Matt Kenseth had a dominating run in Fort Worth, Texas, breaking a 76-race NASCAR Sprint Cup winless streak Saturday night.
Kenseth led 169 of 334 laps at the 11/2-mile, high-banked track for his 19th career victory, his first since California in February 2009. Since his other win at Texas Motor Speedway in 2002, Kenseth had four runner-up finishes, including last fall behind Denny Hamlin, and six other top-10 finishes at the track.
This time, the No. 17 Roush Fenway Ford was only trailing late behind Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch when both of those drivers were out of sequence on stops and trying to stretch fuel in hopes of catching a caution. Lucky for Kenseth, there were no yellow flags at the wrong time.
Kenseth went back ahead to stay with 13 laps to go, when Busch had to make his final stop and give up a 8.2-second lead. Kenseth finished 8.315 seconds ahead of Clint Bowyer.
“Over two years, I didn’t know if I’d get a chance to get here again,” Kenseth said in Victory Lane.
Kenseth led nine different times and won with an average speed of 149.234 mph. The race featured 31 lead changes among 13 drivers.
All four of Jack Roush’s drivers finished in the top seven. Edwards finished third, 17 seconds back, with Greg Biffle of Vancouver, Wash., fourth and pole-sitter David Ragan seventh.
Carl Edwards, bothered during the race by an upset stomach for something he ate earlier in the day, took over the season points lead by nine over Kyle Busch, who finished 16th.
Stewart had gone 58 laps since his last stop with 58 laps to go, and had nearly a 17-second lead over Kenseth and more than 19 seconds over Bowyer when he pitted.
Any chance for a win ended when Stewart got penalized for speeding on pit road. He finished 12th, the last driver on the lead lap even though he coasted across the finish line after running out of fuel.
Kurt Busch, who led five times for 50 laps, finished 10th.
While Kenseth had led only five laps in the first six races this season, he got to Texas coming off three consecutive finishes in the top six and had been in the top 12 for every race since an accident in the season-opening Daytona 500 led to a 34th-place finish.
Kenseth became the career laps leader at Texas, pushing his total to 669 laps in 18 starts.
Johnson has won three season championships.
Johnson finished eighth at Texas, just ahead of Earnhardt.
Enumclaw’s Kasey Kahne, who started 13th, finished 21st.
Will Power is on the pole again for the IndyCar Grand Prix of Alabama in Birmingham. Power posted a fast lap of 1 minute, 11.46 seconds in the Fast Six competition at Barber Motorsports Park for his second pole in two races this season. Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel claimed the pole for the Formula One Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang. The defending world champion qualified 0.10 seconds ahead of McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton. Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas defended their title at the Porsche 250 in at Barber Motorsports Park to extend their Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series record winning streak to six races.