Edwards races to NASCAR Nationwide victory
GLADEVILLE, Tenn (AP) – Carl Edwards dominated the NASCAR Nationwide Series race Saturday night at Nashville Superspeedway.
The Sprint Cup star was so overpowering that not even a penalty, an upset stomach or fellow Sprint Cup driver Brad Keselowski could stop him.
He did his customary back flip off the car and then even went into the stands afterward to celebrate with the fans. “It’s just to give a couple people high-fives and to see the looks on their faces,” said Edwards, who led a race-high 125 laps and has a total of six wins at the track, five in Nationwide and one in the truck series. “I wish more drivers would do it.”
Edwards’ teammate at Roush Fenway Racing, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., finished second and Mike Dillon was third.
Edwards, who leads the Sprint Cup points race over Jimmie Johnson, was leading when the first caution came out on lap 82 for debris. The next lap he entered the pits and was penalized for speeding and NASCAR officials ordered him to the rear of the longest line of cars for the restart.
Edwards worked his way back through the field and passed Dillon on lap 120 for the lead. On the pass the air from Edwards’ car caused Dillon to wiggle wildly in turn four.
“He knew I was loose and just started driving in on me,” said Dillon. “I don’t think he hit me, I just got real loose. That was a heck of a save. It reminded me of my dirt car.”
Dillon, the winner of the truck series race at this track Friday night and grandson of longtime car owner Richard Childress, fell to third.
Edwards said he was racing with a cold. That combined with the extreme heat made it a tough night for Edwards.
“I feel a lot better (after winning),” Edwards said in Victory Lane.
“Carl’s awesome here. I felt like he was kind of playing with us a little there at the end,” Stenhouse said. “We’ll take a second and go onto (the next race).”
Keselowski, the pole winner, was in command of the race when he radioed his crew that he was slowing due to a dropped cylinder on lap 166. Dillon took advantage of the situation and passed the defending series champion for the lead.
Keselowski led 88 laps and placed 12th.
Elliott Sadler came into the race as the series points leader, but surrendered it to Reed Sorenson when he broke down on pit lane during the third caution period of the race.
Sadler was in the top 10 all night and was coming out of his pit stop in second when he radioed to his crew.
“We’re done, guys, we’re done.” He said he thought he broke an axle.
“I might have popped the clutch too early,” said Sadler, about accelerating from his pit box.
Sadler came in 30th place and is now third in the championship, 14 points back. Sorenson is five points ahead of Stenhouse to lead the points battle.
The second caution of the race occurred on lap 127 when Mikey Kile and Brian Scott had contact while going down the backstretch. Kile skidded across the grass along the track but was able to get it back onto the course.