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Sunday, April 6
Texas Motor Speedway
Fort Worth, Texas
Carl Edwards (No. 99) took the lead for good from Kyle Busch (No. 18) on lap 215 on his way to winning the Samsung 500.
Edwards Wins Texas Showdown
FORT WORTH, TX (April 6, 2008) - Carl Edwards must know how the West was won... state by state.
He won in California. He won in Nevada. And, Sunday, he won in Texas.
The back-flipping Edwards is on a roll.
And he's doing it without his regular crew chief, who is sitting out a suspension for rules violations earlier in the year.
Running either at the front, or just behind Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch most of the race, Edwards took the lead on lap 214 of the 339-lap Samsung 500 and practically held it the remaining distance.
Edwards held off Johnson and Busch in a two-lap shootout after the day's sixth and final caution with four laps remaining set the stage for an exciting green, white, checkered flag finish.
Both runner-up Johnson and third-place Busch put up sterling efforts in trying to win the race at this 1 1/2-mile tri-oval Texas Motor Speedway.
Rounding out the top 10 were fourth-place finisher Ryan Newman, winner of the season-opening Daytona 500; Denny Hamlin, winner of last weekend's race at Martinsville; veteran Jeff Burton; Tony Stewart; Mark Martin; Matt Kenseth and Clint Bowyer.
Kevin Harvick battled back to finish 11th after having a very bad-handling car in the early stages of the race. Dale Earnhardt, Jr., was 12th after running with the leaders at times in the first half of the race.
Rookie Michael McDowell, who walked away from an horrific qualifying crash Friday afternoon, finished 33rd.
|Jeff Gordon enjoys pre-race festivities with daughter Ella Sofia. Gordon
fought a terrible racecar the entire race - so bad he finished last for only the second time in his NASCAR career; the "first last"
was in the 1999 edition of the Texas race...
Four-time champion Jeff Gordon had a terrible day, finishing 43rd (last place).
Burton stays in first in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings, and Harvick is second. Edwards climbed four spots to 10th, and Busch jumped two spots to third.
The sport's most popular driver -- Earnhardt -- led the beginning of the race from his pole position but his Chevy lost the handle quickly. Busch, Edwards and Johnson raced past him.
It was a perfect weather day at the Texas track when Michael Waltrip spun in Turn 2 to bring out the first caution flag. It was a timely caution for Harvick, who had just finished telling his crew his car was really "screwed up. I don't know how in the world it could be this bad."
Harvick's team and others used the stop to make much-needed adjustments, including Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon.
On the restart, Junior's team had their guy back out front with Johnson in close pursuit, just ahead of the younger of the Busch brothers. Johnson's No. 48 Chevy took the lead on lap No. 48.
Gordon, a four-time champion, was thrashing back in 34th spot in the third of four Hendrick Chevrolets, almost a second and a half behind his teammates. Casey Mears, in the other, was 24th.
By lap 55, Earnhardt had dropped back to fifth spot, behind Johnson, Busch, Edwards and Greg Biffle.
Gordon spun on lap 109, the second caution of the sunny day. Gordon's spin ended a frustrating day when he pulled into the garage and told crew chief Steve Letarte, "We need to change everything and turn this into a test session."
Gordon has never had any luck at this track. It is is one of only two tracks on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit where Gordon has not won. The other is Homestead- Miami Speedway.
The race started again on lap 113 with Kenseth out front, followed by Johnson, Edwards, Busch, Earnhardt, Denny Hamlin, Biffle, Martin Truex, Jr., Stewart and Kasey Kahne.
J.J. Yeley brought out the fourth caution flag when he bounced from the outside wall to the inside wall on lap 175.
All the lead cars pitted, and Matt Kenseth resumed his lead.
Complete Race Results click here
Post-Race Driver Point Standings click here
Edwards mid-air during his trademark back-flip after winning the Samsung 500.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (left) celebrates with crew chief and cousin Tony Eury Jr. after winning the pole for the Samsung 500.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the Coors Light Pole Award for the Samsung 500 with a lap of 28.286 seconds,
|Michael McDowell walked away from a wild scary crash during his qualifying laps; his car hit the wall almost head-on
entering turn 1 at close to 200 mph, then bounced off the soft wall to barrel roll all the way through the exit of turn 2...
Complete Qualifying Results click here
Starting Lineup click here
An Interview With Pole Winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. click here
Broadcast Times - AT*
Practice: Friday, April 4 (SPEED at 2 p.m.)
Qualifying: Friday, April 4 (SPEED at 5:30 p.m.)
Practice: saturday, April 5 (SPEED at 1 p.m.)
Final Practice: Saturday, April 5 (SPEED at 2 p.m.)
