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Sunday, April 5
Texas Motor Speedway
Fort Worth, Texas
Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR
Jeff Gordon Breaks Winless Streak At Texas
FORT WORTH, TEXAS -- Jeff Gordon can rest easy. He won again Sunday... the first time in 47 races.
The four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion held off teammate Jimmie Johnson the last 26 laps to win the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.
This one, the 87th win of Gordon's fabled career, was a dandy. It came on a day when a bunch of hard-charging drivers had the lead at one time or another.
It was a long time between victory lanes for Gordon, the last one being at Lowe's Motor Speedway nearly two years ago.
Trailing Gordon and Johnson was Greg Biffle and another former champion Tony Stewart, who continues to impress veterans in the sport with his performance as an owner-driver. Both Stewart and Biffle led the event during the highly-competitive race.
Matt Kenseth, another former champ and another race leader, was fifth with ageless Mark Martin sixth.
Juan Pablo Montoya was seventh and Kurt Busch eighth. Jeff Burton was ninth and Carl Edwards, another of the numerous race leaders, finished 10th.
Fastest qualifier David Reutimann, another race leader, wound up 11th after missing his pit stall and losing a lap about halfway through the race.
Kyle Busch, a frontrunner at one point in the race, wound up 18th after a self-imposed accident cost him valuable laps.
Six caution flags slowed the field during the afternoon for minor incidents.
Gordon led the first lap on a wind-blown afternoon that promised plenty of competition over the one-and-a-half-mile tri-oval. Pole winner Reutimann quickly went back to the front and Daytona 500 winner Kenseth passed Gordon for second. Paul Menard, who shows more promise every race, followed suit and moved Gordon, the series point leader, to fourth.
After 20 of the scheduled 324 laps, Reutimann was in front, followed by Kenseth, Menard, Stewart, Gordon, Kyle Busch, David Ragan, Biffle, Juan Pablo Montoya and Johnson.
Marcos Ambrose was 11th, continuing to impress fans with his adaptation to the stock cars after an impressive road racing career in Australia. By Lap 50, Ambrose was sixth and running faster laps than the leader Reutimann when all the drivers made pit stops beginning at Lap 52.
After the first round of scheduled pit stops, the leader was Kenseth, followed by Reutimann, Stewart, Menard, Gordon, Biffle, Ragan, Edwards, Ambrose and Kyle Busch. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was 11th after starting 20th.
Biffle was the man on the move, steadily moving into third behind Kenseth and Stewart, who was gaining on leader Kenseth at Lap 85. He passed Kenseth two laps later, getting sideways out of turn two in the process.
The first caution of the afternoon came out on Lap 97, a record number of laps run without a caution at the track. Obviously, the caution created a flurry of pit road activity with the Kenseth and Biffle crews getting their drivers back on the track first.
They were followed by Stewart, Reutimann, Edwards, Ragan, Gordon, Menard, Ambrose and Burton, who had worked his way into the top 10 for the first time in this 500-mile event. On Lap 111, Kyle Busch sideswiped John Andretti on the backstretch and cut a tire, which ultimately cost him nearly two laps when he needed two stops under green to repair the damage. In the meantime, Biffle passed teammate Kenseth for the lead on Lap 117.
Jeff Gordon's pit crew were fast all day, including the critical last pit stop - helping the four-time Sprint Cup champion break his long winless streak - and
win his first career race at Texas Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
At Lap 140, Biffle held the lead over Gordon and Stewart. They were trailed by Edwards, Ragan, Burton, Kurt Busch and Montoya. Busch and Montoya were on the move in this segment of the race, which was clearly anybody's race to win at this point. Every car in the top 10 was running within one-tenth-of-a-second, with several cars further back also recording fast laps. Kenseth was the first to pit under green at 152 laps but others followed a lap or two later.
On Lap 156, Elliott Sadler spun off Turn 4 bringing out the second caution of the day. Fortunately, all the leaders had pitted and Biffle was out front. The order didn't change much after the caution except for Mark Martin, who had jumped into ninth spot after the cycle of pit stops. Reutimann, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch were penalized for pit road violations. Reutimann missed his pit box. Harvick was too fast exiting pit road and Busch was too fast entering pit road.
Johnson and his crew chief Chad Knaus made three stops under this caution to make changes on the defending champion's Chevy. Johnson had not been much of a contender at this point in the race.
