With three laps to go, Martin Truex used a three-wide pass on pole-sitter Carl Edwards and Johnny Sauter to take the lead and go on to win the Nextel Open on Saturday night in Concord, N.C. The Nextel Open is a 40-lap shootout for all drivers not already eligible for NASCAR’s All-Star Challenge race. The top two finishers and one other driver voted in by fans advanced to the main event. Sauter finished second and Kenny Wallace, who campaignedfor votes on television, won the vote. Truex slid up against the wall to squeeze his way into the front, taking the lead from Edwards, a Columbia native who had led the first 37 laps. It was the only lead change of the race. “The only chance I had was to get to the top groove and get around Carl,” Truex said. “If I didn’t get around Carl, then Johnny would have gotten by both of us. Awesome race, good job on my crew.” Edwards, who had promisedto donate all his winnings to charity, was disappointed. “It’s just so frustrating to have a lead like that and then just have the car get so tight, but that’s the way it goes,” Edwards said. “It was just extremely, extremely tight. That’s it. If I could make an adjustment, I’d raise the track bar 10 rounds. It was that tight.”
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