Sunday, May 22, 2011

Carl Edwards Gets First Career All-Star Race Win

Carl Edwards won Saturday night’s Sprint All-Star Race, becoming the eighth different winner in the last eight years of this no points no-holds-barred event. The race was split up into four segments—50 laps, then 20, then 20 more, and one final 10 lap shootout for the victory—with Edwards winning the one that counted most. (The first segment was won Roush-Fenway Racing's Greg Biffle with Edwards winning segments 2-4.) Unfortunately, his victory lap didn’t go as planned. Edwards attempted to do a celebratory slide through the grass during the cool down lap, but didn’t account for a dip in the middle of the infield. The front of Edwards’ No. 99 Aflac Now Hiring Ford Fusion caught the manhole and tore up the front end of the car. Thankfully, Edwards was able to complete his trademark backflip and run through the grandstands without a hitch.

“It’s unreal,” said Edwards. “My pit crew stepped up. If we hadn’t come off pit road first it would have been a very difficult race.”

Edwards was followed closely by Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch, who was also gunning for his first All-Star win. Busch clearly had a competitive racecar, leading 19 of the 100 laps. The final restart would seal Busch’s doom. Though Busch made a run at Edwards towards the end, it wasn’t to be.

“He (Carl Edwards) certainly had the best car tonight for sure,” said Busch. “There were some areas that we got by him on some restarts, but then he was able to get a good one there on that last one and kind of got too far away from me. Just ran out of time all the guys on this team. They gave me a good piece, we just made a slight change and that slight change was what we were looking for, but we needed a lot more than that and we couldn’t do it out here on pit road in order to beat him.”

David Reutimann finished third, followed by Tony Stewart in fourth. Greg Biffle led the most laps at 46, but suffered some car handling issues and had to settle for a fifth-place finish.

The race was rather uneventful as far as cautions were concerned. Aside from the four caution periods between segments, only two other regular caution flags flew during the night and both were single-car incidents. Kasey Kahne suffered some heavy right side damage after racing with Greg Biffle and Regan Smith spun by himself later on.
David Ragan races into the All-Star Race by winning Showdown - Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images 
Prior to the All-Star Race, ineligible drivers competed in the Sprint Showdown for one last chance to make the main event. David Ragan and Brad Keselowski finished first and second, respectively, while Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the fan vote. Ragan finished eighth, Earnhardt finished 14th, and Keselowski finished 18th.

The series returns to points racing next weekend with the Coca-Cola 600, again at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Coverage begins Sunday, May 29th at 6PM ET on FOX.

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