At the halfway point, 167 laps, Biffle led with Kenseth right behind him. Gordon was third and Stewart fourth. Ragan, showing some strength, was fifth ahead of Kurt Busch. Burton was next with Edwards, Montoya and Martin rounding out the top 10. Earnhardt was 11th and Johnson 12th.
Jeff Gordon maintains his point lead following his win at Texas. Jimmie Johnson is second, followed by Kurt Busch in third. Clint Bowyer, Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, Kasey Kahne, David Reutimann, and Jeff Burton round out the top 12.
Complete Race Results click here
Post-Race Driver Point Standings click here
NASCAR Newscast - Texas Review click here
TV Broadcast Times*
Practice: Friday April 3 at 2 p.m./SPEED
Qualifying Time Trials: Friday April 3 at 5:30 p.m./SPEED
Practice: Saturday April 4 at 1 p.m./SPEED
Final Practice: Saturday April 4 at 2 p.m./SPEED
RaceDay, Pre-Race Show: Sunday April 5 at 12:30 p.m./SPEED
FOX Pre-Race Show: Sunday April 5 at 2:30 p.m./FOX
Race: Sunday April 5 at 3:16 p.m./FOX
*Times shown are AT - 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 Time: 3 p.m. AT
The Distance: 501 miles/334 laps
TV: FOX , 2:30 p.m. AT
Radio: PRN and Sirius Satellite
2008 Polesitter: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2008 Winner: Carl Edwards
Schedule: (local track time) Friday—Practice, 12-1:30 p.m. Qualifying, 3:40 p.m. Saturday—11-11:45 a.m. and 12:20-1:20 p.m. (all times CT/local)
Year-To-Date Results & Point Standings click here
Qualifying Notes, Starting Lineup & More...
David Reutimann won the Coors Light Pole Award for the SAMSUNG 500 with a lap of 28.344
seconds, 190.517 mph.
Starting Lineup* click here
Photo Gallery - Friday at Texas Motor Speedway click here
NASCAR Newscast - Texas Preview click here
- This is his second pole in 70 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. His first pole came at Homestead in
- This is his first pole and fourth top-10 start in 2009.
- This is his first pole in four races at Texas Motor Speedway.
- One driver has won a Texas NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race from the pole -- Kasey Kahne in the
2006 spring race.
- Jeff Gordon (second) posted his fifth top-10 start of 2009 and his 11th in 17 races at Texas Motor
- Matt Kenseth (third) posted his sixth top-10 start at Texas Motor Speedway. It is his second in seven
races this season.
- Joey Logano (10th) was the fastest qualifying rookie
- Drivers that failed to qualify include: Joe Nemechek, Scott Speed, Jeremy Mayfield, Todd Bodine and Scott Riggs.
*Does not reflect adjustments that may be made prior to the race start because of the cars that need to go
to the rear of the field due to engine and/or transmission changes or practice wrecks...
- Earnhardt Earned His 1st Victory at Texas; He Could Use Another...It was the spring of 2000 and a career was blossoming. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 Amp Energy/National Guard Chevrolet), a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rookie fresh off winning consecutive NASCAR Nationwide Series titles, came to Texas Motor Speedway.
Making only his 12th start in NASCAR’s top series, Earnhardt went to Victory Lane, where he was joined by his father, the late Dale Earnhardt Sr. for a memorable celebration. Earnhardt went on to win twice more in 2000, at the Richmond spring race and, incredibly, in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race — becoming the first rookie to do so.
Of course, Earnhardt was almost immediately considered a “champion in waiting.” Nine years later, the waiting continues, with Earnhardt’s early-season struggles attracting increased focus on his team, in his second season with the highly successful Hendrick Motorsports organization.
Criticism has surfaced this season from both media and at least one rival in the series, Kyle Busch (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota). None other than Rick Hendrick himself defended the No. 88 team vigorously last week, saying, “I am 100% behind this group. I have no intentions of making any changes. I have all intentions of making it better.”
Said Earnhardt: “We’re just trying to hear out everybody’s opinions on some things we can try or do differently, and if it will help. We’re just working hard to get better … we don’t sit on our tails hoping it’ll turn around on it’s own because it probably wouldn’t happen that way.”
