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This Day in NASCAR History: April 15

April 15, 2012 – After coming so close in the past, Kasey Kahne had to wait eight years to return to Rockingham Speedway for an attempt to grab a win at the historic track. Kahne missed winning the final NASCAR Cup Series race at the track in 2004 by 0.010 seconds to Matt Kenseth, but was able to visit Victory Lane at “The Rock” after he took the checkered flag in the inaugural Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200. James Buescher finished second and Nelson Piquet Jr. led a race-high 107 laps from the pole, but a speeding penalty while exiting the pits on Lap 176 ultimately took him out of contention.

April 15, 2007 – Jeff Burton became the first repeat NASCAR Cup Series winner at Texas Motor Speedway after passing 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 Cup winners at Texas with his 19th (of 21) career win. Burton led one lap all day, the final one.

April 15, 2006 – Kevin Harvick won the NASCAR Xfinity (Busch) Series Pepsi 300 at Nashville Superspeedway. Harvick, who led 66 laps, held off teammate Clint Bowyer after the final caution flag when 2005 race winner Reed Sorenson hit the wall with five laps to go.

April 15, 2000 – Joe Nemechek won the NASCAR Xfinity (Busch) Series Touchstone Energy 300 at Talladega Superspeedway when he beat Buckshot Jones to the finish line. It was redemption for Nemechek, who was edged in a photo finish in the event in 1999 by Terry Labonte (.002 seconds). Nemechek took the lead away from Jones with seven laps to go and steadily pulled away, winning by 0.224 seconds, about three car lengths. Nemechek, who started 35th because rain washed out qualifying and the 43-car field was set by the rule book, became the first repeat winner in the race’s history. He also won it in 1998.

April 15, 1995 – Johnny Benson Jr. scored his third career NASCAR Xfinity (Busch) Series win in the Sundrop 400 at Hickory Motor Speedway. Benson inherited the leader Chad Little crashed after Kevin Lepage made contact with him in Turn 3 as he was trying to get his lap back. Benson led the final 12 laps and took the checkered flag ahead of Hermie Sadler. Little led a race-high 167 laps and wound up 23rd after the accident.

April 15, 1995 – Ken Schrader captured his only NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series win in the Scott Irvan Chevrolet/Craftsman 200 at Saugus Speedway. Schrader took the lead for the first and final time after a Lap 147 restart when leader Butch Miller got spun by Joe Ruttman, who was a lap down, in Turn 2. Mike Skinner led a race-high 115 laps from the pole and rebounded to finish fifth after he was spun by Jerry Glanville.

April 15, 1984 – Darrell Waltrip won the TranSouth 500 at Darlington Raceway after leading 251 laps. Waltrip won the race by 1.9 seconds over Terry Labonte as both drivers were the only on the lead lap. The race featured some multi-car crashes, including one on Lap 4. Pole winner Benny Parsons also hit the Turn 2 wall on the first lap.

April 15, 1973 – David Pearson won the Rebel 500 by 13 laps over Benny Parsons. Pearson led 246 laps from the pole. A majority of the field did not finish the race due to mechanical failures or accidents. Bobby Allison led 96 laps but finished third when he fell out of the race with an engine issue.

Other winners on this date: 1971 – Richard Petty (Smoky Mountain Raceway); Jim Paschal (Bowman Gray Stadium); 1962 – Richard Petty (North Wilkesboro Speedway); 1960 – Joe Weatherly (Hickory Speedway); 1951 – Fonty Flock (Occoneechee Speedway)

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