Edwards rallies for Nationwide victory
CHARLOTTE, NC(AP) – Sprint Cup points leader Carl Edwards moved in front on a late restart and held off Kyle Busch on the final lap to win his eighth Nationwide race of the season on Friday night.
Edwards’ right side was badly damaged after hitting the wall 32 laps into the race and he fell to 27th in the Dollar General 300 Miles of Courage event at Charlotte Motor Speedway. But he steadily moved up during the race and took the lead for the first time with five laps left.
It was Edwards’ sixth straight top-two finish in NASCAR’s second-tier series. Edwards will try to make it a clean sweep at Charlotte – and extend his one-point lead in the Chase for the championship standings – when he starts third in Saturday night’s Bank of America 500.
“Way to fight back, guys,” Edwards said after crossing the finish line.
Busch was second and Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne third. Elliott Sadler finished fourth to earn a $100,000 bonus in the series Dash 4 Cash.
Brad Keselowski had the dominant machine most of the race. He led 119 laps and strongly moved away from the pack on several mid-race restarts. But Keselowski sliced a tire 28 laps from the finish and could not maintain position, slowly spinning just before the entrance to pit road.
Keselowski came out 13th and worked his way up to sixth, a spot behind Brian Scott.
Nationwide points leader Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was ninth and maintained a 15-point lead over Sadler for the series champion with three races left.
After Keselowski faltered, it looked to be Busch’s race to win. The series record holder with 51 victories, Busch moved past Sadler on a restart after Keselowski’s caution.
Busch was in front again on a restart with 12 laps left after a caution for debris on the track. The caution flag came on for a seventh and final time with five laps left and that’s when Edwards struck, moving past Busch and staying in front for his 37th career win in the Nationwide series.
Justin Allgeier was seventh, pole-sitter Paul Menard was eighth. Brian Vickers closed the top 10.
Kenny Wallace finished 16th in his 519th career Nationwide start, matching the series mark held by Jason Keller.
The race honored those who’ve dealt with breast cancer in their lives. Several drivers had a touch of pink in their uniforms or on their cars to raise awareness of breast cancer and raise funds for Susan G Komen for the Cure, the nation’s leading breast cancer research organization. Even the raceway’s start-finish line was done in pink.
During race introductions, the drivers met 101-year-old Nancy Sue Neal from Waxhaw, N.C., the state’s oldest living breast cancer survivor and served as the honorary race director.