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Kenseth Caps Off Roush Fenway Sweep at Texas

NASCAR
Sunday, April 10, 2011

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Matt Kenseth
Getty Images for NASCAR
After a 76-race absence from victory lane, Matt Kenseth needed a quick refresher course.

“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 a whopping 8.315 seconds in Saturday night’s Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. “It’s been a while.”

That it had. Kenseth’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winless streak dated to February 2009, when he won the Daytona 500 and the second race of the season at Fontana, Calif. — and nothing after that.

Matt Kenseth
Getty Images for NASCAR
The victory was Kenseth’s second at Texas and the 19th of his NASCAR Sprint Cup career. Kenseth’s Roush Fenway Racing teammates Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle came home third and fourth, respectively, 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.

“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,” Kenseth said after climbing form his car in victory lane. “We had a packed house tonight, and it probably wasn’t the closest finish for them, but we had great racing all night.”

Kenseth, who led 169 of 334 laps, said staying out front in clean air was the key to winning the race.

“A couple of times, when we got behind a little bit, it took awhile to get to the front. We were short on fuel (because of a fueling issue on pit road), but because of the tire situation—how much time you could gain on (new) tires — we got lucky. When we pitted, it forced the field to pit. That was the key in long runs.”

Long runs indeed. The race ended on a green-flag run of 114 laps, after the only violent wreck of the night caused the fifth caution of the race on Lap 215.

Kenseth passed Bowyer for the lead on Lap 249, but one lap later, Kenseth relinquished the top spot when he brought the No. 17 Ford to pit road.

With Kenseth bearing down, Bowyer had made a spectacular save a few laps earlier, after his car slid sideways as he tried to pass the lapped car of Brian Vickers.

“Dang it,” Bowyer said. “That was my fault, totally my fault. You come up on those lappers, and they hold you up so bad. Matt started to catch me, and I was pressing, trying to get around (Vickers). He gave me room. I just slid up and got into him.

“Man, I thought it was going to end our day completely.”

Kenseth’s pit stop on Lap 250, necessary because his car hadn’t taken on a full load of fuel on the previous stop, started a parade to pit road that lasted 26 laps. Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch pressed the issue by staying out as long as possible, hoping for a caution.

Busch pitted on Lap 270. Stewart waited until Lap 276, opening a fuel window that would allow him to finish the race without another stop—or so he thought. But Stewart was penalized for speeding on pit road and then ran out of fuel on the last lap, finishing 12th, the last car on the lead lap.

Bowyer had just grabbed the lead after a restart on Lap 214 when a bone-jarring wreck on the backstretch sent the cars of Martin Truex Jr., Mark Martin and Regan Smith to the garage. Brad Keselowski checked up in front of Truex, who did likewise, and the chain reaction turned Truex sideways after slight contact from Kevin Harvick.

Martin and Smith were innocent victims, but their cars were crippled nonetheless.

Notes: Edwards regained the series lead by nine points 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.

Results

FIN ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 4 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Crown Royal Black 48/2 334 Running
2 3 33 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet Cheerios / Hamburger Helper 43/1 334 Running
3 2 99 Carl Edwards Ford Scotts 42/1 334 Running
4 9 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M 41/1 334 Running
5 19 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet Quaker State / Menards 39/0 334 Running
6 7 9 Marcos Ambrose Ford Stanley 39/1 334 Running
7 1 6 David Ragan Ford UPS Freight 38/1 334 Running
8 6 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's / Kobalt Tools 36/0 334 Running
9 28 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet Amp Energy / National Guard 36/1 334 Running
10 10 22 Kurt Busch Dodge Shell / Pennzoil 35/1 334 Running
11 12 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar 33/0 334 Running
12 26 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Mobil 1 / Office Depot 33/1 334 Running
13 14 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Target 31/0 333 Running
14 16 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet U.S. Army Reserve 30/0 333 Running
15 23 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Office / March of Dimes 29/0 333 Running
16 11 18 Kyle Busch Toyota Interstate Batteries 28/0 333 Running
17 18 21 Trevor Bayne Ford Motorcraft / Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center 0 333 Running
18 27 2 Brad Keselowski Dodge Miller Lite 27/1 333 Running
19 15 43 A.J. Allmendinger Ford Valvoline 25/0 332 Running
20 29 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Budweiser 24/0 332 Running
21 13 4 Kasey Kahne Toyota Red Bull 23/0 332 Running
22 17 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Tracker 21/0 332 Running
23 32 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet DuPont 23/1 332 Running
24 8 20 Joey Logano Toyota The Home Depot 20/0 331 Running
25 34 47 Bobby Labonte Toyota Bush's Baked Beans 19/0 331 Running
26 22 13 Casey Mears Toyota GEICO 18/0 331 Running
27 30 83 Brian Vickers Toyota Red Bull 17/0 330 Running
28 24 09 Landon Cassill Chevrolet Thank A Teacher Today / Security Benefit 0 330 Running
29 25 00 David Reutimann Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 15/0 329 Running
30 38 36 Dave Blaney Chevrolet Accell Construction 15/1 329 Running
31 39 7 Robby Gordon Dodge Fast Five / Speed Energy 14/1 328 Running
32 43 71 Andy Lally * Ford Interstate Moving Services 12/0 324 Running
33 41 32 Ken Schrader Ford Big Red 11/0 319 Running
34 42 37 Tony Raines Ford Front Row Motorsports 10/0 319 Running
35 31 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 9/0 213 Accident
36 21 5 Mark Martin Chevrolet GoDaddy.com 8/0 213 Accident
37 5 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet Farm American / Furniture Row / Agro-Culture Liquid Fertilizers 7/0 212 Accident
38 33 195 David Starr Ford WRL General Contractors 0 122 Accident
39 37 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota NEMCO Motorsports 0 60 Clutch
40 20 66 Michael McDowell Toyota HP Racing LLC 4/0 56 Electrical
41 35 46 J.J. Yeley Chevrolet Red Line Oil 3/0 52 Electrical
42 40 34 David Gilliland Ford Gander Mountain 2/0 44 Accident
43 36 60 Mike Skinner Toyota Big Red 0 36 Rear Gear

* Denotes Rookie

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