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NASCAR Driver Matt Kenseth Claims 2006 Crown Royal IROC Series Season-Opener at Daytona

Matt Kenseth
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., February 17, 2006 - Matt Kenseth started his night at the back of the pack, but turned in a dominating performance in the 2006 Crown Royal International Race of Champions (IROC) Series 30th anniversary season-opener at Daytona International Speedway (DIS).

The 2004 Crown Royal IROC champion, who started in the 12th and final position, led 35 laps to capture his third-career IROC victory in a challenging race, which included a spectacular four-car accident with three laps remaining.

"I started in the back and got lucky in the beginning by getting some good pushes from Ted Musgrave who pushed me up to the lead," said Kenseth, who took the early lead in the Crown Royal IROC points standing, with the series shifting to Texas Motor Speedway for Race Two on April 7. "Frank (Kimmel) pushed me for a long run."

IRL IndyCar Series driver Sam Hornish, Jr. finished second, followed by ARCA RE/MAX Series driver Frank Kimmel.

"Everybody wants to win, but a couple of us open-wheel guys are a little bit more content with a top three that those guys are, because they do it every day," said Hornish.

Added Kimmel: "Wow! That was pretty exciting - there was a lot of stuff going on. I was glad we got back up front. We had a lot better car than fifth or sixth, where I thought we were going to end up."

World of Outlaws driver Steve Kinser suffered the worst in the four-car accident, when contact with Kimmel and sent Kinser into Tony Stewart's car, forcing Kinser's car sideways and upside down. Kinser suffered minor injuries, was evaluated and released from DIS's infield care center. Reigning NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Ted Musgrave and IRL IndyCar Series driver Scott Sharp were also involved in the wreck, which promptly ended their night.

"I was clear against the car in front of me, getting beat on from behind, turning me sideways, it was bang, bang, bang, right down through there," said Kinser. "That's about all I can say. Maybe Tony (Stewart) knows what they're talking about, too much pounding around on the back ends of them. That's just about all I can say. That's part of it, I guess. I was getting hammered for the last three laps, hard."

Road racing champions Max Papis and Wayne Taylor turned in strong performances by finished fourth and sixth, respectively, while NASCAR Busch Series champion Martin Truex, Jr. finished fifth. Rounding out the top 10: Kinser (seventh), Stewart (eighth), Sharp (ninth) and Musgrave (10th).

"That was an awesome race," said Papis. "I was challenging for the lead, and it was an awesome battle with Matt Kenseth."

"It was a great, great experience," said Taylor, about his Crown Royal IROC debut. "My car was just outstanding."

Pole winner and defending series champion Mark Martin's day ended early when he was involved in an accident with Hornish and Ryan Newman on the front stretch on lap 10.

A winner here at DIS last February, the five-time Crown Royal IROC Series winner suffered damage to the rear of his car when contact with Hornish resulted in Martin spinning and hitting the wall. Newman suffered damage to his left front side, but remained in the race until suffering a broken radiator at lap 25.

"I'm not sure what happened except what is on tape," said Martin, following his release from the infield care center. "It was a hard hit but we're ok. It can still be done (winning championship) but it's going to be a real challenge."


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