Johnson says Edwards cheated to win

Jimmie Johnson was none too pleased with #99-Carl Edwards for the way Edwards restarted the race prior to the final two laps of the Subway Fresh Fit 500 on Sunday. Edwards responded to the accusations with incredulity. Who, me? Was it was some postrace gamesmanship or just matter-of-fact truthfulness? It's hard to say just exactly what happened on lap 315 of the 316-lap event at Phoenix International Raceway, which Edwards won.

"I felt like Carl didn't follow the restart protocol and was slower than the pace car on his last two restarts, and it gives the leader a huge advantage when that happens," Johnson said. "You're supposed to wait until you get between the two lines and take off and this was all going on before it. You're supposed to maintain the speed of the pace car, so I maintained the speed of the pace car and the 99 (of Edwards) is dropping back."

Au contraire, Edwards says. He believes Johnson was speeding up. "I thought, 'Man, he's playing some kind of trick, he's speeding up,'" Edwards said about the final restart. "I thought, 'What's he doing? Usually the guy in second hangs back a little bit and tries to watch, and he pulled up there, and I thought, 'Man, why is he doing that.' Yeah, so maybe I was slowing down, but I wasn't trying to."
Part of the advantage of being the leader is being able to dictate how the race restarts. If NASCAR believes a driver is not adhering to the rules, it often will admonish the driver and warn that any recurrences during the race will result in a penalty. NASCAR never warned Edwards on Sunday. Sporting News [Mordichai Rosen writes: If he did cheat to win NASCAR wasn't going to take away the win or penalize him because it was the Subway car winning the Subway race.]

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