Edwards wins in Nationwide Series

Saturday, August 16, 2008 | 8:09 p.m. CDT; updated 9:07 p.m. CDT, Saturday, August 16, 2008

BROOKLYN, Mich. — Carl Edwards took the lead in the pits, then drove away with his first NASCAR Nationwide Series victory Saturday at Michigan International Speedway.
      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 on the 2-mile oval.
      “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 Sunday’s Cup race. “We feel like every race we’ve been in we’ve led, but we haven’t led the right lap.”
      Asked what the difference was between Edwards’ Ford and his Toyota, Vickers said, “I really feel like it was the power difference between the Ford and the Toyotas with the new (restrictor) plate. Carl just got too far out ahead of us at the end and we didn’t have enough time.”
      Stewart wound up 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, wound up 10th and saw both Edwards and Brad Keselowski chop into his margin. Edwards, who has 16 Nationwide victories, is 113 points behind Bowyer, while Keselowski, who finished 11th, is 132 behind heading into Bristol next week.
      “It was a fun day,” said Stewart, making his last Nationwide start with Joe Gibbs Racing. “I never thought it would be such a big deal, but it has been. It’s not like I’ll never see these guys again, but I know this is the last time I’m going to work with this particular group of guys.”
      Stewart, who will leave the Gibbs team at the end of the season to become an owner-driver in Cup with Stewart-Haas Racing, finished his Nationwide season with five wins and eight top-10s in nine races.

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