Atlanta Double For Edwards

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HAMPTON, Ga. - Sweeping is the new rage in NASCAR.

Two weeks ago Jimmie Johnson's win in the UAW-GM Quality 500 gave him a sweep of both NEXTEL Cup races at Lowe's Motor Speedway this season. Last week, Jeff Gordon completed the sweep of Martinsville Cup races with his Subway 500 victory.

Sunday was Carl Edwards' turn to get out the broom

Edwards completed a sweep of both NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races at Atlanta Motor Speedway this season with a dominating performance in Sunday's Bass Pro Shops MNBA 500.

The young Missouri driver easily drove to his third career NEXTEL Cup win taking his Roush Racing Office Depot Ford to victory lane.

"If we do this for three more weeks, we'll be all right," said Edwards, who didn't disappoint the Atlanta fans by doing his trademark backflip off his car after taking the checkered flag. "Man, I can't thank my guys enough. The car was just awesome."

Gordon followed up his win last week with a solid second in Atlanta. Mark Martin, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Matt Kenseth rounded out the Top 5.

Jamie McMurray, Greg Biffle, Jeff Burton, Tony Stewart and Elliott Sadler completed the first ten finishers.

Stewart's ninth place finish was good enough to stretch out his lead in the "Chase for the NEXTEL Cup" standings with only three races left in the season. With Jimmie Johnson battling an ill handling car most of the race to finish 16th, Stewart's lead grew to 43.

"We did what we had to do today," Stewart said. "We didn't have the best call, but we ran pretty well and we gained some points. Now, we just have to keep it going for three more races."

Biffle is now third 75 behind while Edwards and Ryan Newman, who finished a dismal 23rd after starting from his sixth straight Atlanta pole, are now tied for fourth 107 out of the lead.

"We were terrible all day," Biffle said. "We just never got hold of the racetrack. I really don't know why, but I'm scratching my head."

It wasn't a stellar day for other "Chase" hopefuls, many of which saw their championship chances end.

Rusty Wallace caught trouble for the third straight week, this time getting damage from a lap five tangle with Mike Skinner and Mike Garvey. Wallace was credited with a 37th place finish.

Kurt Busch had a tire go down and crashed hard into the fourth turn wall. His crew was able to get the No. 97 IRWIN Tools Ford back on the track, but Busch finished 36th.

Jeremy Mayfield suffered an early race mechanical problem which took him out of contention. The No. 19 Evernham Motorsports entry finished 38th.

The NEXTEL Cup Series now travels to Texas Motor Speedway for next Sunday's inaugural Dickies 500.

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