There’s no lack of star power in Friday night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Ten NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regulars dot a solid lineup of Nationwide championship contenders slated to try to make the race’s 40-car lineup.
Headlining the crop of NSCS drivers are five-time NNS Texas race winners Kyle Busch, who has won three of the last four Nationwide races this season, andKevin Harvick, who won the Texas race last November. With two NNS victories at Texas on his resume, Matt Kenseth has put his name in the mix, too. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne, both of whom have one series win at the 1.5-mile track, will also suit up.
Other NSCS drivers include reigning series champion Brad Keselowski, Landon Cassill, Michael McDowell, Scott Riggs and J.J. Yeley.
All the usual suspects running full-time in the NNS this season will also be on hand. However, the race might mean a little more to Brian Vickers than others.
Vickers, who drives the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota in the series full-time this season, will be filling in for the injured Denny Hamlin in the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota for the next couple of races, until Hamlin is able to return. Vickers will want to do all he can during the Friday race to familiarize himself with the Texas track in time for Saturday night’s NSCS race.
A successful weekend at Texas, in both races, could go a long way in impressing others and proving he belongs in the premier series. In five Nationwide races at Texas, Vickers has three top-10 finishes. In the NSCS, his best finish is 12th in 14 starts.