Notes From An All-Star Weekend

Roush sings all-star winner's praises

Jack Roush paid NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge winner Matt Kenseth a big compliment after Saturday night's race, comparing his driver to the legendary David Pearson."Not to pump his head up any bigger than it should be or than it maybe already is," Roush said, "but the Wood Brothers have always been my heroes. Their drivers in their heyday have been my heroes as well, and Matt reminds me more of David Pearson than anybody that I've worked with.
"He's calculating. You have no idea how fast your car is until it's time for the checkered flag to really drop, but when the green flag drops you start to see what you have to work with."
Roush said he usually can tell when Kenseth has a good car by listening to what happens in the final Nextel Cup practice.
"If Matt gets himself halfway through it and he tells (crew chief) Robbie (Reiser) and the guys, `You know, I'm out of ideas. If you guys have something you want to try, let's try it. I'm pretty happy.' That's going be a real bad day for the competitors."

Biffle wishes for more power in his Ford

In addition to being upset because Roush Racing teammate Kurt Busch bumped and wrecked him early in the All-Star Challenge, Greg Biffle lamented that his team went into the race without the cylinder head Ford teams are trying to incorporate into their engines.
Elliott Sadler ran the new head a week earlier in the Chevy 400 at Richmond, Va., and five cars were to have them Saturday night. The engine partnership between Roush and Robert Yates could only get that many ready for the all-star event, so the five Ford teams highest in the points standings got them.
"I don't know what everybody had, but I know mine ran like Jack the Bear," Kenseth said. "That's just the way it is. ... It's not a lot better, but it's a little better."
Mark Martin, Dale Jarrett, Sadler and Busch also had the new package. -- David Poole, Charlotte Observer.

J. Gordon happy with team's perseverance
Although he never had a shot at winning Saturday night's all-star race, Jeff Gordon and crew chief Robbie Loomis said they were excited with their team's resilience after Gordon was caught up in a wreck on Lap 11.Gordon repeatedly got repairs and just missed the top five while dueling with Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the last lap.
"I came on the radio and said `Guys, we're done,' " Gordon said. "When it's the all-star race you think you're not going to be able to fix it, but they had a long delay so they were able to keep working on it.
"The effort that this team put out is what type of effort got us there in the points right now, why we've won two races so far. I think it's the reason why we're going to win more races."
Loomis said he could not recall ever being as excited for a sixth-place finish.
"If we fight as hard all year long as we fought tonight, we're going to get that fifth championship for Jeff," Loomis said. -- JIM UTTER / KNIGHT RIDDER