Edwards makes all the right moves and wins
Carl Edwards took the lead in the pits, then drove away Saturday for his first NASCAR Nationwide Series victory at Michigan International Speedway and his 16th overall series win.
The reigning series champion was trailing fellow Sprint Cup star Tony Stewart when the leaders drove onto pit road under a caution flag on Lap 93. Edwards, driving a Ford for Roush Fenway Racing, came out in front and easily led to the end of the 125-lap race.
“I’m just so happy that we won this thing,” Edwards said after doing his traditional victory backflip off his car. “We’ve been close before. I don’t know if we would have been able to get by Tony or not. He was pretty quick.
“The car was awesome all day. There were a couple of cars that were real fast . . . Tony and Brian Vickers. But my pit crew just did a great job there at the end. I don’t know what kind of problem Tony had on pit road, but it was sure a lot easier to pass him there than it would have been on the racetrack.”
It was the 19th victory for team co-owner Jack Roush at Michigan, but the first in the series previously sponsored by Busch since 1998.
“We’ve certainly had more than our share of good finishes here, and it seems like it’s a track where we always race well,” said Roush, whose headquarters are in nearby Livonia. “It’s a very good feeling.”
Edwards, who led a race-high 71 laps on the way to his third Nationwide victory of the season, was nearly 3.5 seconds ahead of runner-up Vickers before Danny Efland crash at the start of the last lap. The race finished under caution.
“You don’t want to come across greedy, but I’m getting sick and tired of not winning one of these races,” said Vickers, who will start from the pole in today’s Sprint Cup race. “We feel like every race we’ve been in we’ve led, but we haven’t led the right lap.”
Stewart finished third, followed by Mark Martin, Greg Biffle, Mike Bliss and 18-year-old rookie Joey Logano.
Series leader Clint Bowyer, who collided with David Reutimann as they battled for fourth place late in the race, finished 10th and saw both Edwards and Brad Keselowski gain ground in the standings. Edwards is 113 points behind Bowyer, and Keselowski, who finished 11th, is 132 behind.
Tim Huddleston held off the challenge of Nick Joanides during the final laps of the race, holding on to win the NASCAR Auto Club Late Model 40-lap feature at Toyota Speedway in Irwindale.
Huddleston beat Joanides to the finish line by 0.104 of a second and moved to within two points of tying him for the division points lead.
Starting on the pole, Kyle LeDuc won the Pro 4 feature race during the ninth round of the 2008 Championship Off-Road Racing season at Fairplex in Pomona.
Mat Mladin raced to his fifth straight AMA Superbike victory and eighth of the season, beating Rockstar Makita Suzuki teammate Ben Spies by 8.382 seconds at Alton, Va.