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March 31, 2019
Denny Hamlin has his first stage win this season, with the lead after 170 laps in the NASCAR Cup race in Texas. Hamlin won the season-opening Daytona 500 and has finished no worse than 11th in any race this year. Ryan Blaney was second after the second stage in the 334-lap race, and Daniel Suarez was third. Kyle Busch, trying to complete a tripleheader sweep after already winning the Xfinity and Trucks Series races this weekend at Texas, was running fourth.

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — The Latest on the NASCAR Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (all times local):

4:05 p.m.

Denny Hamlin has his first stage win this season, with the lead after 170 laps in the NASCAR Cup race in Texas.

Hamlin won the season-opening Daytona 500 and has finished no worse than 11th in any race this year.

The winner of the second stage has won the last four Cup races this season, and won both Texas races last year.

Ryan Blaney was second after the second stage in the 334-lap race at the 1 1/2-mile track, while Daniel Suarez was third.

Kyle Busch, trying to complete a tripleheader sweep after already winning the Xfinity and Trucks Series races this weekend at Texas, was running fourth. Busch has led three times for 24 laps.

Joey Logano, who won the first stage, dropped to 15th after a penalty on pit road because of an uncontrolled tire, and was also having issues on the track with a loose hood. It is the first stage all season when Logano didn’t score any points.

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3:05 p.m.

Joey Logano has won the first stage in the NASCAR Cup race at Texas, followed by polesitter Jimmy Johnson and Chase Elliott.

It is the second stage win of the year for Logano, a race winner in Las Vegas earlier this season.

Johnson, a seven-time Cup winner at Texas, led the first 60 laps Sunday before giving up the lead when pitting during green conditions. He had led only 44 laps combined since the start of the 2018 season — 40 laps last year and four in the first six races of 2019.

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2:45 p.m.

Jimmie Johnson has already led more laps at Texas than he did combined in NASCAR Cup all of last season and the first six races of this season.

Johnson was the polesitter Sunday and stayed in front the first 45 laps. The No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports driver had led four laps in the first six races this year, after only 40 laps led in 2018.

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2 p.m.

Ryan Newman and Alex Bowman will be going to the back of the 39-car field to start the NASCAR Cup race at Texas.

Newman failed pre-race tech inspection twice, leading to the ejection of his car chief Todd Brewer. Newman had qualified to start 18th in his No. 6 Ford, on the same row with his Roush Fenway Racing teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Bowman, who had qualified 24th, had to go to the rear because he was in a backup car. He wrecked the primary No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet during the first stage of qualifying Friday.

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12:20 p.m.

Jimmie Johnson is starting on the NASCAR Cup pole at Texas, where Kyle Busch is going for a tripleheader weekend sweep.

Busch has two career NASCAR tripleheader sweeps, at Bristol in 2010 and 2017. He missed out on the chance for another in Las Vegas four weeks ago when he finished third in the Cup race after winning Xfinity and Trucks Series races at his home track.

This is the third time Busch, who starts 16th on Sunday, goes into a Cup race at Texas after winning in the other two series on the same weekend.

Johnson leads a starting field to the green flag for the first time since 2016, the season he won the last of his seven NASCAR Cup championships. His career-long winless streak is 65 races since Dover in June 2017.

Johnson’s record seven Cup wins at Texas are four more than Busch, the next-closest active driver.

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