Tumultuous, tiring start to NASCAR's round of 12 at Texas

Chase Elliott was leading at Texas when a right rear tire issue led to hard contact with the wall and a fiery finish to his day, knocking him from the top of the playoff standings.

After the caution lights came on when another front-running car had tire problems, Denny Hamlin went spinning into the infield grass after a retaliatory bump from behind by fellow playoff contender William Byron that NASCAR didn't initially see — or penalize yet.

Even Christopher Bell, who like his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Hamlin was so good in the first round of the playoffs, failed to finish at his home track after his crew ran out of time to finish repairs on his damaged car after a second tire issue sent him into the wall.

For all the concern that contending teams had already expressed about Talladega Superspeedway and the Roval at Charlotte Motor Speedway in this three-race segment of the playoffs,

“Just a crazy race for everybody,” said race runner-up Joey Logano, who took over the points lead. “You just cross your fingers, say a few prayers, hope it's not your turn when the tire blows out.”

All of the tire issues contributed to a track-record 16 cautions (for 91 laps) — 12 of those for single-car incidents, plus the standard yellows at the end of each of the two in-race stages.

Logano was concerned about the vibration in the right rear of his car throughout the closing laps.