Edwards Ideal At Kentucky Speedway
On an ideal night for racing, Roush Racing rookie Carl Edwards drove an ideal NASCAR Busch Series race and brought home his second career Kentucky Speedway win in "The Meijer 300 Presented by Oreo" in front of a sellout crowd of 70,114.
Edwards, who set the series track qualifying record at 181.287 mph after returning from NEXTEL Cup Series qualifying at Michigan earlier in the afternoon, led 150 of 200 race laps.
"I didn't know I was going to be that dominant until I dropped the green flag," Edwards said. "In practice we were really good, but the car was just awesome (in the race)."
Despite the dominant performance, he needed help from three caution periods in the closing 13 laps to track down and pass race runner-up Martin Truex, Jr., on the inside in Turn 3 following a restart on Lap 199.
"I couldn't see the green flag too well against the crowd, but my spotter said 'green, green, green' and I was like, sorry Martin, I'm going to go. When we drove down into the corner Martin did a great job of making his car go as fast as mine. I just got a little better run off the second corner and got next to him. He raced me really clean and Martin's a great driver, so it's great to be able to beat him like that."
The late race scenario was set up during the eighth caution period on Lap 169 when the No. 32 WINFUEL Chevrolet of Chad Blount and the No. 10 ppc Racing Ford driven by Michel Jourdain, Jr., made contact with the Turn 4 wall.
Edwards surrendered the race lead to Truex, Jr., by pitting the No. 60 Charter Communications Ford to take on tires, fuel and make a track bar adjustment. "All the (pit stop) calls are generally by committee, but I was the one who said 'let's pit,'" Edwards said. "We were leading the race and I felt if it went green and most of guys pitted behind me we would not win the race.
"I felt if we pitted, I had enough faith in my crew that if everybody came, we would come out first, still be great and we would win the race.
"If we were the only ones to pit and we came out 15th, I still felt like we would win with new tires. The only option was to pit in my mind, but it definitely wasn't the best option if there weren't the cautions. Martin would've won the race." With Truex, Jr., in the lead, Edwards restarted the race 11th on Lap 174 and was fifth by Lap 175.
The race went to caution again on Lap 187 when Greg Biffle's No. 66 Duraflame Ford made contact with the wall attempting to pass the No. 38 Great Clips Dodge of Tyler Walker in Turn 2. The race restarted on Lap 193 and Edwards moved from fourth to second after passing Reed Sorenson in Turn 2 and Clint Bowyer in Turn 3.
Biffle hit the Turn 3 wall on Lap 195 to force a series track record 10th caution period and set up the Lap 199 restart.
Edwards took his third win, sixth top-five and 10th top-10 finish of the season by .690 of a second. He joins Kyle Busch as the only drivers to win in different series at Kentucky Speedway. He will attempt to win Busch and NEXTEL Cup Series races on the same weekend for the second time this season when he starts 23rd at Michigan International Speedway tomorrow.
Truex, Jr., earned his seventh top-five and ninth top-10 finish of the season and his third top-five and fourth top-10 finish in his last three starts.
Clint Bowyer finished third and scored his second straight top-two finish in his No. 2 AC Delco Chevrolet, Reed Sorenson was fourth in the No. 41 Discount Tire Co. Dodge and Paul Menard was fifth in the No. 11 Menards/Moen Chevrolet.
The speedway continues it's season on July 8-9 when the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series contests "The Built Ford Tough 225 Presented by The Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers" and the ARCA RE/MAX Series does battle in "The Channel 5 150."
~ Kentucky Speedway ~