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Carl Edwards sweeps Michigan weekend

by Tim Wohlford
Sunday, August 17, 2008

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Carl Edwards celebrates his 2nd win of the weekend at MIS
Mark Scheuern/AutoRacing1
Carl Edwards swept the weekend, winning the 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway.  Edwards won a 2-lap shootout with Kyle Busch, who finished second.  Roush cars finished first, third, fourth, sixth and twelfth, running Roush's Cup win total at MIS to eleven in the process.

Michigan's NASCAR races are sometimes an acquired taste.  Dale Jarrett, for instance, ran the entire June, 1999 NASCAR race without a caution lap, and only two lead changes (both when Jarrett pitted the first time).  For a while, the 3M Performance 400 looked like that kind of race.  With the exception of a massive "oil pan failure" on Marcus Ambrose's car on lap 19, the first 85 laps ran pretty much according to Michigan's reputation.  Dale Earnhardt looked strong in the early going, and it looked like he was resuming his June MIS run, where he won the race (albeit on a mileage strategy).

On lap 85, Paul Menard and Ryan Newman got together, with Newman's car spinning Dave Blaney. Blaney's car went on two wheels before hitting the wall, and while he drove it back to the garage, his day was over.  Blaney finished 41st, Menard finished 24th, and Newman finished 21st. 

The green flag flew on lap 89, but on lap 91 Jimmie Johnson got getting sandwiched between Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon.  Johnson was forced to the pit for new tires, and went one lap down.  Johnson almost got his lap back when, on lap 97, Jeff Gordon's damaged tire deflated, causing him to whack the wall.  Gordon finished 42nd, Stewart 12th, with neither challenging for the lead all day.  Johnson got his lap back, but was spun on the last lap of the race and finished 17th, the last car on the lead lap.

When the green flew on lap 101, Carl Edwards was in the lead, followed by Greg Biffle, Kyle Busch, Brian Vickers and David Ragan.  Edwards stayed in the lead until pit stops some 40 laps later, but regained the lead when the pit stops cycled through.  The lead, however, was short-lived as Kyle Busch passed Edwards a lap later, and held it for the next 25 laps when he lost it under yellow flag pit stops (for debris from Jeff Gordon's car).

The green flag flew again on lap 169, and Kyle quickly went around Brian Vickers into the lead, with Carl Edwards followed him into second.  Pole-sitter Vickers had a strong run all day, and even lead 21 laps, but didn't seem to have the horsepower to match the Roush cars nor Kyle's engine.  Vickers finished 7th.  "The track continued to get looser and looser and we didn't keep up with it quite as fast as we needed to... We over-adjusted for the two tires and it was too tight at the end to really do anything.  Now we're disappointed — or at least, I am."

Kurt Busch cut a tire after contact with another car on lap 170, but managed to keep it off of the wall and no caution flag flew.  However, a few laps later another debris caution, and both Edwards and Kyle pitted.  When the pit stops were done, David Ragan was in the lead, followed by Dale Earnhardt, Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch.  Kurt Busch finished 36th, three laps down.

The green flag flew with 18 laps to go, and Earnhardt immediately hit the wall in turn 4.  Earnhardt limped it to the pits, but brought out the caution a few laps later when his wounded machine shed some debris.  Earnhardt finished a disappointing 23rd after leading 43 laps. 

On lap 190 the green flag flew again, and for a few short laps Edwards and Kyle Busch put on a great race, only to have it interrupted when Denny Hamlin's car lost all of its expensive engine smoke on lap 194.  Hamlin finished 39th. 

The race ended in a 2-lap shootout, but Edwards got a great start and Kyle never had a chance to catch him.  The last lap, however, saw Matt Kenseth bounce off the wall to pass Mark Martin for fifth, as well as a spin by Jimmy Johnson into the infield. 

Carl Edwards had a magical weekend.  He won the Saturday Nationwide race, he was fastest in final Cup practice, and he won today's race.  Best of all, he did it all in the event that is called, "Jack's Daytona 500."

-  Robbie Gordon had an electrical fire during the race.  "I looked down and saw smoke coming from the dash — then a puff of flame.  I grabbed my water bottle and poured it on the fire to put it out.  It was crazy."  Then again, Robbie, most people think that 1000 miles in the Baja, or racing from Paris to Dakar, is pretty crazy too. 