RaceDay: Sunday, April 6 (SPEED at 12:30 p.m./AT)
Pre-Race Show: Sunday, April 6 (FOX & TSN-alt at 2:30 p.m./AT)
Race: Sunday, April 6 (FOX & TSN-alt at 3 p.m./AT)
- This is Jr.'s eighth pole in 298 career NASCAR Sprint Cup races. His most recent pole was at Pocono in
- This is his first pole and fourth top-10 start in 2008.
- Earnhardt posted his second pole and sixth top-10 start in 12 races at Texas. It is his first start better than
seventh in his last 10 races here.
- Carl Edwards posted the second-fastest qualifying time with a lap of 28.498 seconds, 189.487 mph. This
is his first start better than 10th in seven Texas races.
- Kyle Busch (third) posted his second top-10 starts in seven races at Texas. His other top-10 start was fifth
in April 2007 when qualifying was canceled.
- David Reutimann (sixth) was the fastest of the drivers required to make the field on time.
- Sam Hornish Jr. (17th) was the fastest qualifying rookie.
- Drivers that failed to qualify for the race include: Dario Franchitti, Chad McCumbee and Burney Lamar.
*AT is one hour ahead of ET, i.e. if it's 2 p.m./AT - it's 1 p.m./ET...
Green Flag Fast Facts
The Race: Samsung 500
The Place: Texas Motor Speedway
The Track: 1.5-mile oval
The Distance: 334 laps/501 miles
TV: FOX, 2:30 p.m./AT, 1:30 p.m./ET
Radio: PRN, SIRIUS Satellite Radio
2007 Winner: Jeff Burton
2007 Polesitter: None (weather)
Pre-Race Schedule (local track time): Friday—Practice, 12-1:30 p.m.; Qualifying, 3:40 p.m. Saturday—Practice, 11:00 a.m.-11:45 a.m.; Final Practice, 12:20 -1:20 p.m.
Year-To-Date Standings click here
NASCAR Newscast - watch a preview for this weekends Texas event click here
Texas Storylines click here
Pre-Race Pit Stops
- Two-Time Texas Winner Burton Returns As The Series Leader...He arrives atop the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings, and as this week’s defending event champion.
That’s Jeff Burton’s (No. 31 Prilosec OTC Chevrolet) good fortune heading into Sunday’s Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Quite a distance from 2004 and ‘05, when Burton — once considered a championship contender — finished 18th in the final series standings for two consecutive seasons.
A move to Richard Childress Racing late in ‘04 laid the groundwork for revival, which materialized with a seventh-place finish in ’06 and an eighth-place finish in ’07. A Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup participant both seasons, he also nabbed a win, each year, at Dover International Speedway in ’06 and at Texas in ’07.
A win two weeks ago at Bristol Motor Speedway and last Sunday’s third-place finish at Martinsville Speedway gives him a 39-point margin over second-place Kevin Harvick (No. 29 Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet), his RCR teammate.
Plus, Burton has historical precedence. He’s the only driver to win twice at Texas, last April and the track’s first NASCAR Sprint Cup event in 1997.
Sunday’s event also marks the first at Texas with NASCAR’s new car.
“Corner speed is the key element to winning at Texas,” Burton said. “The place is really fast and it’s fast because the corners generate a lot of speed. Having a fast car and good track position is real important.”
- Earnhardt Jr. Looks To Continue Standings Climb At Texas...Texas-sized karma also exists this week for Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 Amp Energy/National Guard Chevrolet), who’ll look to move further up the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings following Sunday’s Samsung 500.
Earnhardt won his first series race at Texas Motor Speedway, in 2000. He also continues to climb the standings, jumping one spot, to fourth, following last Sunday’s sixth-place finish at Martinsville.
The last time he ranked this high? Following the 34th race in November 2006 — at Texas.
Earnhardt’s the only driver with five top fives this season. He also has improved his place in the standings following five this season’s six events.
Note: He hasn’t led the series standings since Sept. 19, 2004.
But he has been the standard-bearer thus far for Hendrick Motorsports. All three of Earnhardt’s teammates rank below Earnhardt, who joined Hendrick following the 2007 season. Four-time series champion Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet) is ninth and reigning and two-time series champion Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet) is 10th. Casey Mears (No. 5 Cheez-It/CARQUEST Chevrolet) is 27th.
Earnhardt will do double-duty this weekend, driving the No. 5 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet for the Hendrick-affiliated JR Motorsports in Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race.
- On The Bubble: Regan Smith In 35th; Hornish, Franchitti On Outside Looking In...Short-track action guarantees shake-ups, and last week at Martinsville Speedway delivered.
