The Racing Notebook: Edwards won close to home
The racing notebook …
MADISON, Ill. ó Carl Edwards was in no rush to get to the post-race interview room at Gateway International Raceway.
Edwards passed Jason Leffler with 49 laps remaining Saturday night and cruised to victory at the Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250, marking his second win at Gateway in three years in front of a nearly hometown crowd.
“It was so hard to leave victory lane, I didn’t want to come down here,” said Edwards, who grew up in Columbia, Mo., about a 2-hour drive from the track. “I have so many friends down there, they’re taking pictures. It’s just really, really special to win here for me.”
Joey Logano, the 18-year-old racer in just his fifth race, finished second after starting fourth. Jason Keller took third, followed by Leffler and Brad Keselowski.
Edwards earned his second victory on the Nationwide circuit in 21 starts this year. He has nine Top 5 finishes and 11 in the Top 10. Edwards took advantage of the sixth caution of the 200-lap race. He got four tires and filled his tank, coming out of the pits third. He quickly overtook Leffler and James Buescher and went on for the easy victory.
“When you’ve got it, you’ve got it,” Logano said. “And (Edwards’ team) hit it dead on tonight. It was showing pretty much the whole race. My car wasn’t horrible. It was pretty good, but Carl’s car was remarkable.”
Logano led twice for a total of 42 laps and he finished for the second consecutive race and in the Top 5 for the third straight.
In the end, however, it was Edwards’ final pitstop that got him the victory.
“There’s only been a couple of times I’ve had a car that dominant at the end of race,” Edwards said. “I was just cruising around at the end and the car was so good. I was really proud of the guys for making the adjustments like that. I couldn’t believe how fast it was.”
IRLLEXINGTON, Ohio ó Ryan Briscoe took advantage of a surprising pit strategy Sunday on the way to a victory in the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Team owner Roger Penske made the call to put Briscoe out of sequence with the other contenders and it paid off with the Australian driver’s second victory of the season and a 1-2 sweep for the team as Helio Castroneves finished second.
The race began about one hour after a downpour soaked the 2.25-mile, 13-turn road circuit, leaving puddles in places. IndyCar officials ruled it a wet start and all the cars had to begin the race on grooved rain tires.
But with the sun shining and the track drying fast as the 26-car field took the green flag, cars quickly began heading for pit road to change to racing slicks. The Penske team waited to bring Briscoe onto pit lane until lap six, dropping him all the way to 16th.
“Team Penske was just awesome,” Briscoe said. “We ran into a bit of trouble early on and there was a chance we stayed on a bit too long there. That was all Roger (Penske); that was his strategy.”
HOCKENHEIM, Germany ó Lewis Hamilton won the German Grand Prix on Sunday, solidifying his lead in the Formula One standings with two dramatic passes that made up for a strategic blunder by his McLaren team.
Hamilton overtook Ferrari’s Felipe Massa and then runner-up Nelson Piquet Jr. of Renault at the same hairpin after a crash involving Timo Glock had brought out a safety car that nearly cost the McLaren driver his fourth victory of the season.
Most teams chose to pit when the safety car was out, but McLaren left its star driver out only to see him fall to fifth place when he pitted with 17 laps to race.
But Hamilton, who now leads Massa by four points in the overall standings, worked his way through the field before nudging past the Ferrari driver from the inside.
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