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TMS post-race report


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Jason Wise

Manager of Media Relations

Texas Motor Speedway

Office: (817) 215-8524

Cell: (817) 528-3769

jwise@texasmotorspeedway.com

 

FORT WORTH, Texas (April 18, 2007) – Closes finishes were a staple this past weekend as the Samsung 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race and O’Reilly 300 NASCAR Busch Series races both resulted in some of the closest finishes in Texas Motor Speedway history.

 

The 0.128-second margin of victory by Matt Kenseth over Denny Hamlin in the O’Reilly 300 was the closest finish ever for a Busch Series event at “The Great American Speedway!” The previous record was 0.178 of a second when Dale Earnhardt Jr. edged Elliott Sadler in 1998.

 

Kenseth also was involved in the dramatic duel with Jeff Burton in Sunday’s Samsung 500. Burton shot past Kenseth on the final lap and held him off by 0.410 of a second for the third-closest NEXTEL Cup finish in speedway history. The finish only trails Sadler’s 0.028 of a second win over Kasey Kahne in the 2004 Samsung 500 and Tony Stewart’s 0.272 margin of victory over Jimmie Johnson in last fall’s Dickies 500.

 

“I’ve seen races that are more exciting than others, but what can be boring about 43 cars going around a track at 200 mph?” Burton said afterward. “I think we saw a great race today at Texas Motor Speedway. There were two grooves so guys could find the line that worked best for them. I think the finish was pretty exciting there between Matt and me. I’ve never seen a boring race.”

 

 

HALL OF FAME COMPLIMENT

 

Hall of Fame Racing co-owner Troy Aikman, better known in these parts as a Hall of Fame quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, was on hand for the Samsung 500 race weekend and was impressed with the large crowd and the facility itself.

 

“We are proud of this track and the Metroplex area, the way they get out and support this race,” Aikman. “[Texas Motor Speedway President] Eddie Gossage and his staff do a tremendous job. I know the drivers like coming here. It is one of the best facilities on the circuit.”

 

 

CHA-CHING

 

Samsung 500 winner Jeff Burton and Richard Childress Racing took home the third-largest winner’s payout in the history of Texas Motor Speedway. Burton’s payday for the victory was $525,766 and ranks only behind Greg Biffle’s win in April of 2005 ($540,250) and Kasey Kahne in last season’s Samsung 500 ($530,164). The total posted awards for the Samsung 500 officially was $7,253,642, ranking it as the third-largest purse on the 36-race NEXTEL Cup Series schedule. Only the season-opening Daytona 500 ($18,391,423) and the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard ($9,236,620 in 2006) in July rank higher. The Samsung 500 had an increase of $166,466 from the 2006 purse total of $7,087,176, but the bump established a new record for a single-race purse in the history of Texas Motor Speedway.

 

 

DALE’S DIP RESOLVED

 

Texas Motor Speedway’s action to alleviate “Dale’s Dip” between Turns 1 and 2 with a delicate construction process in January appeared to be a success judging from drivers’ comments throughout the weekend. One driver who was particularly pleased with the effort was 2003 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Matt Kenseth.

 

“They did a great job fixing it,” Kenseth said. “I don’t know how the heck they did it – I don’t understand all that – but they did a great job fixing it and that made a big difference for side-by-side racing. It felt like both lanes were about the same speed down there, and depending how your car was set up you could run the same or actually a little quicker. So I think it was a great improvement. I think it helped make for more passing and more side-by-side racing. It made for a much more competitive race.”

 

The process, known as “Concrete Lifting By Structure Urethane,” in essence “pumped” up the surface below the track and ultimately raised targeted areas in the affected 200-foot stretch over the South Tunnel that is situated in the middle of the two turns.

 

Dale Earnhardt Jr., whose complaints about the dip led to the speedway’s swift action and the nickname of the problem area, had an easier way to describe the process.

 

“Sort of like … implants for a track,” he cracked to reporters.

 

 

MILITARY TRIBUTE PAYS OFF

 

NEXTEL Cup Series driver Tony Raines, driver of the No. 96 DLP Chevrolet for Hall of Fame Racing, wore a special tribute helmet for the Samsung 500. Raines’ helmet featured a military tribute design created by renowned sports artist David Arrigo, who has produced pieces for the NFL, NHL, NBA and Major League Baseball. The helmet Raines wore was Arrigo’s first helmet design for a NASCAR driver and featured a red, white and blue, stars and stripes background. The helmet was highlighted by two F-16 fighter jets on one side, two military helicopters on the other and three saluting soldiers on the back.

 

The helmet, which was signed by Raines and Arrigo as well as Hall of Fame Racing co-owners Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman, was auctioned off last Saturday evening at the Speedway Children’s Charities auction held at Texas Motor Speedway. The helmet sold for $7,600.

 

“David Arrigo did an incredible job with the military tribute helmet,” Raines said. “I know I was impressed and so was everyone with DLP and Hall of Fame Racing. I don’t think any of us really knew what the helmet was going to go for at the Speedway Children’s Charities auction so we were really excited that $7,600 was raised. It brought me some luck on Sunday too, since we had our best finish of the season (13th). I’m sure we’d be more than happy to do something like this again with David.”

 

 

Last Lap. … Jeff Burton became just the second driver to win a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway from the front row. Kasey Kahne became the first when he won last year’s Samsung 500 from the pole. … Samsung and O’Reilly both announced title sponsor extensions over the race weekend. Samsung Telecommunications America, LLC signed a two-year contract extension with Texas Motor Speedway to continue to serve as the title sponsor for the annual spring NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at TMS. The premier event will continue to be known as the Samsung 500 into the extension years of 2008 and 2009. … O’Reilly Auto Parts Stores signed a four-year contract extension with Texas Motor Speedway to continue to serve as title sponsor of both annual NASCAR Busch Series races and as the speedway’s “Official Auto Parts Store.” The auto parts giant maintains its title sponsorship of the O’Reilly 300 held during the spring NASCAR weekend and the O’Reilly Challenge held during the fall weekend. The extension will run from 2009 through 2012. … MercyMe, the contemporary Christian rock band that performed the National Anthem prior to the Samsung 500, as well as delivered a 15-minute acoustic set during pre-race activities, was in awe of the crowd in attendance at Texas Motor Speedway. “This is absolutely amazing at how many people are here today,” said lead singer Bart Millard. “We’ve sung ‘God Bless America’ at Bristol Motor Speedway before, but this is our first time to perform at Texas Motor Speedway in front of a crowd this big. Our keyboard player Jim Bryson is a huge NASCAR fan and he’s gotten the rest of us following the sport too. We’d like to make this an annual tradition at Texas Motor Speedway.”

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