Edwards again wins Nationwide race at TMS

Carl Edwards

Credit: AP Photo / Chris Graythen, POOL

NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Carl Edwards celebrates his victory in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 auto race.

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by STEPHEN HAWKINS

Associated Press

Posted on April 8, 2011 at 10:07 PM

Updated Saturday, Apr 9 at 11:40 AM

FORT WORTH (AP) — Carl Edwards escaped a crash that wiped out primary challenger Kyle Busch and won his second consecutive Nationwide race at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday night.

Edwards and Busch were running 1-2 on lap 88 when Tim Schendel, nine laps down and last among the 35 cars still running, blew a right front tire coming out of Turn 1.

Schendel shot up the track and basically split the front-runners, barely scrapping the back of Edwards' car. But he was right in front of Busch, who had nowhere to go and hit him full force.

"I was very close," Edwards said. "Out of the corner of my eye, I thought I saw that car turn. ... I'm glad that I caught it. A split second later, it would have been over."

Edwards, the polesitter, never dropped below third place and led 169 of 200 laps at the 1½-mile, high-banked track.

After the final pit stops, Edwards held off a closing charge by Brad Keselowski for his 30th career Nationwide victory. The Roush Fenway driver won by 0.482 seconds with an average speed of 147.902 mph for the first NASCAR victory for a Ford Mustang.

Before being the runner-up behind Edwards last fall, Busch had won five consecutive Nationwide races at the 1½-mile, high-banked track. This was the first time in his 13 Nationwide starts at Texas that he didn't finish, and had been out of the top seven only once before.

Once Schendel's truck got in his way, Busch was done.

"It didn't happen that fast, but there was no time to react. You can't just stomp on the brakes and turn left, you're already maxed out with your tires," Busch said. "It's real unfortunate, these guys did a great job working all weekend to get the car capable of running with Carl there. ... It's going to go down as a wreck, but I felt like we were fast enough to win."

Busch had won the last two Nationwide races this season, and three of the last four.

With Busch out, Edward mostly dominated.

Keselowski took the lead from Edwards on the lap 94, the restart after the accident that took out Busch. That lasted only 16 laps before Edwards went back ahead until going into the pits with a nearly 11-second lead with 20 laps to go.

Edwards led more laps Friday night than he had in his previous 12 Nationwide starts in Texas, when he led only 70 laps. That includes 59 laps last November. He was the runner-up to Busch in the 2008 fall race.

Busch has led a staggering 1,187 laps in Texas.

"I felt like there was an opportunity for us to win. I'm not going to say we were the winning car, Carl is definitely the winning car. We were making ground on him to where we could get there and at least run with him," Busch said. "We probably could have put on a really good show with the fans out here in Texas."

Paul Menard finished third, with Joey Logano and Elliott Sadler rounding out the top five.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was eighth, maintaining the Nationwide points lead over Jason Leffler, who was 15th.

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