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Edwards Wins His First All-Star Race

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, May 21 2011

Carl Edwards was the dominant winner in the Sprint All-Star Race on Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Gregg Ellman)


Carl Edwards pulled away after the restart for the final segment, held off Kyle Busch and went on to win the Sprint NASCAR All-Star Race on Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The victory was the first for Edwards in the $1 million to win event.

He celebrated by destroying his car in a spin through the infield, a back flip and a celebration in the grandstands with fans.

Busch finished second and David Reutimann third.

“I don’t think it’s sunk in yet,” Edwards said. “I’m really excited to be able to get on the phone and call some of my close friends to talk to them about it, and I’m really excited about going to Iowa tomorrow” to drive in the Nationwide race.

Edwards should be able to afford a hot dog and soda once he gets to Iowa.

“That’s a million dollars.  We just won a million dollars.  It’s unbelievable,”  he yelled in Victory Lane.

Busch said he just did not have the car to win.

“We came up a little bit short, but we got beat by a faster car,” he said. “The best I could’ve done was something on a restart and I didn’t get a great one there – that final one, but I still kept up with him (Edwards) a little bit, but he was just too fast. He got away from me and spread the gap too far. By the time I was trying to run him back down on the top side there, it just took me too long to get back to him. A few more laps, maybe I would’ve got him, but all you had was 10 (laps).”

The race went down like this:

Segment 1 (50 laps):

Greg Biffle dominated the first segment, leading all but four of the 50 laps. His Roush Fenway Racing teammate, Edwards, chased him for much of the segment and was second to Biffle at the end of it. Finished the segment third. Kasey Kahne was fourth and Tony Stewart fifth.

Segment 2 (20 laps):

Edwards grabbed the lead on the restart at the beginning of the second, 20-lap segment and was running away until Kahne wobbled and then hit the wall and a caution

Carl Edwards' at Charlotte on Saturday. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Harold Hinson)

was called. On the restart, with seven laps left in the segment, Jimmie Johnson blew past Edwards and took the lead. With two laps to go in the segment, Edwards passed Johnson to regain the lead.

Segment 3 (20 laps):

Edwards gave up the lead when he spun his tires on the restart. There to take the lead was Busch. Also getting past Edwards was Jeff Gordon. Four laps into the segment, Regan Smith spun to bring out a caution. Busch got another good restart when the race went green. But Edwards tracked him down and with five laps to go in the segment, took the lead. From there, the stretched the lead and won the segment.

After the 10-minute break following the third segment, all the cars pitted and Edwards emerged first, Busch second and Biffle third.

“I did not like that part sitting on pit road,” Edwards said of the break. “I felt like we had the fastest car, and if I did everything right and got a good restart and Bob and I made the right adjustments that this was our race.  I felt like we were that good.  Those are the only times I really get antsy when I know if I do everything right we can win this things, so, yeah, I was ready to go back to racing.  I didn’t want to be sitting there.”

Segment 4 (10 laps):

Edwards had a good restart, as did Biffle, who briefly moved in front of Busch. Busch returned to second but half way through the segment, was 12 car lengths behind Edwards.

“Yeah, I was a little bit worried about spinning the tires,” Edwards said of the restart. “I had some trouble earlier and what do we do when we make mistakes?  We learn from them.  That’s what we do, so I learned from that.  It’s the positive light you have to shed on those kind of things and it worked out.  I’m sure we’re gonna get to my destroying the car incident and I’m gonna shed some positive light on that, too.  But, yeah, the restart was good and, man, that thing really runs so you do have to be careful – especially these engines they brought for the All-Star Race.  They’re fast.  That was a great restart and it could have gone either way.  Kyle could have really hung in there and it would have been a really tough race, so I’m glad we were able to get him.”

The final restart did not produce a great, exciting dash to the checkered flag.

Edwards asked if he thought that it is again time to tinker with the format.

“Hell no.  It’s perfect,” he said. “You have to remember you’re not always gonna have a side-by-side, three-wide finish.  I think that tonight our car was superior and it ended up being a race that we were able to pull away from, but one little thing being different, one different bump stop combination or track bar height or tire pressure thing and it could have been a much different race.  I believe as much as we ended up winning the race by, I think that’s a rarity in this event.

“I think with a 10-lap shootout at the end and four fresh tires, nine out of 10 times this is gonna be a much closer finish than it was tonight, so I think changing the format would be a jump.  I know I was really nervous about that last run.  I did not feel like we had it in the bag by any means, so it just happened to turn out that way.”

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, May 21 2011
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