Cut To The Chase: Texas

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RacingOne breaks down each of the 2006 "Chase for the NEXTEL Cup" competitor's performances at Texas Motor Speedway with comprehensive statistics and notes by driver.

1. Matt Kenseth
Points: 6008
Best Chase Track by Average: New Hampshire
Total Wins on Chase Tracks: 4
Average Texas Finish Rank Among Chase Drivers: Fourth

Matt Kenseth has finished third and second, respectively, in his last two starts at Texas Motor Speedway. The two finishes were his first top fives at the track since winning the 2002 event. Last year in this event, Kenseth dominated the 334-lap race by leading 149 laps from his best Texas qualifying effort of third. This weekend, Kenseth will look to stay on top of the point standings by scoring his third consecutive top five with chassis RK-267. This car previously finished third at Darlington and fourth at Atlanta last week.

Track
Starts
Poles
Wins
Avg. Start
Avg. Finish
Laps Led
% Completed
DNFs
Texas
8
0
1
20.1
12.1
313
98.1
1
Phoenix
8
0
1
21.0
20.8
60
82.2
3
Homestead
6
0
0
26.0
25.5
0
82.1
2
Totals
22
0
2
22.4
19.5
373
87.5
6


2. Jimmie Johnson
Points Behind: -26
Best Chase Track by Average: Charlotte
Total Wins on Chase Tracks: 14 (Including Martinsville 2006)
Average Texas Finish Rank Among Chase Drivers: Second

Jimmie Johnson 11th-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway in the spring broke a streak of five consecutive top 10s at the track. Johnson led two laps in this event last year to put him last among all "Chase" contenders that have led at least one lap at TMS. Johnson currently holds the longest streak of finishing on the lead lap at Texas by completing all 2,004 laps in his six starts. The Lowe's team will take two good cars to Texas this weekend. The primary car (chassis No. 48359) won at Indy in August, while the backup finished second at Lowe's Motor Speedway last month.

Track
Starts
Poles
Wins
Avg. Start
Avg. Finish
Laps Led
% Completed
DNFs
Texas
6
0
0
11.7
7.0
2
100.0
0
Phoenix
6
0
0
12.8
8.7
85
100.0
0
Homestead
5
0
0
25.4
15.6
34
89.3
1
Totals
17
0
0
16.6
10.4
121
96.4
1


3. Denny Hamlin
Points Behind: -65
Best Chase Track by Average: Texas
Total Wins on Chase Tracks: 0
Average Texas Finish Rank Among Chase Drivers: First

Denny Hamlin leads all drivers with a 5.5 average finish at Texas Motor Speedway. This weekend will mark his third career start at the 1.5-mile speedway. Last year in this event, Hamlin was officially named the driver of the No. 11 FedEx Chevrolet. After receiving the news he went out and scored his best finish of 2005 with a seventh-place effort. He followed that up by finishing fourth at TMS in April for one of his six top-five finishes of the season. This weekend the FedEx team will unload the same car (chassis No. 121) that most recently finished 28th at Charlotte after being involved in a lap one wreck.

Track
Starts
Poles
Wins
Avg. Start
Avg. Finish
Laps Led
% Completed
DNFs
Texas
2
0
0
11.0
5.5
41
100.0
0
Phoenix
2
1
0
3.5
23.5
23
96.3
0
Homestead
1
0
0
42.0
33.0
1
98.5
0
Totals
5
1
0
18.8
20.7
65
98.3
0


4. Jeff Burton
Points Behind: -84
Best Chase Track by Average: Phoenix
Total Wins on Chase Tracks: 11 (Including Dover 2006)
Average Texas Finish Rank Among Chase Drivers: Seventh

Jeff Burton won the inaugural event at Texas Motor Speedway in 1997. The win was his third top 10 in eight Texas starts with Roush Racing. This weekend will mark Burton's fourth start at TMS with Richard Childress Racing. In April, Burton captured his first top 10 at Texas with RCR by finish sixth. Burton, who has yet to lead a lap with RCR at TMS, has led 145 laps at the Fort Worth track, all coming early in the track's history.

Track
Starts
Poles
Wins
Avg. Start
Avg. Finish
Laps Led
% Completed
DNFs
Texas
11
0
1
27.2
17.5
145
96.1
1
Phoenix
14
0
2
23.5
11.6
215
99.6
0
Homestead
7
0
0
24.3
13.7
5
97.7
0
Totals
32
0
3
25.0
14.3
365
97.8
1


5. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Points Behind: -84
Best Chase Track by Average: Texas
Total Wins on Chase Tracks: 10
Average Texas Finish Rank Among Chase Drivers: Third

Texas Motor Speedway is the site of Dale Earnhardt Jr's first NEXTEL Cup Series victory. The triumph was one of six top 10s at the track. In his first two starts he combined to lead 213 of his 253 laps led at the track. Junior's last top 10 at TMS came in this event last year when he finished eighth. Earnhardt will look to improve upon his 12th-place finish in the spring by driving the same car (chassis No. 39) that led 95 laps last week at Atlanta on the way to a third-place finish. Considered one of the best in the Budweiser fleet, this car has finished in the top 10 seven consecutive times in 2006.