-  Michigan is always a horsepower track.  Every race, NASCAR brings around a chassis dyno, and the songs of motors being twisted to bits echoes through the empty stands after each race.  Joe Gibbs Racing no doubt knew that they'd be tested, and someone on that team placed a small magnet under the accelerator pedal to keep their Nationwide car from making full horsepower on that dyno.  JD Gibbs (Joe's son, and President of Joe Gibbs Racing) looked genuinely horrified as he held his press conference this morning.  The coming week will no doubt prove to be interesting — and expensive — for JGR, and one would bet that there are a couple of JGR people who will be posting their resumes on HotJobs. 

Results

FIN

ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 27 99 Carl Edwards Ford Office Depot 195/10 200 Running
2 11 18 Kyle Busch Toyota Interstate Batteries 175/5 200 Running
3 16 6 David Ragan Ford AAA Insurance 170/5 200 Running
4 9 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M 165/5 200 Running
5 14 17 Matt Kenseth Ford DEWALT 155/0 200 Running
6 15 8 Mark Martin Chevrolet U.S. Army 150/0 200 Running
7 1 83 Brian Vickers Toyota Red Bull 151/5 200 Running
8 38 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Shell / Pennzoil 142/0 200 Running
9 3 19 Elliott Sadler Dodge Stanley Tools 138/0 200 Running
10 18 26 Jamie McMurray Ford IRWIN Industrial Tools 134/0 200 Running
11 28 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet AT&T Mobility 135/5 200 Running
12 21 20 Tony Stewart Toyota The Home Depot 127/0 200 Running
13 26 28 Travis Kvapil Ford CARFAX 124/0 200 Running
14 7 44 David Reutimann Toyota UPS 121/0 200 Running
15 10 66 Scott Riggs Chevrolet Haas Automation 123/5 200 Running
16 25 1 Martin Truex Jr. Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Cub Cadet 115/0 200 Running
17 2 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's / Kobalt Tools 117/5 200 Running
18 29 5 Casey Mears Chevrolet Kellogg's / CARQUEST 109/0 199 Running
19 42 55 Michael Waltrip Toyota NAPA AUTO PARTS 106/0 199 Running
20 41 07 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet Jack Daniel's 103/0 199 Running
21 20 12 Ryan Newman Dodge Alltel 100/0 199 Running
22 23 77 Sam Hornish Jr. * Dodge Mobil 1 97/0 199 Running
23 4 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet National Guard / AMP Energy 99/5 199 Running
24 36 15 Paul Menard Chevrolet Moen / Menards 91/0 199 Running
25 19 42 Juan Montoya Dodge Texaco / Havoline 88/0 199 Running
26 40 38 David Gilliland Ford CitiFinancial 85/0 199 Running
27 35 43 Bobby Labonte Dodge Cheerios / Betty Crocker 82/0 199 Running
28 33 84 A.J. Allmendinger Toyota Red Bull 79/0 199 Running
29 8 01 Regan Smith * Chevrolet DEI / Principal Financial Group 76/0 199 Running
30 6 10 Patrick Carpentier * Dodge Tow Truck in a Box 73/0 199 Running
31 30 70 Tony Raines Chevrolet Haas Automation 70/0 199 Running
32 17 45 Terry Labonte Dodge Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil 67/0 198 Running
33 31 41 Reed Sorenson Dodge Target 64/0 198 Running
34 34 78 Joe Nemechek Chevrolet Furniture Row Racing 61/0 198 Running
35 22 00 Mike Skinner Toyota Champion Mortgage 58/0 198 Running
36 13 2 Kurt Busch Dodge Miller Lite 55/0 197 Running
37 12 7 Robby Gordon Dodge Jim Beam 52/0 197 Running
38 43 96 Brad Coleman Toyota DLP HDTV 49/0 197 Running
39 37 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Office 46/0 194 Engine
40 32 9 Kasey Kahne Dodge Budweiser 43/0 162 Engine
41 24 22 Dave Blaney Toyota Caterpillar 40/0 117 Accident
42 5 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet DuPont 37/0 111 Accident
43 39 21 Marcos Ambrose Ford Little Debbie 34/0 17 Engine

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