The big news coming into the O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 race weekend at Texas Motor Speedway was the repaving of the track and the anxiety that went along with what was essentially the first time most of the drivers had the chance to drive on it.
Drivers were worried about being able to pass others on the new surface, but in the end, the winner started from last place. In ironic fashion, the champion was Jimmie Johnson, who seemingly wins every race in Fort Worth (two of the last three and seven overall).
"No one can criticize and say you can’t pass, ’cause the guy who started last finished first," Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage said. "He had to pass everybody at some point or another, so I think that alone speaks volumes for the success of it. And it’ll only get better with time."
The race was exciting, but as anyone who has been to Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series race at Texas Motor Speedway, the race is only part of the experience.
Monster Energy Girls at Texas Motor Speedway
NASCAR's premier series has a new sponsor as Monster Energy signed a two-year sponsorship deal with a two-year option to be to third title sponsor in NASCAR history following Winston, and Nextel which became Sprint.
The Monster Energy Girls are a big part of the energy drink's branding and they played a huge role at TMS this weekend with appearances at the Monster Fan Zone and garnering tons of attention from picture-seeking fans everywhere they ventured.
They also stood on the green carpet for the arrival of the drivers and VIPs who were attending the driver's meeting in the infield garage and were in Victory Lane for Jimmie Johnson's trophy presentation.
Monster had nine ladies in town for the O'Reilly Auto Parts 500.
For our full coverage and photos from the Monster Energy Girls, visit here.
Bacon burrito unveiled
TMS has a tradition of bring the bacon to race fans and this weekend saw the unveiling of a bacon burrito known as the Hawg Heaven Burro Grande.
The latest creation from TMS and Levy Restaurants Executive Chef Lincoln Engstrom is an oversized burrito stuffed with pork carnitas, crisped with pecan wood smoked shoulder bacon, tomato cilantro rice, bacon and jalapeno-studded ranch beans, queso, pickled red onion, Fritos for crunch and topped off with bacon avocado crema and sriracha aioli.
Celebs in Fort Worth
Another staple of race-day in Fort Worth is spotting celebrities around the massive track. We saw Ozzy Osbourne, CBS Sports Radio nationally syndicated host Jim Rome, singer Jamie Lynn Spears, Detroit Lions defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson and Dallas Cowboys tight end Rico Gathers.
Osbourne, known as the "Prince of Darkness" and his son, Jack, served as Honorary Race Directors that included the command of "Drivers To Your Cars" and riding in one of the official Chevy SS pace cars that will lead the field to the green for the start of the O'Reilly Auto Parts 500.
Rome handled the O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 Grand Marshal responsibilities and give the command to the drivers to start their engines.
Danica Patrick Bobblehead giveaway
The first 30,000 fans to arrive for the O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 received a Danica Patrick bobblehead.
Patrick is part of a three-bobblehead promo giveaway at this year's TMS race schedule. The Rainguard Water Sealers 600 Verizon IndyCar Series race on June 10 will feature a Graham Rahal bobblehead and the AAA Texas 500 bobblehead giveaway will be Kevin Harvick.
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