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Texas Notes: It Was Gut Check Time For Edwards

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, April 10 2011

Carl Edwards' crew did more than just change his tires and fill his fuel tank for him on Saturday night in Texas. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Harold Hinson)

By Nick Bromberg | Staff Writer

Fort Worth, Texas – Carl Edwards took over the Sprint Cup points lead for the third time in 2011 despite requesting Tums from his crew during the race.

Why was he making that request? Well, it seems that his stomach wasn’t agreeing with his mom’scooking.

“Well, my mom made a little dish,” Edwards said. “I think one of the ingredients was bad.  I think it might have been her first attempt at it.”

And thankfully for the crew, either Edwards started to feel better or the Tums did their job.

“No, I’d rather not talk about the details. I’m good.  No, I kept everything in, so we were OK. I knew in this white fire suit I had to be careful.”

Edwards led the points after Daytona and California, and now leads by nine points over Kyle Busch, who finished 18th thanks to a problem with a loose wheel.

While Edwards’ stomach survived the evening, a bird that was flying around Texas Motor Speedway did not, suffering at the grille of Edwards’ Ford.

“I didn’t see any feathers, but Bob (Osborne, his crew chief) said there were some feathers on the front, which being sponsored by a duck, that’s not good,” Edwards said. ” So we’ll leave that be.  It probably did not happen.”

Tony Stewart’s potentially race-winning strategy went south late in the race thanks to a speeding

Tony Stewart's shot at victory ran out of gas. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Erik J. Perel)

penalty on his final pit stop.

After getting the “Lucky Dog” award on lap 213, Stewart and crew chief Darian Grubb topped off when the caution flew three laps later on lap 216. That allowed them to make it the rest of the way on one more stop while the rest of the field would have to stop twice.

However, Stewart sped entering pit road on that final stop. After serving his pass-through penalty, he was third on the final lap, but ran out of fuel racing Carl Edwards for the position and crossed the finish line 12th.

“You know,” Stewart said, “it took almost the whole race to crack the top-10, so to be in the position we were in there at the end, I guess is a good thing,” Stewart said. “But when you’re in that position and you can’t capitalize, it’s pretty frustrating. Speeding on pit road didn’t exactly help the cause either.”

Don’t look now, but Dale Earnhardt Jr. is sixth in the points standings.

After qualifying 28th, Junior finished ninth and is just 23 markers behind Edwards for first.

“I’m pretty satisfied. I would have liked to finish a couple of spots higher; maybe a fifth or so. But the

Dale Earnhardt Jr. is creeping his way up the point standings. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Alan Marler)

balance on the car was going atoo tight on the second to the last run and then it got loose on the last run,” Earnhardt Jr. said.

Earnhardt Jr. finished 24th in the Daytona 500, but since then he hasn’t finished lower than 12th.

“That is how good the team is. We just ain’t made many real big mistakes. We had a much better car tonight,” Earnhardt Jr. said.

Texas was not the night that Denny Hamlin turned his season for the better.

Hamlin swept both races at Texas in 2010 but got caught a lap down during the middle of the race and never was able to get back on sequence.

“Really, we just had one bad run and that was the one that got us caught a lap down and just couldn’t get it back,” Hamlin said.

“We stayed in the ‘Lucky Dog’ position for the last – it seemed like 150 laps, but just never got the caution to capitalize on it. Just a little frustrating, but still once again we didn’t have a 15th place car – we had about a seventh or eighth place car, somewhere in that neighborhood.”

– Nick Bromberg is a staff writer for RacinToday.com

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, April 10 2011
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