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Who has the speed to tame Texas?

Apr 5, 2014, 8:28 PM EDT

Tony Stewart AP

As Tony Stewart seeks to become the third Stewart-Haas Racing driver to effectively put himself into the Chase for the Sprint Cup, it bears noting that he’s good at converting pole positions into strong results.

Stewart, who will lead the field to the green for tomorrow’s Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, has collected two wins from the pole (Martinsville 2000, Coke Zero 400 at Daytona 2005) in his Cup career. But he has also earned eight Top-5s (five of them being runner-ups) and nine Top-10s from poles as well.

Additionally, at Texas, he’s led a total of 722 laps in his career and is high up among active drivers on a number of other TMS-specific statistics, as noted in our stat post from earlier this week.

Stewart was steady in this weekend’s two practice sessions, but there are others that look like they have the pace to do well tomorrow.

JIMMIE JOHNSON – Starting 16th
You can look at the time sheets (tops in first practice, seventh in final practice) or you can just take his word for it that he’ll be a threat tomorrow. While curious as to why he was unable to advance to the final round of qualifying today, he did say: “We have a very fast race car, in race trim especially. Our car is blazing fast.”

GREG BIFFLE – Starting fourth
Texas has been one of Biffle’s – and his Roush Fenway Racing team’s – best tracks in years past. At second behind Johnson in Practice 1 and fourth in final practice, he appears to have a good shot at joining teammate Carl Edwards in the post-season with a win.

PAUL MENARD – Starting 13th
The Richard Childress Racing driver appears to be in line for another sneaky good day on a 1.5-miler. He finished third last month at Las Vegas, and was Top 10 in both practice sessions this weekend. Don’t be surprised if he makes his way into the lead pack.

KURT BUSCH – Starting 11th
Clearly, the speed’s there for the Outlaw after he topped final practice in a backup car. It was also there for him in qualifying, where he put himself in good position to follow his Martinsville triumph with another nice finish.

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