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Edwards Win Postpones Kyle Busch's Party

NASCAR Nationwide Series
Sunday, November 15, 2009

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Carl Edwards celebrates winning the Able Body Labor 200 at Phoenix International Raceway, his fifth NASCAR Nationwide Series victory of the season.
Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR
Carl Edwards won Saturday's Able Body Labor 200 to postpone Kyle Busch's formal NASCAR Nationwide Series championship clinching party for one week.

But Busch still had cause for celebration. With a 190-point lead entering next Saturday's season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Busch needs merely to start the Ford 300 to claim his first title in one of NASCAR's top three national touring series.

Saturday's race also fanned the smoldering rivalry between polesitter Denny Hamlin and fifth-place finisher Brad Keselowski into full flame. The drivers traded shots with their cars after a restart on Lap 157, with Keselowski spinning Hamlin's Toyota in Turn 1 to bring out the sixth and final caution of the race.

"That's 25 -- 25 (career Nationwide) wins," said Edwards, who beat runner-up Kevin Harvick to the finish line by 2.415 seconds. "I know Kyle's almost clinched the championship, but that's what we came here to do, to win this race."

Reed Sorenson ran third in Todd Braun's No. 32 Toyota, followed by Clint Bowyer and Keselowski.

Busch's clinching prospects were in jeopardy early in the race, after he spun the No. 18 Toyota off Turn 2 in front of Clint Bowyer's No. 29 Chevrolet on Lap 7. Busch tagged the outside wall with the right rear of his car and the inside wall with the left front.

Busch's team worked on the car on pit road and got Busch back on the track before he lost a lap. After restarting 35th, Busch worked his way to 12th in the running order by Lap 30 of 200. Busch ran as high as fourth before the final caution but faded to ninth at the finish.

With Edwards winning and leading the most laps, Busch needed to finish seventh or better to lock up the title.

Asked about the early-race spin, Busch gave a terse explanation.

"I was driving a bucket of (expletive)," he said.

Keselowski and Hamlin had a lot more to say after the race, thanks to the Lap 157 incident that started with Hamlin bumping Keselowski and ducking beneath him. Keselowski retaliated in the corner and turned Hamlin's No. 20 Toyota.

Hamlin kept the car off the wall but had to pit and restarted at the back of the field on Lap 164. He finished 12th.

"On the last restart there, Denny got into the back of me and pushed me up the track," Keselowski said. "I was going to return the favor. When he did it to me, I saved it. When I did it to him, he didn't save it. We just got into a pushing match. I don't really hold any grudges. I don't know why he wanted to do that. But whatever, that's just how racing, is I guess.

"To me, I was over it. I'm focused on running the No. 88 Junior Motorsports car and trying to run up front, chase down Carl (for second in the standings) and finish second in points. I haven't put a lot of thought into (the rivalry), but apparently he has."

Hamlin implied he'd have a shot at revenge in next Saturday's race.

"I can sit here and bash him for the next 20 seconds or so and give you all a bunch of sound bites," Hamlin said, "but I'm just happy that I signed up for next week's Nationwide race, and you know in turn, there's a lot of guys that owe him. There's a lot of guys that have a lot of chips that they're going to cash in, I'm just going to be the first to the pay window.''

Later on, after Hamlin spoke to NASCAR president Mike Helton, the two drivers had what USA Today reporter Nate Ryan described as an animated but civil discussion.

Results

FIN ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 2 60 Carl Edwards Ford Valvoline / O'Reilly Auto Parts 195/10 200 Running
2 3 33 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Rheem Solar Water Heaters 170/0 200 Running
3 10 32 Reed Sorenson Toyota Dollar General 165/0 200 Running
4 5 29 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet Holiday Inn / Holiday Inn Express 160/0 200 Running
5 17 88 Brad Keselowski Chevrolet GoDaddy.com 160/5 200 Running
6 9 6 David Ragan Ford Discount Tire 150/0 200 Running
7 12 16 Matt Kenseth Ford CitiFinancial 146/0 200 Running
8 8 11 Mike Bliss Toyota Ridemakerz 142/0 200 Running
9 4 18 Kyle Busch Toyota NOS Energy Drink 138/0 200 Running
10 15 66 Steve Wallace Chevrolet US Fidelis 134/0 200 Running
11 16 27 Jason Keller Ford Scott Tissue / Huggies 130/0 200 Running
12 1 20 Denny Hamlin Toyota GameStop 132/5 200 Running
13 20 1 James Buescher Chevrolet Miccosukee Resort & Gaming 124/0 200 Running
14 37 99 Trevor Bayne Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 121/0 200 Running
15 31 40 Scott Wimmer Chevrolet Stop Repair Bills.com 118/0 200 Running
16 11 12 Justin Allgaier * Dodge Verizon Wireless 115/0 200 Running
17 24 28 Kenny Wallace Chevrolet U.S. Border Patrol 112/0 200 Running
18 19 10 David Reutimann Toyota Beringer Vineyards 109/0 200 Running
19 32 62 Brendan Gaughan * Chevrolet 5-Hour Energy Extra Strength 106/0 200 Running
20 14 15 Michael Annett * Toyota Pilot Travel Centers / Germain.com 103/0 198 Running
21 25 234 Tony Raines Chevrolet Long John Silver's 100/0 198 Running
22 40 01 Mike Wallace Chevrolet NuTone Heating & Cooling Products 97/0 197 Running
23 28 09 John Wes Townley * Ford Zaxby's 94/0 197 Running
24 35 26 Kevin Conway Chevrolet Extenze 91/0 196 Running
25 26 196 Michael McDowell * Dodge K Automotive Performance 88/0 195 Running
26 29 183 John Borneman III Ford Twisted X Boots / Red Line Oil 85/0 194 Running
27 6 38 Jason Leffler Toyota Great Clips 82/0 187 Running
28 38 24 Eric McClure Ford Hefty 79/0 158 Running
29 43 0 Jeremy Clements Chevrolet Saxon Group 76/0 96 Running
30 7 198 Paul Menard Ford Richmond / Menards 73/0 95 In Pit
31 33 31 Nick Joanides Chevrolet M3 -- Matthews Mobile Media 70/0 95 Running
32 39 23 Ken Butler III * Chevrolet Aaron's Outdoors Mossy Oak 67/0 86 Out of Race
33 27 58 Josh Wise Chevrolet Cavi Clothing / Macy's 64/0 65 In Pit
34 22 49 Mark Green Chevrolet Juggle.com 61/0 49 Running
35 30 07 Danny O'Quinn Jr. Chevrolet Dynamic Technology 58/0 29 Running
36 21 87 Joe Nemechek Chevrolet Lowery Plumbing 55/0 26 Running
37 18 37 Kevin Hamlin Ford Baker Curb Racing 52/0 17 Running
38 41 81 Alex Tagliani Dodge Quebec Dodge Dealer Association 49/0 14 Running
39 13 91 Terry Cook * Chevrolet MSRP Motorsports 46/0 12 Running
40 23 90 Johnny Chapman Chevrolet MSRP Motorsports 43/0 10 Running
41 36 85 Casey Atwood Chevrolet 31-W Insulation / CertainTeed 40/0 4 Running
42 34 192 Dennis Setzer Dodge Dusty's Collision 37/0 3 Out of Race
43 42 47 Chris Cook Toyota Construction Jobs.com 34/0 1 Running

* Denotes Rookie

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