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SPEED READS

 

NASCAR Texas Two-Step Gets Fast Start

 

IRL IndyCar Series Next at Texas Motor Speedway

 

FORT WORTH, Texas (April 21, 2005) – Greg Biffle, despite being forced to his back-up car due to an accident in the final practice on Saturday, was clearly superior in Sunday’s Samsung/RadioShack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, but the maturation of the second groove on the 1.5-mile oval was clearly a prevailing factor of the type of racing that was lost in his dominance.

The ability to run a strong second groove was more evident in the NASCAR Busch Series O’Reilly 300, where records were established for most race leaders and most lead changes. There were 17 lead changes among 10 drivers, easily eclipsing the marks of 13 (2000) and eight (1997, 2000, ’01), respectively, as Kasey Kahne edged Biffle by .304 of a second.

“This race track is perfect,” O’Reilly 300 polesitter Shane Hmiel said. “They should build 30 of these because this (track) and Atlanta are the best race tracks on the circuit.”

Added Carl Edwards: “I can’t say enough about this race track. Texas Motor Speedway is a lot of fun. Running the high groove in (Turns) 3 and 4 was the highlight of my day and a blast.”

Even with Biffle’s dominant effort in which he led 219 of 334 laps and challenging aero package for all the Cup drivers, the Samsung/RadioShack 500 produced 25 lead changes among 14 drivers. Both fell just shy of the record 29 lead changes and 17 race leaders in 2000. There also was a great battle for second as Jamie McMurray held off hard-charging Jimmie Johnson by .317 of a second.

“I wasn’t as good as some guys up there that were doing a good job at the top (groove), but my car was just unbelievable on the bottom (groove) and I just couldn’t come off the bottom because it was so good down there,” said Biffle, who made his dramatic run through nearly the entire field after starting from the rear due to the switch to his back-up car. “It’s unbelievable. It’s an awesome place and I can’t wait to come back here in the Fall.”

Biffle was equally impressed with the track after his runner-up showing the previous day in the O’Reilly 300.

“This race track has definitely turned the corner.”

 

NO REPEAT

Biffle’s win in the Samsung/RadioShack 500 means Texas Motor Speedway has continued the streak of never having a repeat winner in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. Nine different drivers have been to Victory Lane in the history of the speedway. The winner’s circle that Biffle joined consists of Jeff Burton (1997), Mark Martin (1998), Terry Labonte (1999), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2000), Dale Jarrett (2001), Matt Kenseth (2002), Ryan Newman (2003) and Elliott Sadler (2004).

2-2-2-2

 

“MAJOR” COMPLIMENT

Sadler, the 2004 Samsung/RadioShack 500 winner, gave Texas Motor Speedway its due when asked if it should be considered a major stop on the circuit. "I think it is,” he said. “I think it's the third-highest paying race that we race at. I think it's the second-most in fans that show up for a race.  I mean, why wouldn't it be a major?  It's got all the elements of a major event and a lot of teams love coming here.  When you get to perform in front of over 200,000 people, I think that's considered to be a major part of what we do." 

 

TEXAS IS JACKED UP

NASCAR team owner Jack Roush loves it when the calendar shows the circuit is headed to Texas Motor Speedway. Roush teams have flourished at The Great American Speedway in the Nextel Cup Series, Busch Series, and Craftsman Truck Series. With all three series running twice at Texas in 2005, he couldn’t be any happier. Biffle’s win in the Samsung/RadioShack 500 gave Roush four Nextel Cup Series wins in nine years at Texas Motor Speedway – Burton (1997), Martin (1998), Kenseth (2002) were the others. Martin has also produced three Busch Series wins for Roush (1997, ‘99, 2000) and Biffle won in the truck series in 2000.

 

THE CHASE IS ON

When the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series returns to Texas Motor Speedway for the Dickies 500 on November 6, the heat will be on in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. Only two races follow the Dickies 500 to determine the season champion. The focus will be on the top-10 drivers who will be in the hunt for the title. Leaving Texas this week following the Samsung/RadioShack 500, Jimmie Johnson, with his third-place finish, has a 135-point lead over Biffle. The Top 10:

1. Jimmie Johnson ---

2. Greg Biffle -135

3. Rusty Wallace -237

4. Kurt Busch -245

5. Jeff Gordon -247

6. Sterling Marlin -259

7. Mark Martin -260

8.Elliott Sadler -263

9.Ryan Newman -269

10.Dale Jarrett -289

 

QUICK TURNAROUND

Less than 60 days following the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Samsung/RadioShack 500 race weekend, Texas Motor Speedway will host the next major race event at The Great American Speedway. The Indy Racing League IndyCar Series Bombardier Learjet 500k is Saturday night, June 11. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Chex 400k will be run on Friday night, June 10, and the IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series Texas 100 is slated for June 11 prior to the IndyCar Series event. Reigning IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan returns to Texas to defend his title in the Bombardier Learjet 500k. He edged Andretti-Green Racing teammate Dario Franchitti by just .257 of a second to win the 2004 race last June.

 

TEXAS JUNE INDYCAR SERIES RACE UNIQUE

The Bombardier Learjet 500k is “The Original Nighttime IndyCar Series race”. The June 11 event will take the green flag at 7:45 p.m. and finish under the lights. This is the only stop at Texas Motor Speedway in 2005 for the IRL and the Bombardier Learjet 500k is positioned immediately following the Indianapolis 500 on the schedule.

 

* * * *

LAST LAP….. The weekly Legends car series returns to action this Saturday at the 1/5-mile Lil’ Texas Motor Speedway. The series took last weekend off for the Samsung/RadioShack 500 race week activities…Individual tickets for the November 3-6 Dickies 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race weekend go on sale at 9 a.m.Friday, May 6 at the speedway ticket office, by calling the speedway ticket hotline at (817) 215-8500, online at www.texasmotorspeedway.com, and at participating Ticketmaster outlets.

 

For additional information, please contact the Texas Motor Speedway Media Relations department at (817) 215-8520 or pr@texasmotorspeedway.com.

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