Roush Fenway owner likes Texas hats, but would prefer NASCAR crown

04/15/2012 11:06 PM

04/16/2012 1:24 PM

They call Jack Roush "the cat in the hat."

The NASCAR car owner is always in a hat. When he leaves Texas, he's usually wearing a cowboy hat.

It's the symbol of success at Texas Motor Speedway, which gives everybody on the winning team a Charlie 1 Horse cowboy hat to take home.

Track president Eddie Gossage loves to plunk the western headwear on the winning driver.

"Well, first off, God bless Texas," Roush said. "Eddie Gossage has supplied me with a lot of Texas hats."

Roush collected his 18th and 19th hats this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. His team, Roush Fenway Racing, won the Friday night Nationwide race with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Saturday night's Sprint Cup race behind Greg Biffle.

It's the third time Roush Fenway has swept a Texas weekend. Its nine Sprint Cup victories at TMS are the most by any organization. The Nationwide victory was Roush Fenway's fourth in a row at TMS.

"I don't know if this is my last sweep or not, but I am going to remember this one for a while," Roush said.

But enough cowboy hats.

Roush, who turns 70 this week, wants a Sprint Cup title.

The team hasn't produced the points champion in eight years, since Kurt Busch won in 2004.

After that, Jimmie Johnson ran off five consecutive championships for Hendrick Motorsports. Tony Stewart won last year for his team, Stewart-Haas Racing.

Roush Fenway almost got its champion last year. But Carl Edwards lost the title on a tiebreaker.

Edwards is the team's No. 1 driver.

Matt Kenseth won the Daytona 500.

But Biffle may be Roush Fenway's No. 1 hope this season.

Biffle padded his lead in the points standings with Saturday's win in the Samsung Mobile 500. He has a 19-point lead on Kenseth and Hendrick's Dale Earnhardt Jr.

The combination of Roush Fenway and Ford engines is proving powerful at 1.5-mile tracks like Texas Motor Speedway, and another one is coming up this weekend at Kansas.

Biffle sensed the opportunity ahead of him.

"I thought here and Kansas would be two racetracks that stuck out," Biffle said.

It is at Texas that a team can tell it is a championship contender.

Stewart won November's race en route to the title.

Two years ago, Denny Hamlin won twice at TMS and finished second in the standings.

In 2007, Jimmie Johnson won the Samsung Mobile 500 in his championship year.

The seven winners before Biffle have all finished fourth or better in the final standings.

There's more to like about a win at TMS than a hat.

Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407

Twitter: @calexmendez

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