FT. WORTH - Runaway points leader Carl Edwards finally wrapped up his first NASCAR Busch Series championship Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway.
Edwards, a Columbia native who built a lead of more than 800 points in the first half of the season, stumbled through the second half of the year before putting away the title with an 11th-place run in the O’Reilly Challenge. He leads runner-up David Reutimann by an insurmountable 552 points with two races to go. Kevin Harvick won Saturday’s race.
“It’s really amazing to be a Busch Series champion,” said Edwards, who has won four times season. “I can’t tell you how exciting that is and what it means to me.”
Team owner Jack Roush was relieved that Edwards got it done Saturday.
“The rhythms in this business will just drive you crazy,” Roush said. “We had an unbelievable start to the year and, of course, it was unbelievable and we had to give a lot of it back. It means a lot to me to see Carl win his first championship in NASCAR.
“We were a better race team than we looked like at the end with crashes and parts and things breaking. Those guys definitely deserve that championship and I’m happy for them.
Edwards, a Nextel Cup regular who has done double duty all season, finished third in the Busch Series as a rookie in 2005 and was runner-up to fellow Cup star Harvick last year.
For a while, it seemed as if he might blow the huge lead.
“We just had a lot of bad luck,” Edwards said. “I just couldn’t believe it. I’ll never forget Kentucky (in June). We were dominant, a half-second faster than the field, and I had already picked who I was going to give the trophy to. We had it won and got wrecked there and it just seemed like it wouldn’t stop after that.
“But I’m just glad we could overcome that and just go on and win this championship.”