Here's a look at the winners and losers from the recently completed NASCAR weekend at Texas Motor Speedway:
Starting 34th and getting to the front is always a tricky proposition. That task is further compounded in a race that features just two cautions. Yet Jeff Gordon did exactly that, driving through the field to finish fourth. And if there had been a yellow late, I think the 24 would have had something for leaders.
A lot has been said and written about Kasey Kahne's awful start to the 2012 season, so let's give him a nod for recording his first top-10 (a seventh-place finish) of the season. On top of that, after 500 miles of racing at Texas, Kahne flew back to North Carolina to take part in Sunday's Truck Series race at Rockingham, which he won after starting in the back. All the more astonishing, it was his fourth win in five Truck Series starts.
Roush Fenway Racing
It's hard to quibble with the weekend Roush Fenway Racing just experienced. On Friday, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. beat a field filled with Cup regulars to win his second Nationwide Series race of the year. This was followed by Greg Biffle scoring the organization's ninth Sprint Cup victory on the 1.5-mile track; in addition, Matt Kenseth (fifth) and Carl Edwards (eighth) left the Lone Star State with top-10 finishes.
I said in my viewer's guide that barring any mechanical troubles. Brad Keselowski should be expected to run and finish somewhere in the top 10. Early on, that appeared to be the case, but for the second time this season a faulty fuel pump derailed a potential good finish. More jarring is the continued inconsistency shown by No. 2 team, as its 38th-place finish Saturday was the third time this year Keselowski posted a finish in the 30s.
It's a good thing Keselowski has that Bristol win to fall back on, because it's looking like the Penske Racing driver might once again need a wild card spot to make the Chase.
After a strong start to the year which included three wins in six races, Stewart-Haas Racing was due for a clunker of a weekend. Lo and behold, this was precisely what happened in Texas, as Tony Stewart wrecked in practice Friday, was forced to go to a backup, and finished two laps down in 24th.
The team's other car, driven by Ryan Newman – who won two weeks ago at Martinsville – was also virtually nonexistent Saturday night, coming home a very pedestrian-like 21st in the final running order.
Clint Bowyer's two Michael Waltrip Racing teammates finished third (Mark Martin) and sixth (Martin Truex Jr.), respectively. However, the speed they showed was missing in the No. 15 car, as Bowyer struggled with the handle of his Toyota and finished a rather ho-hum 17th.