Burton Passes Kenseth on Last Lap to Claim Texas Win

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Finally, a Texas two-step.

Jeff Burton passed Matt Kenseth on the final lap Sunday to become the first repeat winner at Texas, winning 10 years after he won the inaugural race.

Burton never led until he overtook Kenseth on the backstretch coming out of Turn 2 after more than 10 laps of trying to get past him. It was Burton's 19th career victory.

That denied Kenseth, who won the Busch race Saturday, a weekend sweep. It also ended a four-race winning streak by Hendrick Motorsports.

There had been 11 different winners in the 11 races since Burton won the first race at the 11/2-mile, high-banked Texas track.

Jeff Gordon led 173 of 334 laps and finished fourth, the fifth top-five finish in the seven races this season for the Hendrick driver. But he is 0-for-13 at Texas, joining Phoenix and Homestead as the only active tracks where the four-time Nextel Cup champion hasn't won.

Kenseth and Mark Martin, who finished third after sitting out two races, are former Texas winners.

Burton won with an average speed of 143.359 mph and was the last of nine leaders. Gordon, the points leader who started on the pole after qualifying was canceled because of storms, led four times and Dale Earnhart Jr. had three leads for 96 laps.

Jimmie Johnson, the Hendrick driver who won three of the last four races, was knocked out of contention on lap 240 when he ran into Tony Stewart's sliding car coming onto the frontstretch. Johnson finished 38th.

Stewart, who won at Texas last fall, was sent into a spin when he was bumped while running side-by-side with rookie Juan Pablo Montoya.

When making a run on Busch only 13 laps later trying to get back on the lead lap, Stewart last control. Earnhardt slowed down to try to avoid Stewart but was rammed hard from behind by Kyle Busch, who had the other win in Hendrick's streak.

Texas had gone longer than any other track without a repeat winner. When Richmond opened in 1953, there were eight races before inaugural winner Lee Petty won again in 1960.

Jamie McMurray finished, followed Greg Biffle, Martin Truex Jr., Montoya, Denny Hamlin and David Stremme.

Earnhardt was trying to repeat at Texas, where he got his first Cup victory seven years ago, a year after his first Busch victory came at the track. He has gone 33 races since winning at Richmond last May.

Gordon ran in front for the most of the first half of the race before Earnhardt passed him on lap 154, pulling his No. 8 Chevrolet under Gordon entering the backstretch.

Earnhardt still was in front of Gordon with 100 laps to go, but everything started to change after Johnson bashed up his front right end when he ran into Stewart.

During the pit stop on that caution, Gordon dropped six spots to eighth after one of his tire changers had problems.

Kurt Busch got past Earnhardt on lap 248 and was in the lead when he pitted under green. Right after Busch got back on the track on lap 294, the seventh caution flag came out and his chance at winning was gone.

That put Gordon back in front, and he stayed there until Kenseth passed him with 17 laps to go. Lap after lap, Burton tried to catch up, and finally did -- just in time.

"We were faster, but he held me off for 15 laps," Burton said of his former teammate.

Gordon has gone 25 races since his last victory. His 75 victories are one short of the late Dale Earnhardt for sixth place on NASCAR's career list.

There was a first-lap crash at Texas for the first time since 1997, when there was a 13-car accident on the first turn of the first lap on the then-new track.

This time, rookie David Ragan slid up into J.J. Yeley coming out of Turn 4. Casey Mears, the other Hendrick driver, then made contract with Ricky Rudd, who wound up in the infield rolled over the top of Ragan's car.


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