NASCAR Notebook: Edwards wins race; Kahne wins pole
Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 3, 2011
The NASCAR notebook …
HAMPTON, Ga. ó Carl Edwards looked dominant when he led the first 43 laps from the pole.
He looked even stronger when he came back to win from the back of the lead lap.
Edwards recovered after a pit-stop penalty early in the race and held off Kyle Busch to win the Nationwide Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday night.
Edwards was penalized for having an air hose move out of his team’s allotted space during a pit stop. He had to move from the lead to 15th at the rear of the lead lap.
He said he wasn’t about to criticize his pit crew because he has had his share of pit-row mistakes that led to penalties.
“Most of the ones I’ve had lately were when I sped,” Edwards said. “When I heard (about the penalty), I thought I had sped again.”
Edwards acknowledged having to move from the lead to 15th at first “kind of takes the wind off your sails.”
He said he tried to turn the penalty into a positive.
“I just tried to look at it as a challenge and something fun,” he said.
“When my car went back in the field I think I learned more about my car than when I was up front.”
Crew chief Mike Beam said “it was nerve-racking there for a while” after the penalty.
“Luckily, there were only about 14 cars on the lead lap, so I knew we had enough time to make it up,” Beam said. “I just thought if we kept our heads straight we could work back to the front.
“Carl was great. The engine was great. It was fun.”
Edwards quickly moved his way through the pack and finished leading 101 of the 195 laps.
Stenhouse leads Elliott Sadler, who finished 10th, by 13 points.
Harvick finished fourth and Kasey Kahne was fifth after winning the pole for tonight’s Sprint Cup race.
Edwards has 35 career Nationwide victories, two in Atlanta.
“It’s a big win for us,” Edwards said. “I can’t believe we won the pole and the race.”
ATLANTA ó Atlanta Motor Speedway’s slippery track made an impression Saturday during qualifying for Sunday night’s Sprint Cup race.
Kasey Kahne won the pole but made his 29.775 seconds around the track sound like a survival test.
Kahne will start one spot ahead of Clint Bowyer, as two long shots in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship will have another shot at a much-needed win.
Points leader Kyle Busch qualified third, one spot ahead of Brian Vickers.
Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Martin Truex Jr., Ryan Newman and Kurt Busch round out the top 10.
Brad Keselowski, who has won two of the last four races, qualified 14th.