The Easter break allowed for a moment of reflection on the first six weeks of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. During that break we learned that Stewart-Haas will not be suffering a hangover from the 2011 championship season with defending champion Tony Stewart winning two races (fifth in standings) and Ryan Newman winning last time out at Martinsville.
It's still early but they've thrown the early gauntlet on the Sprint Cup garage during the season's first leg.
Most would have expected Hendrick Motorsports to contend against Stewart-Haas - after all, Hendrick supplies engines and support to Stewart, Newman and Danica Patrick. Alas, Hendrick has been shut out. Jeff Gordon sits 21st in points and Kasey Kahne is 31st.
That's opened the door for new-look Michael Waltrip Racing (Toyota) to sneak in take some of the early-season headlines away from Hendrick and Chevrolet. That's included a Phoenix pole by Mark Martin, who would have been a championship contender if not for scaling back from a full season to 25 races in 2012.
Clint Bowyer has shown renewed vigor with MWR and new crew chief Brian Pattie, brought over from Ganassi Racing. But it's actually the longest-tenured MWR driver who made early headlines this weekend, when Martin Truex Jr. won the pole for Saturday's Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Truex captured the pole with a 28.366 at 190.369 mph. This put him just ahead of the most-decorated driver in Texas history - Matt Kenseth, who qualified on the outside pole with a 28.399 and 190.148 mph.
Just how good has Kenseth been at Texas?
Kenseth has two wins at the Fort Worth speedway, and averages an 8.74 finish. More importantly, they've said that they expect to win this weekend. If not Kenseth, expect to see a Roushketeer fighting for the lead in the closing laps.
That includes points leader Greg Biffle, who's starting third and Carl Edwards, who will start in 20th. It's a just a Roush kind of day. But will it be a Roush kind of night?
Live television coverage will start on FOX at 7 p.m. EST and will feature the voices of Mike Joy, Larry McReynolds and Darrell Waltrip. For those who are away from a television set or prefer the radio broadcast, www.goprn.com/ will stream the race live on any supported computer or mobile device.
A complete starting lineup can be found after the jump!
|1||1||56||Martin Truex, Jr.||NAPA Auto Parts Toyota||28.366||190.369|
|2||17||Matt Kenseth||Best Buy Ford||28.399||190.148|
|2||3||16||Greg Biffle||Filtrete Ford||28.403||190.121|
|4||55||Mark Martin||Aaron's Best of the Best Toyota||28.418||190.020|
|3||5||5||Kasey Kahne||Farmers Insurance Chevrolet||28.476||189.633|
|6||39||Ryan Newman||US ARMY Chevrolet||28.497||189.494|
|4||7||9||Marcos Ambrose||Stanley Ford||28.501||189.467|
|8||2||Brad Keselowski||Miller Lite Dodge||28.514||189.381|
|5||9||1||Jamie McMurray||Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet||28.527||189.294|
|10||48||Jimmie Johnson||Lowe's/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet||28.529||189.281|
|6||11||27||Paul Menard||Quaker State/Menards Chevrolet||28.559||189.082|
|12||22||AJ Allmendinger||Shell Pennzoil Dodge||28.568||189.023|
|7||13||11||Denny Hamlin||FedEx Office/March of Dimes Toyota||28.589||188.884|
|14||20||Joey Logano||Dollar General Toyota||28.601||188.805|
|8||15||29||Kevin Harvick||Budweiser Chevrolet||28.624||188.653|
|16||88||Dale Earnhardt, Jr.||Diet Mountain Dew/National Guard Chevrolet||28.656||188.442|
|9||17||18||Kyle Busch||Interstate Batteries Toyota||28.678||188.298|
|18||15||Clint Bowyer||5-hour Energy Toyota||28.679||188.291|
|10||19||21||Trevor Bayne(i)||Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford||28.695||188.186|
|20||99||Carl Edwards||Fastenal Ford||28.730||187.957|
|11||21||34||David Ragan||Scorpion Truck Bed Liners Ford||28.743||187.872|
|22||13||Casey Mears||GEICO Ford||28.752||187.813|
|12||23||43||Aric Almirola||Smithfield Ford||28.762||187.748|
|24||31||Jeff Burton||Caterpillar Chevrolet||28.773||187.676|
|13||25||42||Juan Pablo Montoya||Target Chevrolet||28.794||187.539|
|26||78||Regan Smith||Furniture Row/Farm American Chevrolet||28.832||187.292|
|14||27||51||Kurt Busch||Phoenix Construction Services, Inc. Chevrolet||28.849||187.182|
|28||83||Landon Cassill||Burger King/Dr. Pepper Toyota||28.860||187.110|
|15||29||14||Tony Stewart||Mobil1AdvancedFuelEcnmy/OfficeDpt Chev||28.878||186.994|
|30||47||Bobby Labonte||Bush's Beans/Tom Thumb Toyota||28.880||186.981|
|16||31||10||David Reutimann||Accell Construction Chevrolet||28.929||186.664|
|32||26||Josh Wise #||Morristown Driver's Service Ford||28.976||186.361|
|17||33||98||Michael McDowell||Curb Records Ford||29.044||185.925|
|34||24||Jeff Gordon||DuPont Chevrolet||29.094||185.605|
|18||35||38||David Gilliland||Mod Space Ford||29.094||185.605|
|36||49||JJ Yeley||JPO Absorbents Toyota||29.104||185.542|
|19||37||93||Travis Kvapil||Dr. Pepper Toyota||29.159||185.192|
|38||95||Scott Speed||TWD Drywall Ford||29.170||185.122|
|20||39||32||Reed Sorenson(i)||JaniKing Ford||29.217||184.824|
|40||23||Scott Riggs||North TX Pipe/Embassy Suites Chevrolet||29.229||184.748|
|21||41||36||Dave Blaney||JimmieJohnsonsAnythingWithAnEngine Chev||Owner Points|
|42||33||Tony Raines||Precon Marine Chevrolet||Owner Points|
|22||43||19||Mike Bliss(i)||Humphrey Smith Racing, LLC Toyota||29.232||184.729|