- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 1, 2009

From combined dispatches

LAS VEGAS | After a winless season, former NASCAR champion Matt Kenseth simply wanted to be competitive again.

He got his wish, and then some.

Kenseth has a chance at auto racing history Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where a victory would make him the first NASCAR driver to win the first three races of the season. He started his streak by capturing the Daytona 500 to end a 36-race winless streak and followed with last week’s victory at California.”

Although a poor qualifying effort has him starting 40th and he’s been fighting the flu all week, his rivals think Kenseth can complete the sweep.

“It could be an incredible feat if they do it. I believe that they can,” Jeff Burton said. “I am not saying that they will, but I believe they certainly can.”

It’s a position Kenseth hardly imagined he’d be in during a stressful two-season span in which he slowly faded as a weekly contender. He won two races in 2007, one at the start of the year and then the season finale to snap a 34-race winless streak.

Longtime crew chief Robbie Reiser stepped into a management role at Roush Fenway Racing after their final win at Homestead, and his absence was felt during last year’s winless season. Chip Bolin, Kenseth’s lead engineer, was elevated to crew chief but the promotion cost the team in Bolin’s old position.

Kenseth sat down with Bolin at the end of the season, and the two agreed they should find a new crew chief. They turned to Drew Blickensderfer.

“I hope it’s magic. I hope it keeps going,” Kenseth said, referring to the undefeated Blickensderfer.

Biffle works way to win

Greg Biffle has snapped a 76-race winless streak by winning the Nationwide Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Biffle ran out of gas while leading with 54 laps to go, but cycled back into the lead.

Denny Hamlin’s flat tire sent him hard into the wall three laps from the finish, setting up a long caution period and a green-white-checkered sprint to the finish.

Jason Leffler, who was second, ran out of gas on the restart and Biffle had to race teammate Carl Edwards for the win.

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