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Edwards beats Busch in Sprint All-Star race

by Pete McCole
Sunday, May 22, 2011


Busch and Edwards battle side-by-side
Carl Edwards gave the term “checkers or wreckers” a whole new meaning Saturday night in his victory in the NASCAR Sprint All Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Edwards led 29 laps including the entire final 10 lap segment, beating out Kyle Busch to win his first All Star Race and collect a $1million dollar payday as his car was dragged to Victory Lane by a tow truck after wrecking his no. 99 AFLAC Ford Fusion during a victory burnout through the infield grass.

David Reutimann as third, followed by Tony Stewart and Greg Biffle.

Edwards collected a total payout of $1.2 million for winning the race, as well as the second and third segments of the race. It was the first Charlotte win for Edwards in the Sprint Cup Series and the third all star win for Roush- Fenway Racing.

“That’s a million dollars.  We just won a million dollars.  It’s unbelievable,” said Edwards. “It’s unreal. I don’t think it’s sunk in yet.”

Edwards does his winning backflip
Edwards’ crew got him off pit road first for the final segment and Edwards did the rest, getting a god restart and pulling away for an easy victory over Busch, who is still searching for that first All Star win.

“My pit crew stepped up tonight.  They did an unreal job on that last stop,” said Edwards. “If we wouldn’t have come off pit road first, it would have been a very difficult race.  It took me about 10 laps to get by Kyle and those guys, so it would have been a very tough race, so those guys get a lot of credit for this win.”

As Edwards came to the frontstretch on his cool-down lap, he slid his car through the infield grass, catching the front clip in the turf. The car was tossed in the air, and came to rest just short of the start/finish line spewing fire and smoke.

“I messed up the car, guys – sorry about that,” Edwards said on his radio.

“I think some people would like to think that I’m smart enough and savvy enough to come up with some trick and then destroy it like that and make it look like it was an accident, but I’m not that smart,” said Edwards. “It just dug in the splitter and I didn’t expect that.  Bob (Osborne, crew chief) has been doing a really good job of keeping the splitter down.  It helps on the race track and it doesn’t help in the grass.  I guess that’s the bottom line.”

It was an all Roush-Fenway Racing all star race as the team swept both the Sprint Showdown with David Ragan - earning Ragan a transfer spot into the All Star field – then Roush-Fenway driver Greg Biffle won the opening 50-lap segment, collecting a $25,000 bonus.

The field came to pit road between segments with Edwards’s crew pulling off a two-tire stop to get him out in front to start the 20-lap second segment. Edwards would lead twice for 14 laps before winning the segment, earning $25,000.

On the restart, Edwards spun the tires, giving Kyle Busch an opening to take the lead, taking command for the next 15 laps before Edwards battled back.

With four laps to go in the third segment, Edwards managed to get alongside of Busch on the backstretch and made the pass for the lead coming through turn four, leading the remaining lap to capture the third segment and a $125,000 bonus.

After winning the third segment, Edwards led the entire field to pit road for a mandatory four-tire stop. Edwards' crew got him back out in front, followed by Busch, Biffle, Matt Kenseth - who jumped from seventh to fourth - and Reutimann.

On the last restart, Edwards got a good jump as Biffle dropped under Busch in a bid for second place, but Busch held him off to hold the second position.

The battle for second with Biffle killed Busch’s momentum, giving Edwards a half-straightaway cushion. Busch tried to close the gap in the final laps, but ended up five car-lengths behind Edwards at the finish.

It was only the second time in six starts that Kyle Busch even finished an All Star race, and the third runner-up finish for Joe Gibbs Racing in the million-dollar race.

“He (Carl Edwards) certainly had the best car tonight for sure,” said Busch. “There were some areas that we got by him on some restarts, but then he was able to get a good one there on that last one and kind of got too far away from me. 

