Burton First Repeat Texas Winner
April 15, 2007 | 1:54 P.M. EST
Jeff Burton became the first repeat NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series winner at Texas Motor Speedway after passng his former teammate Matt Kenseth on the last lap to win the Samsung 500.
Burton, who won the inaugural race in 1997, ended the string of 12 straight different NEXTEL Cup winners at Texas with his 19th career win on Sunday.
Burton led one lap all day, the final one.
He passed Kenseth on the backstretch of the final circuit and pulled away to score his second victory for car owner Richard Childress and first since Dover last September, when he edged Kenseth.
"He held me off for 15 laps, that’s just how good he is," Burton said of Kenseth. "We’ve done a nice job to this point, but it’s a long season."
Burton's win moved him to within 8 of the series point leader Jeff Gordon.
"That felt really good - that was obviously a lot of fun," he said. "Matt is a hell of a driver. We were quite a bit faster than he was. He held that outside line and made it really tough. I'm really proud of our guys. I'd go to battle with anyone for these guys."
Kenseth, who won Saturday's Busch Series race, was forced to settle for another runnerup finish to Burton.
"It’s painful to lose on the last lap," Kenseth said. "We didn’t have a car good enough to win, but my guys gave me a chance."
Mark Martin returned to action after a two race layoff to finish third.
Polesitter Gordon led the most laps of the day - 173 of the 334 - but had to settle for fourth, keeping his Texas winless streak alive.
His teammate Jimmie Johnson, the Hendrick driver who won three of the last four races, was knocked out of contention on lap 240 when he ran into Tony Stewart's sliding car coming onto the frontstretch.
"Tony started spinning down the back straight away," Johnson said. "This was after they had been banging off of one another. They went down into the corner and the No. 42 got in to him. At this point I am just trying to stay out of the way and not get rear-ended. Unfortunately I ran right in to Tony.
Stewart, who won at Texas last fall, was sent into a spin when he was bumped while running side-by-side with rookie Juan Pablo Montoya.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. moved to the front and was in contention to win for the first time this year until he slowed to avoid another Stewart spin and was hit from behind by Kyle Busch.
"I drove down waiting on my spotter to tell me which way to go and I got hit from behind," Earnhardt, Jr. said. "I don't know what it looked like, if it looked like it was my fault, it was my fault. Maybe it was. I couldn't see. Apparently the guy behind me couldn't see either cause he ran into me. I was hoping everybody was getting slowed down but that wasn't the case."
Jamie McMurray edged teammate Greg Biffle to finish fifth. Montoya, Denny Hamlin and David Stremme completed the first ten finishers.
The NEXTEL Cup Series now heads to Phoenix International Raceway for next Saturday night's Subway Fresh Fit 500.