After the first off-week of the season over Easter, NASCAR was back on track this weekend. Texas Motor Speedway hosted its first Nationwide and Sprint Cup races of the season, while the Camping World Trucks were at Rockingham Speedway for the first time in eight years.
In Nationwide on Friday, it was Roush Fenway’s Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. who took the checkered flag. The victory was his second of the season after winning at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March. With a restart at 6 laps to go, he pulled past Cup regulars Paul Menard and Denny Hamlin to win the race with a 1.4 second lead. Menard, the pole sitter, led a race-high 100 laps and finished second.
Danica Patrick’s season-best 8th place finish vaulted her 6 places to 11th in the Nationwide points standings and Stenhouse is now in second, only 4 points behind leader Elliot Sadler.
Saturday brought another Roush Fenway win in Texas courtesy of points leader Greg Biffle. The Sprint Cup Samsung Mobile 500 was the first race under the lights this season and came with extremely windy conditions. Biffle outlasted the wind for the win while only 11 other cars finished on the lead lap.
All three Roush Fenway cars finished in the Top 10 with Matt Kenseth in 5th and Carl Edwards in 8th. The victory strengthened Biffle’s lead in the Sprint Cup Standings to 19 points over teammate Kenseth.
On Sunday, engines were alive once again at “The Rock.” In 2004, Matt Kenseth took the last checkered flag at Rockingham Speedway in its final Cup race, but Kasey Kahne occupied victory lane this year in a Camping World Truck. He came from behind after starting the back of the pack due to missing qualifying on Saturday while he was driving in the race at Texas. Kahne took over the lead with 46 laps to go and led the rest of the way.
The race at Rockingham was made possible after Speedway owner Andy Hillenburg purchased the track at auction and was determined to bring NASCAR back. Sunday’s race was near capacity, and Hillenburg says he hopes to bring Nationwide to The Rock next.