Heading into Sunday’s Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, the top-35 teams in current NASCAR Sprint Cup car owner standings are guaranteed starting berths. And those teams teetering on the “bubble” read differently than they did a week ago.
The Teresa Earnhardt-owned No. 01 Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chevrolet driven by Regan Smith sits in 35th place, only three points behind 34th place and the No. 70 Haas Automation Chevrolet owned by Margaret Haas and driven by Jeremy Mayfield.
Two former Indianapolis 500 champions and current Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidates find themselves outside the top 35 thanks to last Sunday’s Martinsville finishes. Sam Hornish Jr. (No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge) slipped from 35th to 36th in the owner standings. He’s only three points behind the DEI No. 01. Dario Franchitti (No. 40 Kennametal Dodge), the reigning IndyCar Series champion, was unable to boost his position; he remains 38th.
Hendrick Motorsports’ Casey Mears parlayed a seventh-place finish at Martinsville into a four-spot jump in the top-35 rankings, from 33rd to 29th. After dangling only 12 points out of 35th, he now has some breathing room — 76 points.
Speaking of breathing room, Jamie McMurray (No. 26 Cask 16 Ford) created some with a fifth-place qualifying effort at Martinsville, followed by an eighth-place finish. He jumped five spots in the owner standings, from 36th to 31st.
David Reutimann’s debut in the No. 44 UPS Toyota driven by now-retired series champion Dale Jarrett and owned by Michael Waltrip, was not as successful. A frustrating day at Martinsville dropped the No. 44 from 34th to 37th in the owner standings. Heading to Texas, Reutimann must qualify on time for Sunday’s Samsung 500. He’s currently 20 points out of 35th.
And lastly, veteran Kyle Petty — remaining 40th — will put Chad McCumbee in the No. 45 Marathon American Sprint Motor Oil Dodge this weekend. McCumbee subbed twice for Petty in 2007, due to broadcast obligations.
“Everyone at Petty Enterprises believes in Chad and his abilities,” Petty said. “Texas gives us a chance to get another good look at Chad without throwing him to the wolves. He should be relaxed because he knows he can get the job done there.”
- Hamlin’s Breakout Win Reaffirms His Contender Status...
Prior to last Sunday’s victory at Martinsville Speedway, third-year NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Denny Hamlin seemed the invisible element in Joe Gibbs Racing’s star-studded lineup.
With teammates Tony Stewart and Kyle Busch (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota) dominating races and headlines, Hamlin was soldiering through bad luck and frustrating finishes.
Last week’s win, however, capped a mini-comeback through the season’s first six events.
Sitting 32nd in the series standings following the season’s second event at Auto Club Speedway, Hamlin — the ‘06 Raybestos Rookie of the Year — now sits eighth heading to Sunday’s Samsung 500 at Texas, a gain of seven spots.
It means all three JGR drivers now are in the top 12, with Busch fifth and Stewart sixth.
And the future could get brighter: Hamlin has one top five and four top 10s in only five series starts at Texas. He finished 29th there last November following an accident, after having led twice for 45 laps — the event’s second-highest total.
According to pre-race NASCAR Loop Data statistics, Hamlin also boasts the fourth-best Driver Rating (100.1) for Texas, and an average finish of 11.8.
- Could Be Time: Amid Hendrick Revival Talk, Gordon Seeks First Texas Motor Speedway Win...
With four NASCAR Sprint Cup titles in hand, it’s odd to realize Jeff Gordon hasn’t conquered two tracks on the current series schedule.
Texas Motor Speedway is one, with Homestead-Miami Speedway being the other.
Two years ago, that total stood at four, until Gordon won at Chicagoland Speedway (2006) and Phoenix International Raceway (April 2007).
Now, the target is Texas, where he started on the pole and led a race-high 173 laps last April before finishing fifth.
Gordon has five top fives and seven top 10s in 14 career starts at Texas. His average finish there is 15.2.
The focus also is on his Hendrick Motorsports teammates, who appeared to overcome their collective slow start with stellar performances last week at Martinsville Speedway.
Newcomer Dale Earnhardt Jr. carried the banner as the only Hendrick driver in the top 12, until Gordon muscled in at ninth and Jimmie Johnson in at 10th. Casey Mears, beset by early poor luck and problems, jumped to 26th.
Johnson won last November’s race at Texas, in a stirring last-laps duel with Matt Kenseth.
Mears has two top fives and four top 10s in eight career starts at Texas. Johnson has one win, four top fives and seven top 10s in nine starts. Earnhardt has one pole, one win, three top fives and seven top 10s in 11 starts at Texas.
- The Doobie Brothers will perform during Sunday’s AMDRO Firestrike pre-race show. Country-music singer James Otto also will perform.
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