Entering the weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, there was plenty up in the air when it came to the repaved racetrack.
With the race in the rear-view mirror, the drivers were happy with how the new surface performed.
"It actually became pretty racy as the day went on," Chase Elliott said. "Hopefully, that is a good sign."
Dale Earnhardt Jr. credited the track for working so hard to ensure success.
And Jimmie Johnson, the race-winner, said things will only improve from here.
"I think the track will change a lot in the next four to six trips that we come here, and it's only going to get better," he said.
TEXAS HEAT ON DISPLAY
When Johnson climbed out of his No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS amid confetti and Gatorade, he was quick to throw a cool towel around his neck.
"Oh, it was hot in there," Johnson said. "I got cooked in the car today. I didn’t have any fluids so I’m not feeling the best, but we got into Victory Lane."
The Texas heat was on full display Sunday, and drivers noted just how hot it felt inside the cars on the track.
"I just ran with the visor up the whole day," Earnhardt said. "I was happy to see that caution late to get us some Gatorade and cool off a little bit. It was hot.”
As for Johnson, he said he headed to the infield care center to get some fluids, and by the time he answered questions in the media center after his win, he said he was “feeling a ton better.”
By the end of Sunday’s race, Johnson had found Victory Lane, giving Hendrick Motorsports its first win of the 2017 season. He was joined in the top five by Earnhardt, whose fifth-place finish was his best result of the young campaign.
And Elliott joined his two teammates inside the top 10 in ninth place.
“Had a good car, just didn’t get back up through the field as well as I would have liked to that second time,” Elliott said, praising the No. 24 team’s “good effort.”
Kasey Kahne looked poised to capture a top-15 finish as well when a mechanical issue with 42 laps to go forced him to the garage. He was able to return to the track and took the checkered flag 38th.