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Edwards Wins from the Pole in Roush's Back Yard

Carl Edwards
Carl Edwards
BROOKLYN, Mich. (August 16, 2008)—If there’s such a thing as home cooking at a NASCAR race track, Michigan International Speedway served as Jack Roush’s kitchen for Saturday’s Carfax 250.

In a race that ended under caution because of Danny Efland’s wreck on the white-flag lap, polesitter Carl Edwards gave Roush Fenway Racing its first NASCAR Nationwide Series victory at the two-mile track since 1998. It was Ford’s first Michigan win in the series since Ryan Newman took the checkered flag in 2001.

“I’m so happy we won this thing,” said Edwards, who won his third Nationwide race of the season, all since Drew Blickensderfer replaced Pierre Kuettel as crew chief in late June. “We’ve been so close before. It feels good to put a Ford here in Victory Lane.”

“We always enjoy racing here in front of the home crowd,” said Roush, whose Michigan headquarters are in nearby Livonia. “It’s a race track that suits our cars and our driving style.”

Edwards, the defending series champion, had a lead of more than three seconds when Efland crashed with less than a lap remaining. Brian Vickers finished second, followed by Tony Stewart, who ran his last Nationwide event for Joe Gibbs Racing. Mark Martin was fourth, and Greg Biffle came home fifth.

Stewart made his ninth and final start in Gibbs’ No. 20 Toyota. Five of those starts have ended in Victory Lane.

“It’s not like I won’t ever get to see those guys (the No. 20 crew) again, but I know it’s the last time I’m going to drive that car for those guys,” Stewart said. “When you’re that successful, you hate to see it end.”

Vickers gave up time to Edwards on short runs but gained as his tires began to wear. Though the race went green for the final 25 laps, Vickers wasn’t able to make a substantial dent in Edwards’ advantage.

“On old tires, when handling was more important, we could run the top (of the track) and keep our engine wound up,” said Vickers, who will start from the pole for Sunday’s 3M Performance 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at MIS. “I felt like we had something for ‘em, but, unfortunately, we just ran out of time.”

Vickers also thought a recent NASCAR rule change that diminished the size of holes in the tapered spacer on Toyota engines made a difference.

“I think we had a better car (than Edwards did),” Vickers said, “but with the new Toyota restrictor plate NASCAR put on us, he definitely had us beat on power. There’s not a lot we can do about that.”

Edwards had a different view of the engine rule change.

"Well, it kept them from having a giant advantage the whole day, like they've had for the first half of the year,” he said. “To me, I like the change they made."

Notes: In winning his 16th Nationwide Series race, Edwards trimmed Clint Bowyer’s points lead to 113. After contact with David Reutimann’s Toyota on Lap 91, Bowyer lost ground and finished 10th … With Stewart in the No. 20 car, Joey Logano took the wheel of the No. 18 JGR Toyota and finished seventh.

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