Edwards Wins and Keselowski Clinches Title

Edwards and Keselowski

Edwards won his 28th career race while Keselowski claimed his first NASCAR title. (Photo: Getty Images)

Carl Edwards outran Kyle Busch on a green-white-checkered finish to win Saturday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway while Brad Keselowski clinched the 2010 Nationwide Series championship.

Edwards got a huge jump on the green flag to start the overtime finish and easily pulled away from Busch and the rest of the field to score his third victory of the season.

Keselowski’s third-place finish was enough to lock down the season championship as the Michigan native gave team owner Roger Penske his first career NASCAR title.

“I wanted to win [Penske] a championship,” Keselowski said. “That makes it more special.”

Keselowski has won six times this season with two races to go but has been the most consistent driver on the circuit, as evident by his 485 point advantage that he carried into Saturday’s race. He needed only to finish 21st or better in order to clinch the title.

“The consistency [wins it],” Keselowski said. “It’s still the old point’s format in the Nationwide Series and I’ve always been a big fan of it. It rewards smart racing. Smart racing is finishing and getting the best finish that you can every week, setting yourself up for strong, consistent runs week after week after week.”

Keselowski was also able to give Dodge its first-ever Nationwide Series championship. He is also the fifth straight Sprint Cup regular to win the Nationwide title following Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch.

The extra five laps of the planned 200-lap event were necessitated by a late caution when Clint Bowyer blew a tire in turns three and four apparently running over debris left behind by Brian Scott’s trip into the wall two laps earlier, which did not bring out a caution.

Edwards chose the inside line on the final restart and although Busch questioned whether he had accelerated prior to the legal line on the track prior to the green flag waving, was not penalized by NASCAR and drove to a relatively easy win.

"Carl Edwards jumped the restart by about three car lengths before the double red lines,” a frustrated Busch said afterward.

Edwards understood Busch’s frustration.

“I don't expect him to be happy,” Edwards said. “I just did what I had to do to win the race. It just really doesn't matter what he says."

But Edwards pointed out that he enjoyed racing hard with Busch throughout the afternoon and that in the end it just turned out in his favor.

"I will say that he raced me very clean, we had a really good race, especially the restart before,” Edwards said. “I was on the outside, he was on the inside and he lifted the last minute before he hit me in Turn 3. We raced really well together, but I'm sure he's frustrated and there's nothing I can do about that."

Edwards scored the win for Roush Fenway Racing and capped his post-victory celebration with a trip into the grandstands on the frontstretch.

“It was pretty neat to go up there with the folks. I enjoyed it. It felt good," Edwards said.

Edwards also picked up an additional $75,000 bonus for the victory as part of the Nationwide “Dash 4 Cash” program.

“We had such a fast car and really I was kind of running about 80 to 90 percent there in part of the race waiting to make a move,” Edwards said. “We got a great restart there on that last green flag and just used all this power to get the win. It feels good.”

Busch, who won Friday night’s Camping World Truck Series race at Texas, was shooting for his sixth straight Nationwide win at the track.

Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr. rounded out the top five.

Jason Leffler, Reed Sorenson, Kevin Harvick, Paul Menard and Steve Wallace completed the first ten finishers.

The NASCAR Nationwide Series now heads to Phoenix International Raceway next Saturday afternoon.

Race Center

Food City 300

@ Bristol Motor Speedway
Friday, August 22, 2014
Radio Start:
PRN
TV Start:
ESPN, 7 p.m. (ET)

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