Monday, April 25, 2011

Edwards Sings to NASCAR Nationwide Victory Lane at Nashville

Photo Credit: Grant Halverson/Getty Images for NASCAR

By Lee Montgomery
Special to Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service

(April 23, 2011)

LEBANON, Tenn.—Carl Edwards returned to victory lane at Nashville Superspeedway for the first time since 2007, winning Saturday’s Nashville 300 Nationwide Series race.

The victory was Edwards’ second of the season and 31st of his career—tying him for fourth all time with NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee Jack Ingram.

Edwards had won three Nationwide races in a row in 2006-07 but went six races at Nashville without winning again. His four Nashville victories are tops among all drivers at the 1.33-mile track.

“Was it 2007?” Edwards said. “That’s a long time to run poorly somewhere. Seemed like every time we came we won for a little while. Was it three in a row? Then all of a sudden, we came here and really struggled. That’s really trying on everybody.

“I have to give credit to (car owner) Jack Roush, to Ford, (engine builder) Doug Yates, (crew chief) Mike Beam, the guys at the shop. It looked like we were facing some insurmountable challenges, and they worked hard and got these cars better.”

Saturday, Edwards was the best, leading five times for 148 laps in beating Kyle Busch to the checkered flag by .521 seconds. Edwards surged past Busch as the two dueled for the lead with 35 laps to go.

Busch was gunning for a weekend sweep after his victory in Friday night’s Camping World Truck Series race but came up short as his Toyota was “just not quite fast enough.”

Brad Keselowski finished third and Joey Logano fourth as Sprint Cup regulars swept the top four spots in the Nationwide Series’ first stand-alone race of the season. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was fifth for the best finish among Nationwide regulars and moved into a tie for the points lead with Justin Allgaier.

Edwards and Busch traded the lead three times and raced side by side for more than three laps not long after a restart with 44 laps to go.

“At the end of the race, I was pedaling for all I had,” Edwards said. “I was kind of excited at the beginning of the race. I thought, ‘Boy, we’re going to run off with this thing. It’s going to be easy.’ Then at the end, that was white-knuckle. I was driving as hard as I can drive, racing him and Brad.

“In the end, it’s better to have a race like that, but it was really nerve-wracking for me.”

Edwards led Lap 189 of 225, with Busch coming back to lead Lap 190. Edwards led Lap 191 and finally got clear of Busch, even as Keselowski was challenging from third.

“I didn’t quite finish that pass,” Busch said. “He had a really fast car. We could keep up with him momentarily but not for the whole run. It was a good show right there, a little bit of racing back and forth. … Brad was right behind us and kind of lurking in the distance there.”

In the end, both drivers agreed Edwards’ No. 60 was simply the better car.

“Our Ford was just slightly better than his car, just slightly,” Edwards said. “He’s savvy enough of a racer, he knew how to keep me behind him and how to force the issue. He made it really hard on me, but he also gave me plenty of room. You can race a bunch of different ways out there, but that was a very clean race. That was really good. It was fun. I was really having a blast out there.”

2011 NASCAR Nationwide Seires
Nashville 300
Nashville Superspeedway

Race Results

Pos # | Car #|  Driver/ Sponsor  | Car Make

1) 60 Carl Edwards Ford Drive one. Ford
2) 18 Kyle Busch Z-Line Designs Toyota
3) 22 Brad Keselowski Discount Tire Dodge
4) 20 Joey Logano Harvest Investments Toyota
5) 6 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford
6) 16 Trevor Bayne Ford
7) 33 Austin Dillon Rheem Heating, Cooling & Water Heating Chevrolet
8) 32 Reed Sorenson Dollar General Chevrolet
9) 7 Josh Wise Eutechnyx Chevrolet
10) 88 Aric Almirola Grand Touring Vodka Chevrolet
11) 31 Justin Allgaier Wolfpack Rentals Chevrolet
12) 09 Kenny Wallace RAB Racing Toyota
13) 2 Elliott Sadler Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevrolet
14) 64 David Reutimann Flatout Flatbread Toyota
15) 38 Jason Leffler Great Clips Chevrolet
16) 99 Ryan Truex Pastrana Waltrip Racing Toyota
17) 66 Steve Wallace 5-hour Energy Toyota
18) 01 Mike Wallace Colormatch Coating Solutions Chevrolet
19) 62 Michael Annett Pilot Travel Centers/Flying J Toyota
20) 70 David Stremme Foretravel Chevrolet
21) 40 Scott Wimmer Key Motorsports Chevrolet
22) 11 Brian Scott Shore Lodge Toyota
23) 51 Jeremy Clements Chevrolet
24) 87 Kevin Conway Extenze Toyota
25) 81 Blake Koch Dodge
26) 39 Danny O'Quinn Jr. Rimz One Ford
27) 67 JR Fitzpatrick Go Canada Racing Ford
28) 89 Morgan Shepherd Racing with Jesus/Imperial Bedding Chevrolet
29) 30 Mikey Kile AccuDoc Chevrolet
30) 28 Derrike Cope Jay Robinson Inc. Dodge
31) 19 Mike Bliss TriStar Motorsports Chevrolet
32) 14 Eric McClure Hefty BlackOut/Reynolds Chevrolet
33) 15 Timmy Hill Rick Ware Racing Ford
34) 23 Robert Richardson Jr. Wildlife Conservation Society Dodge
35) 52 Tim Schendel TRX Alliance Chevrolet
36) 79 Tim Andrews Sports Massage USA Ford
37) 49 Dennis Setzer Jay Robinson Inc. Chevrolet
38) 74 Mike Harmon Riverwalk Cafe Chevrolet
39) 68 Matthew Carter Fleur de Lis Farms Chevrolet
40) 41 Carl Long Lilly Trucking Ford
41) 05 Willie Allen 31-W Insulation Chevrolet
42) 44 Jeff Green TriStar Motorsports Chevrolet
43) 75 Johnny Chapman Rick Ware Racing Ford

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