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Edwards wins in Texas, reduces points deficit

NASCAR Sprint Cup
Sunday, November 02, 2008

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Edwards' Roush crew gives him quick service on his way to another win
John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR
"It ain't over til it's over," baseball legend Yogi Berra once said.

NASCAR driver Carl Edwards is a believer.

The Missouri native, who cut his racing teeth on dirt tracks throughout the Midwest, dominated the field Sunday to win the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

A huge, sun-baked crowd watched Edwards skillfully cut into Jimmie Johnson's lead in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship with two races to go in the 2008 season.

Edwards coaxed his Roush Ford home on fumes ahead of the field after a series of caution flags put him behind when all the top-running cars took two tires while Edwards took four.

While those cars had to stop for gas, Edwards stayed on the track and held off on the gas pedal for the final dozen laps.

He trimmed some of Johnson's point lead, starting the day 183 points behind, and ending the day 106 points behind. Johnson managed to finish 15th, which was his worst performance in this championship run. He is trying to make it three in a row, which would make him the first driver since Cale Yarborough did it 30 years ago, back in the Junior Johnson days.

It was Edwards' eighth win of the year and the Office Depot driver charged around the 1-1/2-mile trioval as if his Ford was on rails.

Jeff Gordon finished second, also gambling on going the distance at the end without stopping for gas.

Trailing Edwards and Gordon were Jamie McMurray, Clint Bowyer, Greg Biffle, Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex, Jr., Matt Kenseth and David Reutimann.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr., wound up 20th.

The win was Ford's 10th of the season and has sparked interest in the NASCAR Manufacturer's Championship with Chevrolet and Toyota also holding 10 wins for the year. The circuit heads to Phoenix, Ariz., next week before winding up at Homestead-Miami Speedway the following weekend.

Pole-sitter Gordon shot under the green flag at the start and built a sizeable lead over Bowyer. Young Brad Keselowski flirted with the third turn retaining wall within a few laps of the start but managed to keep his machine out of harm's way. Bowyer, in the meantime, reeled in Gordon and passed him for the lead on the 16th lap. Earnhardt, who started fifth, passed Gordon a straightaway later.

Reutimann was impressive early as was Juan Pablo Montoya, both moving quickly into the top 10 spots.

By lap 30, Reutimann had moved from 12th to second behind Bowyer. Edwards had moved from 16th to third and Montoya had raced from 26th to 10th.

It was Bowyer, Reutimann, Edwards, McMurray and Earnhardt out front, followed by Gordon, Matt Kenseth, Johnson, Biffle and Montoya.

Reutimann took the lead from Bowyer on lap 49. Once the leaders pitted, Bowyer regained the lead over Edwards and Reutimann.

On lap 57, Reed Sorenson had engine problems and brought out the caution for the first time. 

When the race resumed on lap 65, it was Edwards out front and Bowyer second. Biffle was next, followed by McMurray, Reutimann, Montoya, Gordon, Truex, Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne and Kenseth. Earnhardt dropped to 16th by making an extra stop, and Johnson dropped back to 21st. 

On lap 96, leader Edwards put points leader Johnson a lap behind. Johnson apparently had some sort of problem but maintained radio silence. After the next round of pit stops, Johnson went back out in 30th position but was still not making much progress catching the leaders. 

Edwards was clearly the class of the field and had moved into position by lap 143 to put a lap on two-time champion Tony Stewart, who got his lap back one lap later when the second caution of the day waved, making Stewart the "lucky dog" winner.

The race was restarted on lap 148 with Edwards still in front. Biffle trailed followed by McMurray, Brian Vickers, Bowyer, Kyle Busch, Reutimann, Montoya, Truex and David Ragan.

Edwards had a five-second lead at the halfway point. Johnson was running 23rd one lap down.

Results

FIN

ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 16 99 Carl Edwards Ford Office Depot 195/10 334 Running
2 1 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet Nicorette / DuPont 175/5 334 Running
3 4 26 Jamie McMurray Ford Crown Royal 170/5 334 Running
4 3 07 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet Jack Daniel's 165/5 334 Running
5 19 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M 160/5 334 Running
6 29 18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M's 155/5 334 Running
7 23 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Shell / Pennzoil 146/0 334 Running
8 2 1 Martin Truex Jr. Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Tracker 142/0 334 Running
9 6 17 Matt Kenseth Ford DEWALT 138/0 334 Running
10 12 44 David Reutimann Toyota UPS 139/5 334 Running
11 18 6 David Ragan Ford AAA 130/0 334 Running
12 20 8 Mark Martin Chevrolet U.S. Army 127/0 334 Running
13 38 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet AT&T Mobility 124/0 333 Running
14 14 5 Casey Mears Chevrolet CARQUEST / Kellogg's 121/0 333 Running
15 7 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's / Kobalt Tools 118/0 333 Running
16 8 20 Tony Stewart Toyota The Home Depot 115/0 333 Running
17 17 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Office 112/0 333 Running
18 13 83 Brian Vickers Toyota Red Bull 114/5 332 Running
19 37 25 Brad Keselowski Chevrolet GoDaddy.com 106/0 332 Running
20 5 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet AMP Energy / National Guard 108/5 332 Running
21 24 347 Marcos Ambrose Toyota Little Debbie 100/0 332 Running
22 11 15 Paul Menard Chevrolet Johns Manville / Menards 97/0 332 Running
23 21 77 Sam Hornish Jr. * Dodge Penske Truck Rental 94/0 332 Running
24 28 9 Kasey Kahne Dodge Budweiser 91/0 331 Running
25 10 66 Scott Riggs Chevrolet State Water Heaters 88/0 331 Running
26 36 10 A.J. Allmendinger Dodge Country Crock Spread 85/0 331 Running
27 15 55 Michael Waltrip Toyota NAPA AUTO PARTS 82/0 331 Running
28 31 12 Ryan Newman Dodge Alltel 79/0 331 Running
29 41 22 Dave Blaney Toyota Caterpillar 76/0 331 Running
30 32 96 Ken Schrader Toyota DLP HDTV 73/0 331 Running
31 39 21 Bill Elliott Ford Little Debbie 70/0 330 Running
32 42 28 Travis Kvapil Ford Academy Sports + Outdoors 67/0 330 Running
33 33 84 Scott Speed Toyota Red Bull 64/0 330 Running
34 25 01 Regan Smith * Chevrolet DEI / Principal Financial Group 61/0 329 Running
35 30 19 Elliott Sadler Dodge Stanley Tools 58/0 329 Running
36 22 7 Robby Gordon Dodge MAPEI / Menards 55/0 329 Running
37 9 41 Reed Sorenson Dodge Target 52/0 328 Running
38 27 78 Joe Nemechek Chevrolet Furniture Row Racing 49/0 328 Running
39 35 43 Bobby Labonte Dodge Cheerios / Betty Crocker 46/0 328 Running
40 43 202 Joey Logano Toyota The Home Depot 43/0 327 Running
41 40 2 Kurt Busch Dodge Miller Lite 40/0 267 Engine
42 34 38 David Gilliland Ford CitiFinancial 37/0 266 Parked
43 26 42 Juan Montoya Dodge Texaco / Havoline 34/0 262 Accident

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