Burton’s late charge makes for the first repeat Texas winner

from The Crossville Chronicle – Crossville, TN April 16,2007
By Joe Dunn / joe@onpitroad.net

Jeff Burton Led one lap in the Samsung 500 Sunday, but it was the money lap, that made him the first repeat winner in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series at Texas Motor Speedway.

The Hendrick Motorsports dominance in 2007 took a big hit at the track that has not been their best. Jeff Gordon, who lead 172 laps was the top finisher for Hendrick placing 4th and holding the points lead by a mere 8 over Jeff Burton. Jimmie Johnson’s 38th place finish dropped him to fourth, 181 points out.

Burton battled the last 15 laps, fender to fender with his former teammate Matt Kenseth, while his wife Kim was seen biting her fingernails atop the pit box as she followed the on track action. On that next to last lap, Burton finally managed to pull off the pass to take the white flag and eventually the win.

After two weeks off from the series, Mark Martin returned to finish 3rd. When asked after the race if he was sorry he took the time off or may change his future plans due to the success he is having this year he replied, “I fought that battle too many times before and now I am just having the best time of all.”

The crowd of some 200,000 people spent most of the day on their feet as some of the best racing of the season took place. With only 3 laps in David Ragan got loose and hit JJ Yeley in turn 4 which in turn collected Ricky Rudd, Casey Mears, Johnny Sauter and Ryan Newman, none of which would be a factor the rest of the day.

Juan Pablo Montoya got the fans attention again as he overdrove his car into turn 4 on lap 240 trying to pass Tony Stewart. Montoya went low but could not hold the car down, sliding up into Stewart who spun low and collected Jimmie Johnson in the fray. Montoya would later claim that Stewart squeezed him down, but the replays showed otherwise.

In another incident on lap 253 Stewart spun out by himself in turn 4, and as Dale Earnhardt Jr. slowed to avoid the 20 car he took a hard hit from behind by Kyle Busch. Both cars spun into the infield with extensive damage. Busch headed to the garage, but the Budweiser crew managed to get the 8 car back out until lap 293 when the engine let go. Kyle Busch’s 5 car would return late in the race to run some more laps, but Kyle had already left the track. It was learned that Dale Earnhardt Jr. was actually behind the wheel of the 5 car. Neither driver could be located after the race for comment.