by Shawn A. Akers FT. WORTH, Texas (April 5, 1998) Some questioned it. Some even went as far as to call it "outlandish." But the early results of taking on a fourth and fifth NASCAR Winston Cup Series team at Roush Racing seem to...
by Shawn A. Akers
FT. WORTH, Texas (April 5, 1998)
Some questioned it. Some even went as far as to call it "outlandish." But the early results of taking on a fourth and fifth NASCAR Winston Cup Series team at Roush Racing seem to indicate that Jack Roush will have the last laugh.
After Sunday's Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, in which three Roush teams finished in the top-10 once again, all five of Roush's teams are solidly entrenched in the top-20 of the NASCAR Winston Cup point standings. They are led by Sunday's race winner, Mark Martin, who moved up to fourth place.
"Everybody has worked well with the preparation of the cars," Roush said. "One team knows pretty much what the other teams are doing, and they're able to draw the positives that they see. The combination is working pretty good. There are some differences in the chassis, but there are more similarities than differences, but I'm real proud of the way everybody ran today.."
Martin earned his second victory of the season, to go along with his triumph in the inaugural Las Vegas 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
"We had a great car today," the driver of the No. 6 Valvoline Ford said. "I had a great day today and I know Chad Little had a great today, and Johnny Benson had a good run, too, so it was a real positive day for all of us."
Indeed. Little recorded his best career NASCAR Winston Cup Series finish, second, in the No. 97 John Deere Taurus. Little led four times for a total of 47 laps, including laps 279 through 304. He gave his teammate a strong run in the final laps, but came up short by 0.573 seconds.
Still, Little wasn't grinning ear-to-ear as he finished the race. His feelings over the closing laps might even surprise a few fans.
"Frustration because I wasn't in front," Little said. "It was good. The car was pretty good all day long. We were tight most of the time, but not as tight as a lot of other people I saw. That was my problem the last 15 laps, I was still tight from the center out.
"The motor ran great and the car worked really well. What a great weekend. To finish second behind Mark, I have no complaints at all. It was a good learning experience for me and I can't be thankful enough to John Deere and Jack (Roush) for giving me this kind of opportunity and this kind of equipment."
Johnny Benson, the newest member of the Roush Racing organization, got off to a rough start this season when he didn't qualify for the Daytona 500. Since Rockingham, however, he's posted five straight top-10 finishes, including a fifth-place run in the Cheerios Ford on Sunday.
"This is way cool, but I'm way too tired," an excited Benson said. "The power steering wasn't working in the center coming off and I was getting way too tired. I don't know if it affected us at the end, but I'm pretty tired right now. Steve Hmiel and the guys, they're just awesome. I couldn't be any happier with how things are running."
Jeff Burton had perhaps the most frustrating day of all the Roush drivers. Burton was leading on lap 186 when he ran over some debris and a tire went flat. The driver of the No. 99 Exide Batteries Ford led four times for 44 laps and seemed to have the car to beat when misfortune struck.
"We blew a right front," said Burton, who wound up finishing 29th. "It shows no signs of wear, it shows nothing. I guess we ran over something. The tire looks perfect, it looks brand new, so I don't know. The car was driving good. I don't know what to say other than we ran over something. The 12 car blew a tire, too. I'm just disappointed for us and them. I thought we had the two best cars, and neither one of us will get a chance to show what we rally had, unfortunately. It's one of those things."
Ted Musgrave got caught up in an 11-car crash on lap 2 of Sunday's 334-lap event. His No. 16 PRIMESTAR Ford survived enough for him to come back and finish 30th.
Martin is in fourth place in the NASCAR Winston Cup point standings, 57 points behind leader Rusty Wallace. Burton is in eighth, Benson moved up to 10th, Musgrave is currently in 16th, and Little moved up to the 17th position heading into the off weekend next week.
Source: NASCAR Online