Matt Kenseth found his way back to the winners circle, after having to ask for directions last night, after a long dry spell.Ã‚Â Snapping his 76 start winless streak Kenseth radioed to crew chief Jimmy FennigÃ‚Â “Show me where to park this thing,” after taking the checkered flag with a lead of 8.315 seconds in Saturday night’s Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. “It’s been a while. I have lost a lot of close ones at this track. It feels good to be able to close it out.”Ã‚Â This win marks Kenseth’s 19th trip to Victory Lane in his career and his first at Texas.
Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle finished 3rd and 4th respectively keeping Jack Roush at the head of the field with 3 cars in the top 4. Kenseth led for 169 of 334 laps for the maximum amount of champion ship points when you count in all the bonus points moving him toÃ‚Â 9th in the overall standings. The 169 laps Kenseth led were 61 more than he led all last year. It was a successful weekend for owner Jack Roush, who walked away from Texas with a weekend sweep.
“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 from 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.”
“A couple of times, when we got behind a little bit, it took awhile to get to the front. We were short on fuel, but because of the tire situation, we got lucky. When we pitted, it forced the field to pit. That was the key in long runs.”
Kenseth passed Bowyer as Bowyer got sideways while trying to pass Brian Vickers lapped car on lap 249, which was all Kenseth needed to get out front and never look back.Ã‚Â Getting out front and running in clean air seemed to be the key for the night which had very few cautions overall.Ã‚Â The race ended with a 114 lap green flag run after the final ofÃ‚Â five cautions on lap 215 caused by the only violet wreck of the night.
“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 the 83. He gave me room. I just slid up and got into him.
“Man, I thought it was going to end our day completely.”
Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart gambled late in the race on fuel mileage which ended up costing them.
StewartÃ‚Â blew his chance at a win when he was caught speeding on the entrance to pit road and was handed a drive-through penalty.
“Sorry,” Stewart told his crew over the radio. “I knew I did it.”
As the final laps wound down Stewart ran out of gas leaving him finishing 112th and Kurt Busch finished 10th, after the pair of them had been running out front for most of the night.
‘Just a hard-fought battle all night,” said Busch. ”It’s tough. We want to compete for top fives and wins, and we’re only getting top 10s right now.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr climbs 2 positions to 6th in the standings, his highest position since 2010 after finishing second at the Daytona 500.
“I’m pretty satisfied. I would have liked to finish a couple of spots higher; maybe a fifth or so,” Earnhardt said.
“Still, a good car. Happy with the way we run.”
A three-car wreck brought out the night’s fifth caution on Lap 214. Martin Truex Jr. appeared to get nicked by Kevin Harvick, which caused his car to get loose and hit the wall. Mark Martin and Regan Smith had nowhere to go and got caught up in the melee.
“There was just a big pile-up in front of us,” Martin said. “I think (Truex) got put in the wall and a couple of others. It’s just racing.”
“I’m fine, everything is good. We were kind of having a tough night there, and it ended up short.”