NASCAR: Edwards shoves Bowyer aside to win
WEST ALLIS, Wis. ó Carl Edwards was desperate to get back into victory lane in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, and he wasn’t about to let Clint Bowyer stand in his way at the Milwaukee Mile on Saturday night.
Edwards shoved his fellow Sprint Cup series standout sideways with 25 laps to go, then held off young lion Joey Logano for his first Nationwide victory of the season after dominating the series last year.
But Edwards decided not to do his trademark backflip in victory lane, choosing a subdued celebration because of the death earlier in the day of drag racer Scott Kalitta and the fact that he didn’t win the way he intended to.
“I didn’t want to pass Clint that way,” Edwards said. “I got underneath him and hit him.”
It was Edwards’ first victory in the series since winning at Nashville last June. It also was an immediate payoff for a crew chief swap the Roush Fenway team made this week, moving Drew Blickensderfer to Edwards’ team and Pierre Kuettel to its No. 17 car. Edwards won the series championship with Kuettel last year.
And Bowyer might have an immediate chance for payback, with both drivers set to race today in the Sprint Cup series race in California.
“We got up to where we needed to be, and unfortunately it got taken from us,” Bowyer said.
Asked if it mattered that Edwards expressed some remorse for the move in victory lane, Bowyer’s silent stare said it all: Yeah, right.
Bowyer then left the media center for what presumably would be a long flight back to California.
Edwards wasn’t the only driver to draw scrutiny for less-than-tactful driving tactics, as Logano’s earlier run-in with Brad Keselowski might have been a sign of things to come from the 18-year-old Joe Gibbs Racing ace.
Logano, who became the youngest winner in series history at Kentucky Speedway last weekend, went fender-to-fender with Keselowski to take the lead with 79 laps to go and appeared to be in position for remarkable back-to-back wins.
But Logano was shuffled back to fourth on the final round of pit stops ó rubbing fenders with Bowyer on pit road ó setting up a showdown between Bowyer and Edwards.
Logano finished second.
“I’d like to be in victory lane again, but I guess we’ll have to take it,” Logano said.
Bowyer slipped past Edwards to take the lead with 39 laps to go. But Edwards got Bowyer back after a restart, getting underneath him in Turn 2 and knocking him sideways to take the lead with 25 to go. Bowyer recovered, but slipped to third as Logano drove past him.
Keselowski dominated the first half of the race and appeared to be on his way to his second victory in the space of three weeks.
But after a restart with 82 laps to go, Logano went side-by-side with Keselowski for several laps before diving underneath him in Turns 3 and 4, wiggling slightly, then sliding up into Keselowski’s fender.
Logano went to the lead, and Keselowski went backward.
Keselowski came into Saturday’s race second in the series points standings. After winning the pole earlier Saturday, he hoped to continue a recent run of success for owner Dale Earnhardt Jr., whose JR Motorsports team has been thriving since partnering with team owner Rick Hendrick.