When Jack Roush looks at the Sprint Cup schedule each year after it is released, there is no doubt that the first two races he looks for are the ones at Texas Motor Speedway. Every organization has a track or two where it has experienced a lot of success in the past, but for Roush’s Fenway-Roush Racing, it seems to own the mile-and-a-half Texas track anytime the schedule brings the series to town.
Greg Biffle’s win under the lights at Texas on Saturday cemented what already seems like a stranglehold that Roush has on the track’s victory lane. He entered the race as the points leader, but he had yet to post a win on the season and had seen his winless streak stretch to 49 races. All of that changed in what turned out to be the fastest race ever held at the track as he notched his 17th win of his career and the 127th win for Roush-Fenway. On his way to the win he set the new track record of 160.577 mph for the race, thanks in part to the fewest ever caution flags (two) and the fewest laps under caution (10).
Most of the race saw Hendrick Motorsports’ Jimmie Johnson in the lead and it actually looked like he was the car to beat as he was at the point for a total of 155 laps on the nigh. But as it turned out, Biffle was saving his car in order to pull off the move of the night. After backing off and saving both fuel and his tires, Biffle drove up on the rear bumper of Johnson and made a bold move to the inside for the lead with 30 laps remaining.
Once past Johnson, Biffle never looked back as he was able to quickly put some distance between him and the five-time series champion. The win was Roush’s ninth Texas victory; that gives him six more than any other owner.
Johnson’s runner-up spot was the second consecutive race that the HMS driver was in a position to give Rick Hendrick his 200th Cup victory. Two weeks ago at Martinsville, he and teammate Jeff Gordon started side by side with only a couple of laps left on a restart only to be caught up in a wreck. Last night it looked as if he had his Lowe’s Chevrolet on cruise control as the race was winding down, only to once again come up short.
Hendrick’s 200th win will eventually be put into the record books, and the final results from Texas show that it could come from any of his four drivers as each one of them finished in the top 10. Besides Johnson in the runner-up position, Gordon finish fourth, Kasey Kahne seventh and Dale Earnhardt Jr. came home 10th. The four HMS drivers are led in the points by Earnhardt Jr. in third and Johnson in eighth.
While Hendrick continues his search for win 200 and the first win of the season, Biffle’s win gave Roush his second win on the season as teammate Matt Kenseth won the rain delayed seasonopening Daytona 500. Biffle continues to lead the points and is followed by Kenseth giving Roush the two top spots with teammate Carl Edwards in 11th, four points from being in the top 10.
It could be shaping up as a battle between these two multi-car operations for the title, but it is a long way to November plus you have to like the starts that Stewart- Haas Racing’s Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman have posted. Stewart sits in seventh in the points with two wins while Newman is in ninth with one win.
Michael Waltrip Racing also joins Stewart-Haas and Roush in having two drivers in the top 10. MWR’s Martin Truex Jr. sat on the pole Saturday night finishing fourth and now is in fourth in the points. He is joined in the top 10 by teammate Clint Bowyer who sits in the 10th position. This organization has yet to really contend in the Chase, but it has to like its start to the season. It also has the ageless veteran Mark Martin in the organization and even though he has only started five of the seven races, he has posted strong enough finishes to be in 20th in the points. Not bad for a part-time driver!
Event: STP 400
Track: Kansas Speedway (1.5-
mile D-Shaped Oval, 15 degrees
of banking in the turns)
Date: April 22, 1 p.m.
Defending Champion: Brad Keselowski