Edwards Wins CARFAX 250
If the Summer Olympics ever come up with a gymnastics event that pits athletes doing back flips from the side windows of their automobile while wearing helmets and neck stabilizers, certainly Carl Edwards would be considered a heavy favorite for the Gold.
Edwards stuck his patented flip landing on Saturday, the degree of difficulty enhanced by wearing full gear in celebration of his victory in the NASCAR Nationwide CARFAX 250 at Michigan International Speedway.
“We ran great today,” Edwards said. “There were a couple of cars that were really fast. Tony (Stewart) was real fast and Brian Vickers was extremely fast. The changes my crew made were great and they made our car real fast for the final run, and Tony was having that trouble on pit road or whatever happened to him. It was sure a lot easier to pass him there (in the pits) than it would have been on the race track. We came out first, our guys did a great job and it went green the rest of the way.”
Stewart, who would finish third behind Vickers, was easily in the lead, almost eight seconds ahead of second-place Edwards with 33 laps remaining in the 125-lap event when Nationwide Points leader Clint Bowyer and David Reutimann came together, creating a caution.
All of the leaders pitted. Edwards came out first with Stewart wheeling out fourth. There was no catching Edwards after that with Stewart and Vickers battling hard for second.
It was Edwards’ third Nationwide victory of the year and first triumph at MIS. He won from the pole position to become only the second driver to accomplish that feat at MIS. The other was Jeff Burton in 1998.
The race ended under caution with the white flag already displayed to signal one lap remaining when Steve Wallace and Mark Green spun out.
“It was a good run, but to be quite honest with you, you don’t want to come across greedy but at the same time I’m getting sick and tired of not winning one of these race,” Vickers said. “I feel like every race that we’ve been in we’ve led, we just haven’t led at the right time.”
It was a bitter-sweet day for Stewart who said he had more fun than at any time he has raced at MIS over the years, but was depressed by the fact that it was his last Nationwide race for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2008.
“We had a good day and it’s been fun to run that car this year,” Stewart added “It’s one of those days when you’re sad the year is over from this standpoint but I’m so proud of (crew chief) Dave Rogers and all those guys. We got in a great battle. You could get two or three guys together and it got really racy, and I don’t think I’ve ever been a part of anything that was that much fun here at Michigan.”
The victory also moved Edwards into second place in the Nationwide Series points, just 113 behind leader, Bowyer, who finished 10th.
It was also the 19th victory for car-owner Jack Roush, including 10 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, five in the Nationwide Series and four in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
Mark Martin finished fourth, followed by Greg Biffle, Mike Bliss and young 18-year-old sensation Joey Logano. Logano was making his MIS debut.
After the race, Edwards gave his trophy to Eric Wright, grand marshal of the race and a Make-A-Wish kid.
Tickets are available for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 3M Performance 400 presented by Bondo by calling 800-354-1010 or visiting MISpeedway.com.