Saturday, October 1, 2011
Carl Edwards wins Dover N'wide race
DOVER, Del. -- Carl Edwards only stumbled on his back flip.
His race was as flawless as expected on concrete.
Edwards dominated again at Dover International Speedway, winning his seventh race of the season in the Nationwide Series. Edwards completed the season sweep having won the May race at Dover in a wild finish.
Carl Edwards celebrates with his crew in Victory Lane after winning the Nationwide race at Dover International Speedway. It was Edwards' seventh series win of the season.
He coasted on Saturday, leading 179 of the 200 laps at one of his favorite tracks in NASCAR. He's earned the nickname "Concrete Carl" because of his run of success on the concrete tracks.
"Concrete demands a perfect car and a perfect setup," Edwards said.
All he needs to work on is that perfect landing.
Edwards parked the No. 60 Ford on its high, slanted banking. He stumbled backward after his flip and had to catch himself before he took a total tumble. Edwards insisted he would not flip if he wins the Sprint Cup race Sunday.
"I was afraid I was going to need another driver for tomorrow," owner Jack Roush said.
Edwards recovered and made a dash for the stands, where he celebrated with his fans. Edwards even signed an autograph and described the joy he sees in the wide-eyed fans who can't believe one of the sport's biggest stars is in their row.
"I think other drivers should go up there and have some fun with it," Edwards said. "It's not my deal. It's something really neat that other drivers should try."
Edwards can get another chance Sunday. He qualified fourth earlier in the day and said his Cup car was better than the No. 60 in the second-tier series. He could surely use a victory to strengthen his push toward a first Cup championship.
Edwards is not eligible to win the Nationwide championship. He has top-two finishes in each of his last four races.
Brad Keselowski was second, Clint Bowyer third, and Kasey Kahne fourth. Points leader Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was fifth.
"We just got beat up on pretty fast," Bowyer said. "Carl was fast. He was the class of the field."
Because drivers had to pick the series they wanted to compete in for a championship, the Cup drivers aren't doing much more than running for wins and prize money. That's opened the door for Stenhouse to close in on his first Nationwide title.
Stenhouse, who drives for Roush, is anxious for that championship.
"We've got a race team that is pretty determined to win this thing," he said.
Roush said "it's not much fun" for Stenhouse down the stretch because of the conservative style he needs over the final races to maintain his lead. Roush said sponsorship money remains tight, but there was a chance Stenhouse could get some Cup time next season.
Stenhouse has a 22-point lead over Elliot Sadler with five races left. Sadler won his fourth pole of the season but finished 14th.
Edwards walked out with the Monster trophy, giving him one to pair with the one from May.
In that one, Joey Logano triggered a wreck-filled final lap that knocked out several contenders and let Edwards win the race.
"It was a lot less dramatic than the last one. That's good," Edwards said.
Less dramatic -- but with one little hitch in that flip.