Track
Starts
Poles
Wins
Avg. Start
Avg. Finish
Laps Led
% Completed
DNFs
Texas
8
1
1
8.5
10.8
253
94.7
1
Phoenix
8
0
2
15.1
17.2
310
90.9
2
Homestead
6
0
0
20.8
19.2
46
99.7
0
Totals
22
1
3
14.8
15.7
609
95.1
3


6. Kevin Harvick
Points: -121
Best Chase Track by Average: Homestead
Total Wins on Chase Tracks: 3 (Including New Hampshire 2006)
Average Texas Finish Rank Among Chase Drivers: Fifth

Kevin Harvick broke a streak of five consecutive finishes outside the top 10 at Texas Motor Speedway by recording his best finish of fifth in April. Harvick is the only current active full-time Busch Series driver that has scored multiple wins at Texas. This weekend Harvick will be behind the wheel of a new car (chassis No. 179) that was tested at Homestead last month.

Track
Starts
Poles
Wins
Avg. Start
Avg. Finish
Laps Led
% Completed
DNFs
Texas
7
0
0
23.1
13.4
4
99.8
0
Phoenix
7
0
1
16.1
16.4
10
99.2
0
Homestead
5
0
0
15.6
9.4
59
100.0
0
Totals
19
0
1
18.3
13.1
73
99.7
0


7. Jeff Gordon
Points Behind: -146
Best Chase Track by Average: Kansas
Total Wins on Chase Tracks: 28
Average Texas Finish Rank Among Chase Drivers: Eighth

Texas Motor Speedway is the first of three consecutive tracks on the schedule that Jeff Gordon has yet to visit victory lane at. Gordon's closest run to victory at TMS came in 2004 when he led 46 laps en route to a third-place finish. In that event, Gordon lost the lead after he was forced to switch to a backup battery with 26 laps to go. Gordon's 17.5 average finish is the worst among the "Chase" contenders that have started every event at TMS. In this year's spring race, Gordon finished 22nd marking his fifth overall Texas finish of 20th or worse.

Track
Starts
Poles
Wins
Avg. Start
Avg. Finish
Laps Led
% Completed
DNFs
Texas
11
0
0
11.0
17.5
133
87.7
2
Phoenix
15
1
0
10.3
8.9
191
97.4
1
Homestead
7
0
0
15.4
9.6
46
99.8
0
Totals
33
1
0
12.2
12.0
370
95.0
3


8. Mark Martin
Points Behind: -201
Best Chase Track by Average: Phoenix
Total Wins on Chase Tracks: 17
Average Texas Finish Rank Among Chase Drivers: Sixth

Mark Martin's 13.5 finishing average leads all the "Chase" drivers that have competed in every event at Texas Motor Speedway. After winning the second event in 1998, Martin has gone on to capture five top 10s, including a runner-up finish in the inaugural fall race last season. This weekend he will make his last start at Texas with Roush Racing driving the same car (chassis RK-231) that was caught up in an accident in this year's All-Star race while leading.

Track
Starts
Poles
Wins
Avg. Start
Avg. Finish
Laps Led
% Completed
DNFs
Texas
11
0
1
12.0
13.5
169
92.5
1
Phoenix
20
0
1
11.4
9.4
582
97.5
1
Homestead
7
0
0
18.0
11.6
30
98.7
1
Totals
38
0
2
13.8
11.5
781
96.2
3


9. Kasey Kahne
Points Behind: -210
Best Chase Track by Average: Atlanta
Total Wins on Chase Tracks: 4 (Including Charlotte 2006)
Average Texas Finish Rank Among Chase Drivers: Ninth

In the Spring, Kasey Kahne won his first race at Texas Motor Speedway after leading 63 laps from the pole. With two additional starts inside the top five, Kahne's 5.5 average start leads all drivers with one or more starts. His 20.0 average finish is the worst among all the "Chase" contenders that have led laps at TMS. This weekend, Kahne will look to overcome his mental mistake made in Atlanta by climbing into the same car (chassis No. 131) that won three weeks ago in Charlotte.

Track
Starts
Poles
Wins
Avg. Start
Avg. Finish
Laps Led
% Completed
DNFs
Texas
4
1
1
5.5
20.0
211
81.4
2
Phoenix
4
0
0
15.5
13.8
0
99.9
0
Homestead
2
0
0
3.5
27.0
0
85.3
1
Totals
10
1
1
8.2
20.3
211
88.9
3


10. Kyle Busch
Points Behind: -249
Best Chase Track by Average: Dover
Total Wins on Chase Tracks: 2
Average Texas Finish Rank Among Chase Drivers: Tenth

Kyle Busch's 15th-place finish in the spring at Texas Motor Speedway is his best finish at the track. His 25.3 average finish is last among the "Chase" drivers, and he is the only one that has yet to lead a lap among the group.

Track
Starts
Poles
Wins
Avg. Start
Avg. Finish
Laps Led
% Completed
DNFs
Texas
3
0
0
28.3
25.3
0
99.1
0
Phoenix
3
1
1
14.3
15.0
78
94.3
0
Homestead
1
0
0
4.0
41.0
0
43.1
1
Totals
7
1
1
15.5
27.1
78
78.8
1

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