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Matt Kenseth wins Sprint Cup race at Texas

FORT WORTH, Texas — Matt Kenseth had a dominating run at Texas Motor Speedway, breaking a 76-race NASCAR Sprint Cup winless streak Saturday night.

Kenseth led 169 of 334 laps at the 1½-mile, high-banked track for his 19th series victory and first since California in February 2009. Since his other win at Texas in 2002, Kenseth had four runnerup finishes, including last fall behind Denny Hamlin, and six other top-10 finishes at the track.

This time, the No. 17 Roush Fenway Ford was trailing late behind Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch when both were out of sequence on stops and trying to stretch fuel in hopes of catching a caution. Lucky for Kenseth, there were no yellow flags.

Kenseth went back ahead to stay with 13 laps left in the Samsung Mobile 500 when Busch made his final stop and gave up an 8.2-second lead. Kenseth finished 8.315 seconds ahead of Clint Bowyer.

"Over two years, I didn't know if I'd get a chance to get here again," Kenseth said in Victory Lane.

It was a weekend sweep at Texas for car owner Jack Roush after Carl Edwards won Friday's Nationwide race. Roush has 16 NASCAR wins in Texas — eight Cup, seven Nationwide and one in trucks.

All four of Roush's drivers finished in the top seven. Edwards finished third, 17 seconds back, with Greg Biffle fourth and pole-sitter David Ragan seventh.

Edwards, bothered during the race by an upset stomach, took the points lead by nine over Kyle Busch, who finished 16th.

Stewart had gone 58 laps since his last stop with 58 laps to go and had nearly a 17-second lead over Kenseth and more than 19 seconds over Bowyer when he made his stop.

Any chance for a victory ended when Stewart got penalized for speeding on pit road. He was 12th, the last driver on the lead lap, after coasting across the finish line, out of fuel.

Kenseth had led only five laps in the first six races this season but came to Texas off three consecutive top-six finishes. He also became the career laps leader at Texas, pushing his total to 669 in 18 starts.

The first night race of the season was also the first run under the lights at Texas, which hosted its 21st Sprint Cup race since the track opened in 1997.

Hamlin finished 15th and Kevin Harvick 20th, both being denied trifectas.

Harvick had won the previous two Cup races this season. Hamlin swept both races at Texas last season and was trying to become the first driver to win three consecutive Cup races at the track.

Both had problems early. Harvick had a penalty in the pits on his first stop and Hamlin with power problems in his car.

After a runnerup finish last week at Martinsville, Dale Earnhardt Jr. had another strong run, finishing ninth. But his winless streak hit 100.

GRAND-AM: Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas easily won the Porsche 250 in Birmingham, Ala., to extend their series winning streak to a record six races.

INDYCAR: Will Power is on the pole for today's Grand Prix of Alabama in Birmingham with a lap of 1 minute, 11.46 seconds. He sat on the pole last year at Barber Motorsports Park and last month in St. Petersburg, where he finished second. Power's Penske Racing teammate, Ryan Briscoe, starts second.

FORMULA ONE: Defending world champion Sebastian Vettel earned the pole for the Malaysian Grand Prix in Kuala Lumpur with a lap of 1:34.870, edging Lewis Hamilton of McLaren by a 10th of a second. The race was held overnight.

Sprint Cup points

Through seven of 36 races. The top 10 drivers plus two wild cards (based on wins) through 26 races make the Chase for the Championship.

Driver Pts. Back

Carl Edwards 256—

Kyle Busch 247 9

Matt Kenseth 243 13

Jimmie Johnson 243 13

Kurt Busch 240 16

Dale Earnhardt Jr. 235 21

Ryan Newman 233 23

Juan Montoya 232 24

Kevin Harvick 228 28

Tony Stewart 213 43

Note: Points unofficial; NASCAR posts official points Monday.

Up next

Aaron's 499, Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, 1 p.m. April 17

TV: Ch. 13

Gearhead stats

Winner's average speed: 149.231 mph

Time of race: 3 hours, 21 minutes, 26 seconds

Margin of victory: 8.315 seconds

Caution flags: Five for 24 laps

Lead changes: 31 among 13 drivers

Lap leaders: Ragan 1-10;

Ku. Busch 11-14; Keselowski 15-46; Ku. Busch 47; R.Gordon 48; Blaney 49; Kenseth 50-51; Biffle 52-58; Kenseth 59-94; Bowyer 95; Edwards 96; Earnhardt Jr. 97-98; Kenseth 99-114; Ragan 115;

Ku. Busch 116-123; Kenseth 124-162; Edwards 163-164; J. Gordon 165; Kenseth 166-199; Bowyer 200-204; Kenseth 205-213; Bowyer 214-248; Kenseth 249; Bowyer 250; Ambrose 251; Stewart 252-256; Ku. Busch 257-269; Stewart 270-276; Kenseth 277-294; Bowyer 295-296; Ku. Busch 297-320; Kenseth 321-334

Matt Kenseth wins Sprint Cup race at Texas 04/09/11 [Last modified: Sunday, April 10, 2011 12:00am]
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