2011-04-14 / Sports

Kenseth Leads Roush Sweep Of Texas

By Gerald Hodges
THE RACING REPORTER


Matt Kenseth Matt Kenseth FT. WORTH, Tex. – Matt Kenseth came back from a 76-race winless streak to take Saturday night’s Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

“Show me where to park this thing,” Kenseth radioed to crew chief Jimmy Fennig after beating race runner-up Clint Bowyer to the checkered flag by over eight seconds. “It’s been a while.”

“I’ve said it after every win, but especially after over two years, I didn’t know if I’d ever have a chance to get here again. We had a packed house tonight, and it probably wasn’t the closest finish for them, but we had great racing all night.”

Clint Bowyer ran up front for most of the race, but was no match for Kenseth near the end.

“We’ve come on, we’ve had solid runs and we’re clicking now,” said Bowyer. “That’s what it takes in this sport. You’ve got to be able to get on a momentum swing, get some confidence built back up, and you have to start with that.”

“I got in the lead there, and got away from him once, but I was driving, you know, as hard as I possibly could to stay in front.”

For third-place finisher, Edwards, it was a good weekend. On Friday he won the Nationwide race.

“Our car was really loose all night,” Edwards said. “ Man, we struggled. It seemed like we put on a set of tires, made a small adjustment and the car would be way different. I don’t know what adjustment was making the car change so much.”

“Third was about the best we could hope for, and coming out of here with the points lead and a trip to Victory Lane is a good trip to Texas for us.”

The victory was Kenseth’s second at Texas and the 19th of his NASCAR SprintCup career. Kenseth’s teammate Greg Biffle came home fourth, with Paul Menard completing the top-five.

Marcos Ambrose ran sixth and polesitter David Ragan seventh, as Ford drivers claimed five of the top seven positions. Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kurt Busch completed the top 10.

Edwards regained the series lead over Kyle Busch, who finished 16th. Kenseth moved up six spots to third. Earnhardt climbed two positions to sixth in the standings, his highest ranking since he finished second in the 2010 season- opening Daytona 500. The 169 laps Kenseth led were 61 more than he led all last year.

Roush Fenway now leads the points in both the Nationwide (Ricky Stenhouse Jr.) and Sprint Cup Series, which heads to Talladega Superspeedway next weekend.

Top-12 Chase contenders after 7 of 36: 1. Edwards-256, 2. Kyle Busch- 247, 3. Kenseth-243, 4. Johnson-243, 5. Kurt Busch-240, 6. Earnhardt 235, 7. Newman-233, 8. Montoya-232, 9. Harvick-228, 10. Stewart-213, 11. Menard- 209, 12. Bowyer-201

Edwards takes Texas Nationwide race

Carl Edwards started on the pole and never looked back, leading 169 of 200 laps in a dominating victory in Friday night’s Nationwide Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.

“That was big,” said Edwards. “Just an unreal race; the car was fast. It was a great effort by this team.”

It was Edwards’ second consecutive victory in the NNS at Texas and Roush Fenway’s sixth series win at the 1.5-mile track.

It was Edwards’ 30th career Nationwide Series win, making him just the fifth driver ever to accomplish that feat. The win was Roush Fenway’s 14th overall NASCAR win at Texas.

Brad Keselowski crossed the stripe .482 seconds behind Edwards. Paul Menard came home third, followed by Joey Logano, Elliott Sadler, Justin Allgaier, Reed Sorenson, Ricky Stenhouse, David Reutimann, and Brian Scott.

Kyle Busch, who was gunning for his third consecutive win and fourth of the season, was chasing Edwards as the two battled for the lead on Lap 88 when the No. 52 Chevrolet of Tim Schendel blew a tire and slid up into Busch’s path. With no room to maneuver and no time to react, Busch slammed into the back of Schendel’s car, knocking Busch’s No. 18 Toyota out of the race.

“We started out a little bit tight, and the track was actually coming our way a little bit,” Busch said. “It started to free up a little bit that last run right before we wrecked. We felt pretty good about it. We were just biding our time. We were just running there – we were running hard, but we were just running.”

Top-10 leaders after 5 of 34: 1. Stenhouse-218, 2. Leffler 204, 3. Allgaier-194, 4. E. Sadler-188, 5. Sorenson-188, 6. Almirola-187, 7. Bayne-181, 8. Scott-173, 9. K. Wallace- 164, 10. Bliss-150

Kerry Earnhardt Jr. mends fences

Kerry Earnhardt, the grandson of Dale Earnhardt and son of Kerry Earnhardt is back at his former employer, Ware Racing, in the Camping World Truck Series.

“We hope to get sponsorship to keep running,” Earnhardt said. “It’s tough. It’s not easy to find money. It’s not the best time with the economy right now and everything. We’re just going to try to keep bringing money in, keep racing.

Earnhardt was terminated after being accused of contacting other teams and trying to take the sponsor of the No. 1 truck, Fuel Doctor, with him.

He said earlier in the week that he only did that once he heard that Fuel Doctor wasn’t going to continue sponsorship on the No. 1 truck.

Earnhardt and team owner Rick Ware reconciled Wednesday and announced that Earnhardt would drive, and they would continue to look for funding.

“We’ve got a good team with Joe Lax as the crew chief, all the crew guys – everybody really works hard to make it as good a program as they can,” Earnhardt said. “I don’t want to mess it up. We have something good going, and I want to keep it going, keep the relationship going and keep the friendship going.”

“We’re going to work hard. We’re going to do whatever we can to keep racing.”

“It’s been a real tough week for everybody. It’s been one thing to another to another, and it’s back to the start where we’re racing again. It was tough, and I guess that’s what happens when there’s not enough understanding and communication between two people.”

The good thing for Earnhardt and Ware is that they have a week until the next race at Nashville Superspeedway and then three more weeks until the next race at Dover.

Weekend Racing: The Cup and Nationwide teams are at the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway, the largest of any NASCAR track. The Trucks do not race again until April 22.

Sat., Apr. 15, Nationwide Aaron’s 312, race 7 of 36, Starting time: 3 p.m.; TV: ESPN2.

Sun., Apr. 17, Sprint Cup Aaron’s 499, race 8 of 36, Starting time: 1 p.m.; TV: FOX.

Racing trivia question: Which Cup team does Martin Truex drive for?

Last week’s question: How many NASCAR Cup championships has Darrell Waltrip won? Answer. He was a three-time series champion ( 1981- 82, ’ 85). All three crowns came while driving for Junior Johnson.

Contact the Racing Reporter at hodges@race500.com.

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