A look at the winners and losers at Texas Motor Speedway.
Surprise winners — Who really saw Cole Custer winning his first Cup race last weekend at Kentucky and Austin Dillon winning Sunday at Texas except for family and dedicated fans? The wins by Custer and Dillon meant two drivers outside the top 16 in points before their trips to Victory Lane each grabbed a playoff spot. That puts pressure on those at or near the cutoff line.
Richard Childress Racing — Winner Austin Dillon and runner-up Tyler Reddick gave RCR its first 1-2 Cup finish since Clint Bowyer and Jeff Burton did it at Talladega in 2011. Reddick was 15 years old when that happened.
Joey Logano — His third-place finish was his best result since he won at Phoenix, the last race before NASCAR suspended the season for 10 weeks because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Christopher Bell — His 21st-place finish doesn’t seem like much but he climbed from 25th to 23rd in car owner points. That’s important because the starting lineup draw is based on car owner points. Those in positions 1-12 are eligible for the pole, those in positions 13-24 can draw for those spots and those in positions 25-36 draw for those spots. Bell had been stuck in the 25-36 group and had drawn 32nd of worse in the last seven races that had a random draw. Now, he knows he can start no worse than 24th on Thursday at Kansas.
Kyle Busch — He drove through the grass in that multi-car crash and rebounded to finish fourth. Busch said going through the grass “killed the front end” and that the car was “definitely not right after that.” Asked by NBCSN’s Dave Burns how he drove his car to a top-five finish after that damage, Busch responded: “KFB.”
Quin Houff — Trying to head to pit road from the middle lane in Turn 4 led to contact with Christopher Bell and Matt DiBenedetto and created a late caution that changed the race’s complexion. Houff took blame for the mistake. The incident led to Brad Keselowski, responding to a reporter’s question about that caution, to note that NASCAR should consider demoting drivers when they’re involved in numerous on-track issues.
Jimmie Johnson — Hit the wall early and then was penalized two laps for too many crew members servicing the car while under the Damaged Vehicle Policy. He placed 26th, finishing 12 laps behind the leaders. Worse for him, he holds what would be the final playoff spot by two points on teammate William Byron.
Ryan Preece — He has finished 40th, 38th and 40th in his last three races.
Ryan Blaney — Led 150 laps and won both stages but didn’t come up with the race win. The caution for the incident involving Houff, Bell and DiBenedetto impacted his team’s strategy and left him deep in the pack. Blaney finished seventh.