TMS ONCE AGAIN PLAYS PIVOTAL ROLE IN 2007 MOTORSPORTS SEASON
* Dickies 500 Winner Jimmie Johnson Scores 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Championship
* Kevin Harvick Sets New Record in O'Reilly Challenge
* Bombardier Learjet 550k Produces Another Close Finish
* Jeff Burton Becomes First Repeat Cup Winner At TMS
* Todd Bodine Continues Winning Ways in Sam's Town 400
FORT WORTH, Texas (November 30, 2007) --- Texas Motor Speedway continued its tradition of playing a pivotal role in motorsports by capping off a successful 2007 season that featured new records being written in the history books, as well as several new first-time winners.
When Jimmie Johnson is honored tonight in New York City as the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion, he can look back to his victory at Texas Motor Speedway in the Dickies 500 as the launching pad to his championship. Johnson's victory in the November Cup race at "The Great American Speedway!" vaulted him into the point lead with two races remaining in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. Johnson headed into the Dickies 500 trailing Jeff Gordon by nine points and left Texas as the top title contender. Johnson also cemented his 2006 NEXTEL Cup championship after grabbing the point lead away from Matt Kenseth following the 2006 Dickies 500 en route to claiming the championship title.
Bombardier Learjet 550k winner Sam Hornish Jr. put an exclamation point on his IndyCar Series career at TMS by claiming the victory over Tony Kanaan by 0.0786 of a second. Hornish Jr.'s next visit to Texas Motor Speedway will be in a stock car as he recently signed to drive the No. 77 entry for Penske Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2008.
"I'm very happy to say that the 2007 season at Texas Motor Speedway proved to be another very competitive year of racing action for our fans," Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage said. "Each race weekend featured memorable moments and close side-by-side finishes that played an important part in the final outcome to the 2007 motorsports season. We're already gearing up for the 2008 season that promises to be even more exciting."
The following provides a race-by-race recap from events at "The Great American Speedway!" in 2007.
Samsung 500 NASCAR Double-Header Weekend
O'Reilly 300 NASCAR Busch Series Race April 14
The O'Reilly 300 produced the closest finish ever for a NASCAR Busch Series event at "The Great American Speedway!" as Matt Kenseth crossed the finish line 0.128 of a second ahead of Denny Hamlin to claim his second Busch Series victory at TMS. The previous record was 0.178 of a second when Dale Earnhardt Jr. edged Elliott Sadler in 1998.
Kenseth, who started 10th in the No.17 Arby's Ford and only led nine laps en route to the victory, was engaged in a heated battle with Hamlin over the closing laps of the O'Reilly 300. Kyle Busch led the most laps (113) but had to settle for seventh-place honors. Carl Edwards, Casey Mears and David Ragan completed the top five, respectively. NEXTEL Cup Series regulars made up the top 12 finishing positions in the O'Reilly 300 with Jason Leffler (13th) placing the best among full-time Busch Series competitors.
Samsung 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Race April 15
New records were written in the history books at the conclusion of the Samsung 500 as Jeff Burton became the first repeat NASCAR NEXTEL Cup winner. Burton, who claimed the inaugural Cup victory at TMS back in 1997, led only one time for one lap, but it was the lap that counted. Burton also added his name to the history books at TMS in the category of fewest laps led by a race winner (one).
Burton shot past O'Reilly 300 winner Matt Kenseth on the final lap and held him off by 0.410 of a second for the third-closest NEXTEL Cup finish in speedway history. The finish only trails Elliott Sadler's 0.028 of a second win over Kasey Kahne in the 2004 Samsung 500 and Tony Stewart's 0.272 margin of victory over Jimmie Johnson in the 2006 Dickies 500.
"I've seen races that are more exciting than others, but what can be boring about 43 cars around a track at 200 miles per hour?" Burton said. "I think we saw a great race between Matt (Kenseth) and me at Texas Motor Speedway. There were two grooves so guys could find the line that worked best for them. Texas Motor Speedway always manages to produce some great finishes."
