Especially coming off a short track like Martinsville, where a speed of 96.5 won Joey Logano the pole, the first Cup Series practice at Texas Motor Speedway showed that this won’t be your typical race for a 1.5 mile track.
Three drivers finished the session with average speeds in excess of 199 mph. Ryan Blaney (199.93), Denny Hamlin (199.19) and Kurt Busch (199.18) all threatened to break the 200 mph mark.
Fans, drivers and analysts alike have all been vocal about the overabundance of 1.5 mile racetracks, especially in the playoffs. But it is easy to forget that these tracks may have the same length, but these so-called “cookie cutter tracks” aren’t quite as similar as they seem.
Compare Texas’ speed to the last 1.5 mi. track: Kansas Speedway. The 199.93 speed Blaney just put up in practice is almost 12 miles an hour faster than the 188.02 that got Martin Truex Jr. the pole at Kansas.
Even a Superspeedway like Talladega only sees top qualifying speeds of around 190 mph, albeit with restrictor plates.
The point is, this weekend’s race in Texas is going to be FAST.
Related: Paul Menard will have to start in the back at Texas. He probably doesn’t care.