Tuesday, September 16, 2008

NASCAR notes: Edwards win Nationwide race *Nick Lachey*

Carl Edwards celebrated his Richmond triumph, a victory that put him in second place in the Nationwide standings.
Carl Edwards celebrated his Richmond triumph, a victory that put him in second place in the Nationwide standings.
RICHMOND, Va. | Carl Edwards seems fairly determined to turn this year’s Nationwide series championship competition into a Kansas vs. Missouri affair.

Edwards, a native of Columbia, won Sunday night’s race at Richmond International Raceway and moved into second place in the standings. The victory also moved him to within 207 points of leader Clint Bowyer, a native of Emporia, Kan.

“For sure,” Edwards said when asked whether he thinks he may be moving toward a second straight championship. “Just one or two bad races on Clint’s part” would do it. “I feel good about it. We just have to keep running like this.”

Bowyer led most of the race — 195 of 250 laps. Some of those leads were by several seconds.

But cautions and restarts kept negating the big leads.

With 28 laps to go, Bowyer’s car got loose in a turn, bobbled, and Edwards blew past.

“It was essentially a gift,” Edwards said of the victory. “Clint got loose.”

Bowyer said of not being able to hold the lead: “It (stinks), but it is what it is.”

Brad Keselowski, who started the night in second place, 204 points behind Bowyer, had a much worse night than Bowyer. He finished 21st and dropped 279 points behind Bowyer in the standings.

ACCIDENTAL BUMP: In the May Sprint Cup race at Richmond, Kyle Busch tapped Dale Earnhardt Jr. as the two were battling for the lead.

Sunday, Earnhardt tapped Busch under much the same circumstance. Payback?

No, Earnhardt said, but ironic.

“Not on purpose, as much as I would like to take credit for it,” he said.

Busch said, “Was that revenge? Who knows?”

A DISTRACTION: Edwards had a blank look on his face after Sunday’s Sprint Cup race. He looked as if he didn’t know whether he should be smiling or frowning. Finally, he decided on smiling. No, he was not happy with his 13th-place finish, but he became very happy when he talked about how he could have had a much worse finish.

Edwards suffered a variety of problems in the race. He cut a tire and lost a lap and nearly got involved in wrecks in front of him. But, he battled back and got the decent finish.

“I think today was a good example of how our team could work with a little bit of adversity and under pressure,” he said.

And he avoided disaster of what he figured was a plot by Jimmie Johnson. Edwards said he looked up in the stands during warm-ups and saw Johnson’s good friend, singer Nick Lachey, flashing his bare chest at him.

“I didn’t need that before the race,” Edwards said.

A BAD SPIN: On lap 122, David Ragan appeared to be in strong position to unseat Clint Bowyer as the 12th and final Chase driver. But on that lap, his car spun and took the car of teammate Matt Kenseth with it.

There was speculation that he had run over something on the track, perhaps fluid.

Ragan said he just spun the car.

GOOD DAY FOR REUTIMANN: There appears to be signs of life at Michael Waltrip Racing. David Reutimann on Sunday logged his second straight top-10 finish by bring his Waltrip car home ninth. In addition, Reutimann led a race-best 104 laps.

To reach Jim Pedley, motorsports reporter for The Star, call 816-234-4860 or send e-mail to jpedley@kcstar.com