NASCAR Notes – Las Vegas and the Shelby 427

Published 9:26 pm Saturday, February 28, 2009

In a display of virtual perfection on and off pit road this past Sunday at Auto Club Speedway, Matt Kenseth and crew became the fourth team in NASCAR history to win the Daytona 500 and the following event.

What is even more impressive is the No. 17 team has the opportunity to become the first to win the first three races of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, and just might do it.

The last driver to pull off such a feat was four-time series champion, Jeff Gordon in 1997, winning Daytona and Rockingham. The other two drivers to open with two wins are three-time series champion Cale Yarborough (1977, Daytona/Richmond); and seven-time champion, Richard Petty (1973, Daytona/Richmond).

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After going all of 2008 without a win, the No. 17 team has turned it around by adding crew chief Drew Blickensderfer.

“I just feel great about the group we have assembled,” said Kenseth. “Everybody’s having fun. Everybody’s loose. Everybody’s performing at the same time. I think that, Drew has given the leadership and the spark they (the team) kind of needs.”

Blickensderfer began his motorsports career seven years ago when Roush Fenway Racing hired him as a tire changer. Since then he has worked his way up to crew chief.

“Drew has brought magic to the team,” said Jack Roush. “He knows how to capitalize on the energy within a team. We needed that.

“We had all the right team with the right skill sets on the team; we just needed somebody to create the magic. Drew has done that.”

Kenseth heads to Las Vegas Motor Speedway ready to keep the streak alive. Kenseth has posted two wins, four top fives and five top 10s at Las Vegas in nine starts.

Busch Brothers Head Home, Seeking Elusive Las Vegas Win

Las Vegas is the home of the Busch brothers, who grew up racing on the “bull-ring” dirt track across the street from Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Kyle and Kurt had much success at the dirt track, but surprisingly, neither have won a NASCAR national series race at LVMS.

Both have kicked the ‘09 season off to a good start. Kurt Busch is third in the series standings with a 10th-place finish at Daytona, and a fifth-place finish at Auto Club Speedway. Kurt has posted one top five and two top 10s in eight starts at LVMS.

Kyle Busch is 18th in the series standings after finishing 41st in the Daytona 500 and third in the Auto Club 500.

He became the first driver ever to win a NASCAR Nationwide Series and a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race in the same day this past Saturday, sweeping the doubleheader at Auto Club Speedway.

Roush Fenway Racing Picks ‘09 Up Where They Left ‘08 — Victory Lane

Jack Roush and his five-car team Roush Fenway Racing are building on the momentum left over from the end of 2008.

Not only has Matt Kenseth won the Daytona 500 and the Auto Club 500, but Carl Edwards finished the 2008 season winning three of the last four races including the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Roush has four of his five cars in the top 10 in the 2009 series standings.

Greg Biffle is fifth in the standings after a 20th-place finish at Daytona and a fourth-place at Auto Club Speedway. David Ragan is eighth in the standings after a sixth-place finish at Daytona and a 17th-place at ACS. Edwards is ninth in the standings after an 18th-place finish at Daytona and a seventh at ACS.

Roush leads all other car owners with six wins at LVMS.