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NNS Notes: Carl On Best Behavior

Jeff Hood | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, July 25 2010

Kyle Busch celebrates with the O'Reilly Raceway Park crowd after winning the Kroger 200 Nationwide race Saturday night. (Photo courtesy of NASCAR)

By Jeff Hood | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

Clermont, Ind. – A week after punting Brad Keselowski to win in St. Louis, a gentler and kinder Carl Edwards showed up in the suburbs of Indianapolis Saturday night.

A green-white-checkered finish to the NASCAR Nationwide Series Kroger 200 at O’Reilly Raceway Park gave Edwards an opportunity to line up alongside Kyle Busch’s dominant No. 18 Toyota for a late-race shootout.

But Edwards admitted that he had no intention of using his front bumper two weeks in a row.

“I wasn’t going to move Kyle out of the way,” said Edwards, who finished .198 seconds behind Busch, who won for the eighth time this season in NASCAR’s junior circuit. “I inadvertently got into him just a little off of Turn 4 one time.

“I couldn’t move him out of the way. We race really well together. I had one of the best races I’ve ever had in my life last year here. It seems like we have really raced well together the past last couple of years.”

Busch wasn’t sure what to expect from Edwards on the final restart.

“It’s always there, especially at a short track and especially here at ORP,” Busch said. “You’re so vulnerable running around the top side like you do that people can dive bomb you on the bottom and slide up into you.

“I knew it was there. But if I could just keep enough momentum rolling I felt like anytime he laid a bumper to me he’d get sideways too.”

Shocking story: NASCAR announced after the Kroger 200 that the left-front shock on the third-place car, the No. 88 Chevrolet driven by Aric Almirola, will be taken to the sanctioning body’s R&D center in Concord, N.C. for further inspection.

“The shock won’t rebound,” said NASCAR spokesperson Josh Hamilton.

Bayne rolling: Trevor Bayne backed up last week’s third-place finish at Gateway with a pole and fourth-place effort at ORP.

“I love this short track racing,” the 19-year-old Bayne said. “I wish we could do it every weekend. We had a couple of close calls, but we still got a top five.”

Wrecked nights: A chain-reaction collision at the start left Jason Leffler and Matt DiBenedetto forced to cope with major front end damage to their Toyotas. The entire front end of Leffler’s No. 38 Camry was destroyed.

The Braun Racing team was forced to make repairs behind the pit wall with tools from their pit box. All Nationwide Series haulers were parked outside of Turns 1 and 2.

Leffler nursed his car to a 30th-place finish following lengthy repairs. DiBenedetto wound up 31st.

First flag: The first caution flag of the race was displayed on lap 77 when Derrick Griffin’s No. 10 Toyota spun exiting Turn 4 and tagged the inside retaining wall just past the start-finish line.

Close call: The race was run with dark clouds just to the north of the speedway. Teams were prepared for rain, but the precipitation appearing on the weather radar stayed away from the track.

– Jeff Hood can be reached at jhood@racintoday.com

Jeff Hood | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, July 25 2010
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