2010-07-22 / Sports

Edwards Bangs By Keselowski For Win

By Gerald Hodges

Carl Edwards Carl Edwards MADISON, Ill. – Carl Edwards prevailed over Brad Keselowski in a wild greenwhite checkered finish to get the win in Saturday night’s Nationwide Series race.

“I just couldn’t let him take the win from me,” said Edwards. “My guys work way too hard for that.”

The fireworks-type finish was set up on the restart of lap 198 of the 200-lap race. Keselowski was on the pole and Edwards was on the outside. After one lap, Edwards was slightly ahead of Kesleowski, but Keselowski drifted up and into the rear of Edwards No. 60 right after the white flag was given.

“We had a great restart,” continued Edwards. “We came here to win and he took it from us there in Turn 1.”

Edwards regained control and the two drivers raced side-by-side for most of the final lap. With Keselowski edging ahead as the cars approached the stripe, Edwards turned Keselowski’s Dodge, igniting a multicar pileup on the frontstretch.

“I had to do what I had to do,” said Edwards. “Maybe one day he’ll learn he can’t do things like that and get away with it.”

Keselowski’s take on what happened was entirely different.

“He turned left into me and wrecked me on purpose,” Keselowski said. “I gave him the lane, and he still wrecked me. … I figured out a way to beat him. He wasn’t happy with me, so he wrecked me. Wrecking down the straightaway is never cool, whether it’s at 200 mph or 120. I’m sorry that’s the way it had to end.”

Nationwide Series director Joe Balash attributed the final-lap crash to hard racing.

“I think at the last lap there was a lot of hard racing going on,” Balash said. “There was some movement on the racetrack. It was a tough finish for a really great race.”

Reed Sorenson finished second.

“I really couldn’t see what happened,” said Sorenson. “We’re all racing for the win. The 60 car (Edwards) got into the right-rear of the 22 (Keselowski). I couldn’t tell what was going to happen, I just was hoping I could beat them to the finish line.”

Polesitter Trevor Bayne ran third, Paul Menard came home fourth, followed by Steve Wallace. Brian Scott, Colin Braun, Josh Wise, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Tony Raines completed the top 10.

Top-10 points leaders after 19 of 35: 1. Keselowski- 3042, 2. Edwards-2874, 3. Allgaier 2545, 4. Kyle Busch- 2486, 5. Harvick-2434, 6. Menard-2367, 7. S. Wallace- 2204, 8. Gaughan-2127, 9. Logano-2108, 10. Leffler-2088

Harvick is truck winner

Kevin Harvick rolled to his third Camping World Truck Series victory in four starts this season, winning the CampingWorld 200.com at Gateway International Raceway on Saturday.

He now has seven victories in his past 12 Truck Series starts dating to 2008.

Top-10 points leaders after 11 of 25: 1. Bodine-1715, 2. Almirola-1614, 3. Sauter- 1519, 4. Peters-1510, 5. Skinner 1456, 6. Hornaday-1454, 7. Dillon-1434, 8. Crafton- 1418, 9. Starr-1390, 10. White- 1369

Kenseth needs the right answers

Frustration. Disbelief. Disappointment. These are just a few of the emotions swirling through the minds of Matt Kenseth and his No. 17 Roush Ford teammembers.

The 2003 Cup champion is having a terrible year, and needs some good answers.

After winning the first two races of the 2009 season, Kenseth’s season went downhill. He wasn’t one of the 12 Chase drivers. Instead, the team that once carried the banner for Roush Fenway Racing, in its quest to knock off its rivals at Hendrick Motorsports, wasted the strong start, collapsing amid a career-worst slump.

The lackluster performance and 14th-place finish in the standings might be easier to take if you could glance at the stat sheet and see one glaring problem, like repeat mechanical failures or bad luck getting caught up in wrecks. But other than two engine issues, that wasn’t the case with Kenseth.

During the off last season, the team dug deep to find the solutions.

But the answers haven’t arrived, yet.

“I’m disappointed, but we just haven’t performed,” Kenseth said. “Yeah, there were some mistakes here and there, and there were some points left on the table, but you can say that every year. Basically, we didn’t perform, and we need to figure out why – because none of our cars really run the way they should.”

Is it Kenseth, his crew chief, race team, or make of car?

In an order to end the 53- race winless streak, Kenseth’s team is now on their fourth crew chief in less than two years.

Chip Bolin, Drew Blickensderfer, Todd Parrott and Jimmy Fennig are rated among the best crew chief’s in the business.

Not only is Kenseth and his team frustrated, but Ford is equally frustrated. The only Ford wins this season were by Carl Edwards and they came in the Nationwide Series.

So if it isn’t Kenseth, his crew chiefs, or Ford, just what is the problem?

“I think that if Jack (Roush) had the answer, he’d fix it,” continued Kenseth. “I don’t think any of us have the answer right now. We all have our different ideas and theories. The people running the place don’t like mine, so we will just keep going the way we’re going and hope it gets better.”

I’m betting that before long, Kenseth, Roush, Ford and whoever the crew chief is will stumble upon the right combination, and Kenseth will be back on top. I say that because, I believe Kenseth and the Jack Roush organization are top notch and are capable of coming up with the right solution.

Weekend racing: It’s on to Indianapolis for all three NASCAR series. The Nationwide and Truck teams race on the .686-mile Indy Raceway Park, while the Cup cars are at the 250,000 seat, 2.5- mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

In 1994, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing made its debut at IMS. That contentious early rivalry spawned what has turned out to be the happiest of unions. The inaugural Brickyard 400 hosted the largest crowd ever to witness a NASCAR event, and has now become one of the most highly anticipated events of the entire racing season.

The winners’ list includes names like Earnhardt, Jarrett, Gordon, Elliott and Stewart. This year, a new name could join that list of notables, or a repeat winner could once again lower his face to those bricks to kiss his gritty but beautiful bride. Who knows?

Friday, July 23, Camping World Trucks AAA Insurance 200, race 12 of 25; starting time: 8 p.m. ET; TV: Speed.

Saturday, July 24, Nationwide Kroger 200, race 20 of 35; starting time: 8 p.m. ET; TV: ESPN2.

Sunday, July 25, Sprint Cup Brickyard 400, race 20 of 36; starting time: 1 p.m. ET; TV: ESPN.

Racing trivia question: Who was the winner of the inaugural Brickyard 400?

Last week’s question: What color is Todd Bodine’s hair? Answer. He has no hair, because he keeps his head clean shaven. He did tell me that as a boy he had black hair. You may contact the Racing Reporter at: hodgesnews@ earthlink.net

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