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Last Updated Sunday, Apr 24, 2005 2:18 am, EDT

Race Capsule

Texas Motor Speedway
  • What:

    Race 9 of 37 on XFINITY circuit

  • Where:

    Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, TX

  • When:

    April 16, 2005 2:05 pm EDT

  • Laps:

    200

  • Track Length:

    1.5 miles

  • Race Length:

    300.00 miles

  • Purse:

    $1,396,315

Drivers to Watch

Carl Edwards In his first full season on the circuit, secured the eighth spot in the standings entering the "Chase" despite a 21st last week in Richmond; was his second result of 20th or worse in the last three events and fifth in the last 11; since claiming his second checkered flag of the season at Pocono Raceway on June 12, has managed just four top-10s - all top-fives - in 12 events; has a chance to win titles in both the Nextel Cup and Busch Series, in which he is fourth in the standings; ran 20th in this race last year and 12th here in July: "I've learned a lot about New Hampshire over the last couple of races. It's flat and fast, and I think I'm improving with every lap I run there."
Mark Martin Four-time series runner-up is sixth in the standings in what was supposed to be his final season; the 46-year-old has agreed to drive the No. 6 Roush Racing Ford Fusion next season before Jamie McMurray takes over in 2007; has run 11th or worse in the last four races after matching a season high with three straight top-10s from July 24-August 14; is seeking his first victory since June 6, 2004 at Dover; NHIS represents one of seven active tracks on which he has yet to win; posted 11 top-10s in the first 14 events here but has run 13th or worse in each of the last seven, including a 15th in July; hoping for better results here Sunday: "We haven't run very good there in a while but we tested there a few weeks ago and we are taking a different car, so we really hope to see a lot of improvement and get off to a good start in the 'Chase.'"
Tony Stewart The 2002 series champion is NASCAR's hottest driver over the last three months and enters the "Chase" atop the standings; is riding a string of 12 consecutive top-10 finishes, including each of his five checkered flags this season; among those victories was a dominating triumph here on July 17, when he led 232 of 300 laps; leads the circuit with 12 top-fives and 18 top-10s and needs just one more victory to match his career high set in 2000; like Mayfield, was involved in a crash caused by Robby Gordon on lap 84 of this event last year and finished 39th to dampen his championship hopes; seeking more consistency entering this year's championship run: "Every year if you look back in the history of NASCAR, there's never been two years that have been identical. Every year has kind of been like a snowflake - they're all different. You've just got to take the circumstances you're dealt each week and work to consistently finish in the top five. If you can do that every week, you'll put yourself into a position to win the championship."
Leads the pack of five Roush Racing drivers into the "Chase" second in the standings behind Tony Stewart; ran third in last week's Chevy Rock & Roll 400 behind fellow Roush drivers Kurt Busch and Matt Kenseth, marking the the first time a team claimed the top three spots since Jeff Gordon, Terry Labonte and Ricky Craven ran 1-2-3 for Hendrick Motorsports in the 1997 Daytona 500; enters the 10-race run for the championship on a roll of four straight finishes of sixth or better, including top-three results in the last three events; tied with Stewart for the circuit lead with five victories and is second with 10 top-fives, including a fifth here in July; has not led a lap in six starts here, posting a 24.7 average finish.
Needed only to finish 39th last week in Richmond to clinch a spot in the "Chase" but ran sixth for his fifth top-10 in the last 11 races; had managed only two top-10s through the first 15 events; has avoided disaster, running 20th or worse only three times in the last 23 races; won at Michigan on August 21 for his first victory since Richmond last September, when he vaulted from 14th to ninth in the standings to make the inaugural "Chase"; was involved in a crash instigated by Robby Gordon in this event last year, yielding a 35th-place finish; ran 19th here in July and has managed only two top-10s in 19 career starts at the "Magic Mile."
Matt Kenseth The 2003 series champion orchestrated an amazing turnaround to claim the ninth spot in the standings entering the "Chase"; has recorded three top-threes and a seventh over the last four races to vault seven spots in the standings; has posted 10 top-10s over the last 14 events after managing just one through the first 12; ran second to teammate Busch last week in Richmond to lock up his second straight berth in the "Chase"; also was runner-up to Busch in this event last year, marking his best finish in 11 starts on this track; ran 10th here in July to mark his sixth straight top-10 here; struggled with only one top-10 in last year's "Chase" but is excited about a better showing this time: "This team really has a tremendous amount of momentum right now. We reached our goal of making it into the 'Chase' and now our focus will be working towards another championship. I feel like the way our cars are running right now and the way this team is working together, we have a legitimate shot at the championship."