. Earnhardt took over the second position from Harvick on lap 209.

A new set of green light pit stops started around lap 218, making Earnhardt Jr, Menard and Kahne the leaders for a brief amount of time. However, Jimmie Johnson soon returned to the leading position. Paul Menard couldn’t restart the car after stopping in the pits while Matt Kenseth made an epic save, and fourth caution flew. The race restarted on lap 234 with Jimmie Johnson maintaining his lead, closely followed by Kahne and Harvick. On lap 250 the fifth caution flew when Michael Annett slammed the wall on Turn 2. Joey Logano took advantage of the caution, jumping to third.

The race restarted on lap 255, with Harvick battling and succeeding to maintain his second place. On lap 260 an another caution flew when Allgaier hit the wall because of a flat tire. Logano didn’t pit and took the lead and Keselowski made a commitment cone violation, losing his place and starting from 23rd. The race restarted on lap 269 with Kasey Kahne and Martin Truex Jr. battling for second. Harvick took the third on lap 279, battling with Kahne and claiming the second place on lap 282 and first from Joey Logano on lap 285.

 

At 40 laps to go, a caution flew because of Matt Kenseth’s car left debris after brushing against a wall. Kevin Harvick returned from the pits as the leader, followed by Logano and Hamlin. With 35 laps to go, the race was resumed. Shortly after, there’s been a caution with 25 laps to go when AJ Allmendinger hit the wall. Jamie McMurray and Jeff Gordon took first and second and with 21 laps to go, the race was resumed.

 

A contact between Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick bumped Logano to 8th, and Jimmie Johnson managed to overtake Jamie McMurray and Harvick who were battling for first and take the lead in the final laps. Dale Jr. jumped to second with 9 to go, but didn’t manage to hold onto his place and Harvick returned to second place with 6 to go. Harvick’s efforts were jeopardized when he brushed against a wall losing momentum and almost losing his second place. Jimmie Johnson has won the race by 1.296s over Kevin Harvick who was followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr, Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski and Jamie McMurray. Johnson also led the most laps, 128 followed by Harvick with 96 and Kurt Busch with 46.

 

It was a great NASCAR weekend! See you next week! 

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