Jeff Burton repeats at Texas, wins first of season

I don’t know how many times I’ve said it before, but when it comes to NASCAR racing, it’s not who leads the first lap or who led the most laps, the only thing that really matters is who leads the last lap.

Thanks to Jeff Burton, who reinforced that theory Sunday, April 15, at the Texas Motor Speedway.

Burton led only one lap during the entire 335-lap event. It happened to be the most important one—the last one. He picked up his first victory of the 2007 season. Burton becomes the first driver to be a repeat winner in the track’s 10-year history. He was the winner 10 years ago in the inaugural race held at the 1.5-mile oval.

Nearly 200,000 fans were on hand to see Burton take over the lead from his former Roush Racing teammate, Matt Kenseth. Kenseth was able to hold off Burton for most of the final 10 laps of the race, but surrendered the lead at the most inopportune of times.

During the post-race interview, Kenseth admitted his car wasn’t as strong as Burton’s, and there wasn’t anything left he could do to prevent Burton from making the final pass as they raced out of turn two down the backstretch.

Kenseth was trying for the weekend sweep in Texas. He won the Busch race Saturday.

Mark Martin finished ahead of pole sitter Jeff Gordon for third place, and Jamie McMurray finished fifth.

In the season point standings, Gordon is clinging to an 8-point lead over Burton. Kenseth is in third, 125 points back. Last year’s champion, Jimmie Johnson, is 181 points behind in fourth place.

The series moves from Texas to Arizona for a night race Saturday, April 21, in the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at the Phoenix International Raceway. The race under the lights will be televised locally on FOX beginning at 8 p.m.

Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at

from the April 18-24, 2007, issue

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