Four-time Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon led the most laps (173) in the Samsung 500 but crossed the finish line in fourth place. Mark Martin finished third and tied Gordon for most top fives (five) in Cup action at "The Great American Speedway!" Jamie McMurray finished fifth, his second top-five Cup finish at TMS.
Bombardier Learjet 550k Race Weekend
Sam's Town 400 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Race June 8
Todd Bodine's second consecutive victory in the Sam's Town 400 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race allowed him to tie Brendan Gaughan for most Craftsman Truck Series victories at Texas Motor Speedway with four.
Bodine's victory over Mike Skinner in the Sam's Town 400 virtually mirrored the 2006 race, with Bodine beating Skinner to the checkered flag by 0.188 of a second. Bodine and Skinner battled to the line in the 2006 event with Bodine crossing the finish line 0.116 of a second ahead of Skinner the closest winning margin in Craftsman Truck Series history at TMS. The 2007 edition of the Sam's Town 400 ranks as the second closest finish in TMS history.
"It's pretty incredible to win my fourth Truck Series race here," said Bodine. "I love racing at Texas. This place always produces great, tight racing action. It's cool to get another cowboy hat from TMS."
The attrition rate was high in the Sam's Town 400 with only six drivers finishing on the lead lap, tying the record for fewest finishers on the lead lap.
Rick Crawford, Ron Hornaday Jr. and David Starr rounded out the top five finishers in the Sam's Town 400, respectively.
Bombardier Learjet 550k IRL IndyCar Series Race June 9
Texas Motor Speedway continued its streak of producing close IndyCar Series finishes with Sam Hornish Jr. nipping Tony Kanaan by 0.0786 of a second to score the victory in the Bombardier Learjet 550k. Hornish Jr.'s victory over Kanaan was the sixth-closest IndyCar Series finish at "The Great American Speedway!"
New records were also written during the Bombardier Learjet 550k as Hornish Jr. became the first three-time IndyCar Series winner at Texas Motor Speedway and scored his 19th IndyCar Series victory, the most of any driver. He also jumped to the lead in the most laps led by an IndyCar Series winner at TMS by leading a record 159 laps in the 228-lap race.
The Bombardier Learjet 550k also marked the first time in TMS history that three female drivers competed in an IndyCar Series event. Danica Patrick paced the way with a third-place finish while Sarah Fisher finished 10th and Milka Duno earned 11th-place honors.
2007 IndyCar Series champion and 2007 Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti scored fourth-place honors while Vito Meira rounded out the top five.
Dickies 500 NASCAR Triple-Header Race Weekend
Silverado 350k NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Race Nov.2
Ted Musgrave ended a 66-race winless streak to pick up his first victory at Texas Motor Speedway in the Silverado 350k. Musgrave became the oldest winner in the series since Joe Ruttman (56 years, 6 months) was victorious at Pikes Peak in 2001. The win was Musgrave's 17th career victory in the Craftsman Truck Series.
"We let a few of these get away from us here at Texas," Musgrave said. "We can finally say we won in Texas after so many tries."
Brendan Gaughan, who finished second in the Silverado 350k, posted his sixth top-five finish in 11 Craftsman Truck Series starts at "The Great American Speedway!" Mike Skinner, Mike Bliss and Rick Crawford rounded out the top five, respectively.
O'Reilly Challenge NASCAR Busch Series Race Nov.3
The O'Reilly Challenge became the backdrop for Carl Edwards clinching the 2007 NASCAR Busch Series driver championship. Edwards' first NASCAR championship was secured with an 11th-place finish in the O'Reilly Challenge that left the Roush Fenway Racing driver with an insurmountable 552-point lead over David Reutimann in the Busch Series point standings. The championship comes in Edwards' third full-time season in the Busch Series.