Hard work paid dividends this past weekend. Earnhardt finished an encouraging eighth at Martinsville Speedway, his best finish of the season. He comes into Sunday’s Samsung 500, up to 16th in the series standings. More reason for optimism: In addition to the 2000 victory at the fast, 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway track, Earnhardt has two Samsung 500 poles — 2001 and last year.
“We have excellent equipment,” Earnhardt said. “We just have to know what to do with it. We got to get a little bit better, as a team, to compete. The stuff is right there in front of us but man, we just gotta figure out what to do to make it work.”
- Edwards Attempting Texas 3-Step, After Last Season’s Sweep...Call it a Texas three-step. Carl Edwards (No. 99 Aflac Ford) won both of last season’s NASCAR Sprint Cup events at Texas Motor Speedway, part of his series-leading total of nine victories that fueled his runner-up finish in the series standings. Edwards also won at Texas in the 2005 fall race. His three TMS wins are a series high.
Edwards comes to Texas eighth in the series points but has nonetheless been perceived to be in an early-season slump — much like three-time defending series champion Jimmie Johnson was prior to his win this past Sunday at Martinsville.
Edwards has yet to win this season. Compare that with 2008’s late-season rush when he won three of the 10 events in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Maybe he is in a slump. Nonetheless, he’s also solidly in Chase contention and remains a favorite to be in championship contention later on this season.
Clearly, Edwards has taken to Texas since joining the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2004. He has an average TMS finish of 13.9 and a Driver Rating of 102.3 there — third-best in the series.
Edwards has continued Roush Fenway Racing’s TMS dominance that started with victories in the track’s first two NASCAR Sprint Cup events in 1997 and ‘98. Jack Roush leads all owners in TMS wins with seven.
- Top 35 Update ... Logano Hangs On — And In; Gilliland Drops Out — Barely...Driver Paul Menard and the No. 98 Quaker State/Menards Ford team owned by Max Jones came away from Martinsville with the 35th position in the NASCAR Sprint Cup car owner points, after a solid 25th-place run. That gives Menard the last of the guaranteed starting spots for Sunday’s race at Texas Motor Speedway.
On the two sides of the top-35 “bubble” are teams accompanied by intriguing, ever-evolving storylines.
Rookie Joey Logano, in the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota owned by Joe Gibbs, continues to flirt with falling outside the top 35 — which would force him to qualify on speed, to make a race field. The No. 20 is 34th in owner points, only 23 ahead of the No. 98.
The inspiring efforts of David Gilliland, in Kevin Buckler’s No. 71 TRG Motorsports Chevrolet, fell off at Martinsville, as Gilliland finished 36th — which is now the team’s standing in the owner points, albeit only three points behind the No. 98.
Nonetheless, Gilliland’s standings is impressive considering the team failed to qualify for the Daytona 500.
- Labonte, Smith To Be Inducted In Texas Motorsports Hall OF Fame; Hendrick, Edwards Also Being Honored...Bobby Labonte (No. 96 Ask.com Ford), a Corpus Christi, Tex. native and the 2000 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, will be inducted into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame on Wednesday night, in the Speedway Club’s Grand Ballroom at Texas Motor Speedway. He joins his brother Terry, the two-time (1984 and ‘86) NASCAR Sprint Cup champion who was inducted in 2003.
Speedway Motorsports Incorporated Chairman Bruton Smith will also be inducted.
Both inductees will be available to the media from 6-7 p.m. with the induction program starting at 7:30.
In addition, Texas Motor Speedway and Happy Hill Farm Academy will present awards to championship car owner Rick Hendrick, defending Samsung 500 and Dickies 500 winner Carl Edwards and reigning IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon.
Labonte and Smith become the 10th and 11th members of the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame. The duo joins previous inductees A.J. Foyt (2003), Johnny Rutherford (2003), Terry Labonte (2003), Lee Shepherd (2004), Kenny Bernstein (2005), Jim Hall (2005), Eddie Hill (2006), Mark Martin (2007) and Jim McElreath (2007).
The other special awards rundown:
Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports, will be recognized as this year’s Bruton Smith Legends Award winner. The honor is a lifetime achievement award given to a legendary figure in motorsports.
Edwards, who became the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver to sweep both races at Texas Motor Speedway last year (Samsung 500 and Dickies 500), has been named the Texas Motor Speedway Racer of the Year.
Dixon, will receive the Texas Motor Speedway Sportsmanship Award.
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