Kenseth takes million dollar paycheck

Kenseth takes million dollar paycheck

Matt Kenseth booted Ryan Newman out of the lead to win the million dollar prize in NASCAR's All-Star event. This is Kenseth's first win in this event. "Wow," said Kenseth. "This is unbelievable. I was real loose this last set, so it was good to...

Matt Kenseth booted Ryan Newman out of the lead to win the million dollar prize in NASCAR's All-Star event. This is Kenseth's first win in this event.

"Wow," said Kenseth. "This is unbelievable. I was real loose this last set, so it was good to be behind Newman. I got under him a few times and he got air off me, he slipped and I cleared him. I can't believe how hard he ran on old tires.

Victory lane: Matt Kenseth and crew chief Robbie Reiser.
Photo by Autostock.
"This is so cool. Super great. It feels good to come out here and have such a super piece."

Ryan Newman held on for second.

"We had an awesome car, we almost pulled it off," said Newman. "We just didn't have the tires there at the end."

Tony Stewart, winner of the first segment, scored third.

"Awesome effort for the No. 20 team," said Stewart. "We just didn't have enough for the 17 and the 12 there at the end."

Michael Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. complete the top five finishers.

"We over adjusted on the car," said Earnhardt. "We should have left it alone. Hopefully we will learn a lesson, when we have a good car, don't mess with it."

The attrition rate was high during the NEXTEL All-Star Challenge. The first caution came out at lap 3, when the No. 32 Chevy of Ricky Craven hit the wall. Just when the action got back underway, the field was plagued by a multi-car incident.

The No. 97 Ford of Kurt Busch got into the back of teammate Greg Biffle's No. 16 Ford. That set off a chain reaction wreck involving eleven cars. Wrapped up in the crash were Joe Nemechek, Michael Waltrip, Robby Gordon, Bobby Labonte, Jimmie Johnson, Sterling Marlin, Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne and Jeff Gordon.

"My car lifted his (Biffle) instead of help push him," commented Busch. "I was trying to help him and I ended up wrecking him. I apologize for all the wrecked race cars out there."

Biffle was not quite so forgiving, "Either he goes, or I go."

NASCAR red-flagged the event at lap 12 due to the incident and allowed teams to try and make repairs to their limping race cars. The field restarted and commenced the mandatory green flag four-tire pit stop that is a component of the All-Star Challenge event.

The pit stop cycle placed Tony Stewart and the No. 20 Gibbs Chevy team into the lead of the first segment. Defending Cup series champion Matt Kenseth attempted to catch Stewart, but Stewart opened up a four car length lead over the No. 17.

Stewart easily sailed across the start/finish line to grab the win of the first segment.

As per All-Star Challenge standards, NASCAR inverted the field after the first segment by a random draw. Eight cars were chosen to be inverted, sending the No. 15 Chevy of Michael Waltrip into the lead of the race, and relegating Stewart back to 8th for the second thirty lap segment. Seven cars were eliminated from the first segment.

Waltrip led the field to the green flag, but the No. 5 of Terry Labonte quickly passed the No. 15 to lead the first lap. Waltrip freefell from first to fifth, but the events third caution slowed his march backwards through the field.

Only three laps were completed before the No. 88 of Dale Jarrett brought out the yellow flag by spinning in turn three. When the field finally restarted, it did not stay green for long. A few laps later the No. 48 of Jimmie Johnson brought out the night's fourth yellow.

After an extended caution, racers once again went green with seven laps left to be completed in the second segment with Ryan Newman leading. Tony Stewart stalked the No. 12 Dodge of Newman, but was unable to catch Newman's hot rod.

Newman marched across the finish line to gain the victory of the second segment.

Teams chose to pit before the start of the final portion of the event consisting of twenty laps. Leader Ryan Newman stays out while the rest of the field pits.

"We figured we'd take a gamble," said No. 12 crew chief Matt Borland. "We thought if we took four tires it would send us back to tenth or so. This race is all about winning, so we stayed out."

Elliott Sadler beat the cars that pitted back to the track, with a lightning quick two-tire stop. The move puts the No. 38 Ford into the second spot, followed by Matt Kenseth, Tony Stewart and Rusty Wallace as the race went back to green.

Newman's decision not to pit did not seem to affect the performance of the No. 12 Dodge. Newman managed to hold off the hard-charging Ford of Matt Kenseth as he stalked his bumper for several laps, but finally with three laps to go Kenseth tapped the rear bumper of Newman and shoved him out of his way.

Kenseth took the lead, and remained unchallenged for the final two circuits.

The Open:
Marlin wins Open, Schrader transfers

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett , Matt Kenseth , Bobby Labonte , Terry Labonte , Tony Stewart , Rusty Wallace , Michael Waltrip , Kevin Harvick , Joe Nemechek , Greg Biffle , Sterling Marlin , Robby Gordon , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Jimmie Johnson , Ricky Craven , Kasey Kahne , Elliott Sadler