“Just ran out of time catching him.  I was getting there, but just didn’t get there soon enough.  Maybe if it was another 20-lapper I would have been there. But, it wasn’t -- it was 10.  We finally finished one of these deals so we can learn off that and I can understand what I need to be better next year and try to win one.

Reutimann’s third-place run was his career-best finish in the all star event, coming at the same track where he earned his first victory in last year’s rain-shortened Coca Cola 600.

“We didn’t start very good,” said Reutimann. “But we kept plugging away. The key really was the last (pit) stop - the guys got me out fifth, but we just got outrun.”

Kenseth, Denny Hamlin, Ragan, Kevin Harvick and Ryan Newman made up the rest of the top ten. Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who won the Sprint Fan Vote to transfer into the all star field, finished 14th. 

Brad Keselowski, who raced his way into the All Star race with a runner-up finish in the Sprint Showdown, came home 18th after losing his brakes in the early laps of the all star race. 


1 4 99 Carl Edwards Ford Aflac "Now Hiring" 100 Running
2 1 18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M's 100 Running
3 18 00 David Reutimann Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 100 Running
4 6 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Burger King 100 Running
5 3 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M 100 Running
6 13 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Crown Royal 100 Running
7 15 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Express 100 Running
8 19 6 David Ragan Ford UPS "We Love Logistics" 100 Running
9 14 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Budweiser / Realtree 100 Running
10 10 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet Haas Automation 100 Running
11 11 5 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's 5% Every Day 100 Running
12 8 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Energizer 100 Running
13 16 22 Kurt Busch Dodge Shell / Pennzoil 100 Running
14 21 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet Dale Jr. Foundation / VH1 Save the Music / Amp Energy Sugar-Free / National Guard 100 Running
15 12 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet DuPont 100 Running
16 2 33 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet BB&T 100 Running
17 9 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / NWTF 100 Running
18 20 2 Brad Keselowski Dodge Miller Lite 99 Running
19 5 25 Mark Martin Chevrolet Farmers Insurance 93 Accident
20 17 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet Furniture Row Companies 90 Fuel Pump
21 7 4 Kasey Kahne Toyota Red Bull 59 Accident

Late Pass Gives Ragan Win In Sprint Showdown

CONCORD, N.C. — Polesitter David Ragan passed Brad Keselowski for the lead on the next-to-last lap of Saturday night's Sprint Showdown, as both drivers advanced to the Sprint All-Star Race that followed the 40-lap qualifier.

Marcos Ambrose came home third, followed by front-row starter AJ Allmendinger and Joey Logano, who started from the rear after changing engines.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. made a late pit stop to adjust the handling of his car and worked his way from 16th to sixth in the final 13 laps.

As expected, Earnhardt won the Sprint Fan Vote to claim the final position in the field for the All-Star Race.

Ragan led every lap of the first of two 20-lap segments but surrendered the top spot to Keselowski on the restart of the second segment, when Keselowski dived to the inside and passed both Ragan and Paul Menard before the cars reached Turn 1 on Lap 21.

Menard slipped past Ragan for the second position on Lap 23, and Keselowski, Menard and Ragan ran 1-2-3 until David Stremme's Chevrolet slammed the Turn 4 wall on Lap 27 to cause the third caution of the race.

Earnhardt, who had slipped back from the fourth spot, brought his No. 88 Chevy to the pits under the yellow for four tires and restarted 16th on Lap 28. The field didn't complete the lap before Brian Vickers spun in Turn 2 to bring out the fourth caution.

The restart, however, cost Menard, who fell back to 11th at the finish.

A frightening crash interrupted the Showdown barely more than two laps into the race. The left rear tire on Landon Cassill's Chevrolet blew as Cassill entered Turn 1. The car spun out of control and slid up the track into the path of Derrike Cope's Ford.

With nowhere to go, Cope broadsided Cassill in the driver's-side door, destroying both cars. Both drivers walked away from the wreck.   

Note: Kasey Kahne won the Pennzoil Ultra Victory Challenge burnout competition that preceded the race.

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