NASCAR: Carl Edwards' crew wrong

Updated: May 1, 2012, 8:29 PM ET
By David Newton | ESPN.com

CONCORD, N.C. -- NASCAR's vice president for competition says there is radio communication supporting that Carl Edwards was second behind Tony Stewart when Saturday night's Sprint Cup race was restarted with 81 laps remaining.

Edwards argued his spotter was told by a NASCAR official that he was the leader just before the restart when explaining why he was black-flagged for jumping the restart.

The confusion was on their part. That's something they have to work on in their communication. ... But multiple times during that last lap it was repeated 14-99 (Stewart-Edwards) from more than one source.

-- Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president for competition

The pass-through penalty ended any chances Edwards, who led a race-high 206 laps, had of winning the race eventually won by Kyle Busch.

"The confusion was on their part," NASCAR's Robin Pemberton said on Tuesday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway. "That's something they have to work on in their communication. We work with the crew chiefs, and if the crew chief thought there was something, the crew chief would have radioed us.

"But multiple times during that last lap it was repeated 14-99 (Stewart-Edwards) from more than one source."

Edwards met with officials after the race to further argue that spotter Jason Hedlesky "told me I was the leader" as they came to the box where the leader by rule restarts the race.

Pemberton said that was a mistake by the spotter. Edwards was several car lengths ahead of Stewart when they got to the start line.

"We weren't confused, and they weren't confused," Pemberton said at a promotion featuring the 1992 All-Star race at CMS, the first race run under the lights here. "We have audio of them and more than once (Edwards) was told by their spotter they were in second place.

"Just before the restart, he (spotter) came over the radio and said, 'You're the leader,' for whatever reason. If he was confused because of the scoreboard, that could have been the only thing."

The scoreboard did at one point on the last lap before the restart show Edwards in the lead as he tripped scoring loops scrubbing his tires. Pemberton said nothing happened that would cause NASCAR to look at changing rules to make sure another such incidents happens in the future.

Matt Kenseth, Edwards' teammate at Roush Fenway Racing, said the matter did come up in the team debriefing.

"Carl seemed to have a pretty good sense of humor, because when we got all done he said he thought his restarts were pretty good," Kenseth said with a smile.

Kenseth didn't see the restart, but he was puzzled by all the confusion.

"If there is a guy in front of you, and he's right behind the pace car and you're right behind that guy, I would think it would be kind of obvious when they give one to go and you double up (leader get to pick a lane)," Kenseth said.

Kenseth had a situation earlier this season at Bristol where he beat leader Brad Keselowski to the line by inches.

"You guys have done a real good job of not calling close ones, because people do play with that," Kenseth told Pemberton. "If it's five car lengths, then you probably should call it."

On another somewhat controversial issue, Pemberton said there was an aluminum object -- "a beer can or something" -- on the track in addition to the water bottle that Stewart said brought out the final caution with 14 laps to go.

Pemberton had no issue with the caution coming out that allowed Busch to beat Stewart off pit road and win the race. He is not of the opinion that debris should be tagged or displayed for media and/or fans to see to prove it actually existed.

"Sometimes some people are a little more needy than others and they want to see that for whatever reason," Pemberton said. "And whatever their thought process and beliefs with the governing body, they think they need proof."

David Newton | email

ESPN Carolina Panthers reporter

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