Kevin Harvick continued to write his name in the history books at Texas Motor Speedway by claiming his third consecutive Busch Series victory in the O'Reilly Challenge. Harvick's fourth Busch Series win at TMS makes him the all-time leader in NASCAR Busch Series victories at Texas, breaking a tie with Mark Martin. His win in the O'Reilly Challenge was his 32nd Busch Series victory and breaks a tie with Jack Ingram for second on the all-time series win list.
Harvick's margin of victory of 3.486 seconds over runner-up Kyle Busch in the O'Reilly Challenge established a new TMS track record for the largest winning margin. The previous record was 1.57 seconds by Mark Martin over Jimmy Spencer in 1997.
The O'Reilly Challenge was only slowed by four cautions for 20 laps, tying the record for fewest caution flags in NASCAR Busch Series competition at TMS.
Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer and Matt Kenseth completed the top-five finishers, respectively. Brad Keselowski (6th) was the highest finishing Busch Series regular in the O'Reilly Challenge.
Dickies 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Race Nov.4
The Dickies 500 once again proved a pivotal stop in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup as Jimmie Johnson picked up the victory in Dickies 500 and took over the top spot in the championship battle as he went on to claim the 2007 NEXTEL Cup Series championship.
History also repeated itself for the third straight year in the Dickies 500 as Johnson, who won the previous week at Atlanta, scored his first victory at Texas Motor Speedway. Since the inception of the Dickies 500 in 2005, the winner of the previous week's Cup race at Atlanta has also gone on to win the Dickies 500. Johnson joins Carl Edwards (2005) and Tony Stewart (2006) as back-to-back winners at Atlanta and Texas, respectively.
"It was amazing to get the win at Texas Motor Speedway," Johnson said. "We didn't have the best car at the start of the race, but the guys kept working on it and it was perfect at the end. That win definitely helped solidify our chances for the championship as we left Texas with the points lead."
Johnson's victory in the Dickies 500 left him with a 30-point lead over his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon. Johnson would go on to win the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series championship by keeping Gordon at bay by 77 points.
Johnson also grabbed the point lead away from Matt Kenseth following the 2006 Dickies 500 en route to claiming the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series championship.
Johnson won the Dickies 500 by beating Matt Kenseth to the line by 0.944 of a second. Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch and Ryan Newman rounded out the top five, respectively.
Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track
Pro-Cuts Texas World Dirt Track Championship March 2-3
Kelly Boen, of Henderson, Colorado, captured the SUPR "A" late-model feature race during the opening night of the Pro-Cuts Texas World Dirt Track Championship at the Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track while Howard Willis, of Dayton, Texas, won the 20-lap modified "A" qualifier.
In Saturday night's championship races, John Anderson, of Omaha, Neb., was victorious in the SUPR "A" late-model feature race while Johnny Virden, of Russellville, Ark., claimed the Modified Championship in the Pro-Cuts Texas World Dirt Track Championship before an estimated crowd of 8,000 at the Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track. The Pro-Cuts Texas World Dirt Championship established a new event entry record with 268 entrants, including 212 in the modified division, from 12 states.
IMCA Lone Star Nationals presented by TETCO Stores Sept.27-29
Troy Taylor, of Fort Worth, Texas, captured the Modified championship of the inaugural IMCA Lone Star Nationals presented by TETCO Stores before an estimated crowd of more than 12,000 at the Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track.
Taylor was one of four division champions crowned during the three-day event that was the second-largest IMCA event this season with more than 300 competitors.
Keith White, a two-time national series champion from Academy, Texas, earned the SportMod championship while Jeff Turner, of Seagoville, Texas, won the Stock Car championship. B.J. Dauer, of Marquette, Kan., was crowned the Hobby Stock champion during championship races held on Friday, Sept.28.
Also competing during the championship weekend was the Sprint Series of Texas, where Chad Wilson, of North Richland Hills, Texas, captured the 25-lap event.