Roush Rewind: Crown Royal Presents the Matthew and Daniel Hansen 400

Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR

After an off weekend, the Sprint Cup Series traveled to Richmond International Raceway for the Matthew and Daniel Hansen 400. Sponsored by Crown Royal, the race was a great honor to two military members, twins Matthew and Daniel Hansen. Unfortunately, Daniel was killed while serving the country in 2009, but Matthew was at Richmond on Saturday night to watch the race that had been named in their honor.

Roush Fenway Racing hoped to get the win on Saturday night, but their efforts fell short. Matt Kenseth looked poised to get a great finish until he was caught up in a late-race incident. Pit strategy worked against Greg Biffle in the closing laps as he saw himself losing ground to drivers who had fresher tires. Carl Edwards fought a loose-handling racecar, but held his own to finish 5th. David Ragan undoubtedly ran one of his best races of the season as he made a charge through the field to finish 4th.

Matt Kenseth: Started 33rd, Finished 21st.

For Matt Kenseth, getting a great finish on Saturday night would have meant a lot to not only to his sponsor but to his whole team as they ran a special Crown Royal paint scheme on the No. 17 Ford in honor of Matthew and Daniel Hansen.

Kenseth qualified 33rd, and by lap 25, he had moved up to the 23rd position. Initially, the No. 17 Ford was tight through the center and loose off the turns. A long green-flag run continued for the first part of the race so Kenseth had to hold on until the team could make their first pit stop of the night. Green-flag stops began around lap 80. Kenseth pitted on lap 87 for four tires, fuel, and an air pressure adjustment.

Throughout the next run, the car continued to be tight. The first caution of the night came out on lap 108 for debris and Kenseth pitted for four tires and fuel. He restarted 15th on lap 116 and cracked the top ten on lap 132. Kenseth stayed out during a caution on lap 257. He led the field back to green on lap 265, but the caution came out immediately on the restart. Kenseth lost a couple positions on the next restart, and over the next couple of cautions, he continued to stay out. On lap 293, Kenseth finally pitted for tires, fuel, and an air pressure adjustment under yet another caution.

Kenseth restarted 13th and was caught racing three-wide after the restart. On lap 301, he was caught up in a multi-car incident. The right side of the No. 17 sustained heavy damage, forcing Kenseth to pit three times for repairs under the caution. Kenseth restarted 23rd on lap 315 but was a lap down. Ultimately, he finished 21st and dropped from 8th to 9th in the standings.

Greg Biffle: Started 23rd, Finished 15th.

After less than stellar performances at Richmond last season, Greg Biffle was determined to get a good finish on Saturday night. He worked his way up to 5th at one point, but the team’s pit strategy backfired as Biffle fell back to 15th as the checkered flag waved.

The No. 16 3M Ford took the green flag from the 23rd position. Biffle had no complaints about the car’s handling as he worked his way through the field. He pitted on lap 87 for just tires and fuel. Over the next run, the car became slightly loose. Under the caution on lap 108, Biffle pitted for tires, fuel, and a wedge adjustment. The team continued to make adjustments when they could. Biffle was in the 8th position when the caution came out lap 238. He pitted for tires and fuel, but once the race restarted, the No. 16 Ford became loose again. Biffle had dropped to 13th when the caution came out again on lap 256. It gave the team another chance to make adjustments. The caution came out again on lap 291, and crew chief Greg Erwin called Biffle down pit road for a two-tire stop.

When the caution came out on lap 301 for the multi-car crash, Biffle was in the 4th position and opted to stay out, hoping there would be another caution. There were no more cautions after the race restarted on lap 314. Biffle began to drop back as drivers with fresher tires quickly passed him. He eventually got lapped by the leader, but held on to finish 15th. Biffle moved up two positions to 14th in the standings.

Carl Edwards: Started 8th, Finished 5th.

Fuel mileage cost Carl Edwards a good finish in Friday night’s Nationwide Series race on Friday, and on Saturday, Edwards wasn’t going to let it happen again. Pit strategy boosted him to a 5th place finish.

Edwards started the race from the 8th position. The No. 99 Scotts Ford became loose once the green flag waved. When the first caution came out on lap 108, Edwards pitted from the 7th position. On the restart, he fell to 20th after getting a tap from the No. 48 of Jimmie Johnson. Edwards battled his way back through the field to get back inside the top ten by lap 236.

Under the caution on lap 301, Edwards decided to pit because he had the feeling the race would be caution free from that point on. His hunch was right and making that pit stop proved to be the right choice. Edwards restarted 12th on lap 315, and in the waning laps of the 400-lap race, he was trying to chase down the No. 6 of teammate David Ragan for the 4th position. Edwards couldn’t catch Ragan and finished 5th. He held onto the points lead and is now just 9 points ahead of Jimmie Johnson.

David Ragan: Started 27th, Finished 4th.

Richmond is one of David Ragan’s favorite tracks. His career-best finish of 3rd came at the track back in 2007. For a while, it looked like Ragan wouldn’t have a good run on Saturday night after going a lap down, but that all changed when he was in the Lucky Dog position under caution just at the halfway point of the race.

After qualifying 27th in the No. 6 UPS Ford, Ragan knew he would have to work hard to keep from going a lap down early in the race. The car became loose at the start of the race as Ragan began to drop back a couple of positions. Under a green-flag stop around lap 84, the team had a slight hiccup in the pits that caused Ragan to go a lap down.

Ragan would spend much of the race trying to get into the Lucky Dog position in case the caution came out. His lucky break came under the caution on lap 238 brought out by the No. 39 of Ryan Newman spinning out. Ragan stayed out under the caution on lap 292 to gain track position. He moved from 18h to 4th. He pitted under the next caution and restarted 14h. It didn’t take long for him to start picking them up and laying them down. Ragan went three-wide to pass teammates Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle to move up to the 4th position. Ragan held on to finish 4th, earning his best finish of the season. He moved up one position to 19th in the standings.

Race winner: Kyle Busch

The Joe Gibbs Racing teammates of Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch both dominated the race on Saturday night, but it was Busch who would finish ahead of hometown hero Hamlin to get the win. Congratulations to Kyle Busch and the No. 18 team on their victory!


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Roush Rewind: Crown Royal Presents the Matthew and Daniel Hansen 400 Roush Rewind: Crown Royal Presents the Matthew and Daniel Hansen 400 Reviewed by Whitney R. on Tuesday, May 03, 2011 Rating: 5