Edwards Takes Richmond
By: Jeff Wackerlin - @JWackerlin Twitter and Instagram | MRN.com on September 7, 2013 | 10:48 P.M. EST
Edwards became the fifth seed in the Chase with his second win of the season. (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)
RICHMOND, Va. - Carl Edwards outran Kurt Busch to the checkered flag on Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway to win the Federated Auto Parts 400, the last race to set the field for the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Busch was one of the five drivers who raced their way into the 10-race Chase Saturday night with Joey Logano, Greg Biffle, Dale Earnhardt Jr. also securing berths while Kasey Kahne and Martin Truex Jr. took the Wild Card spots.
Ryan Newman and Jeff Gordon turned out to be the big losers on Saturday when they both came up short of their bids to qualify for the playoff race.
Newman looked like he was on his way to a win and the Chase when he wrestled the lead away from Edwards on lap 391.
That is until Clint Bowyer, who is one of Truex Jr.’s Michael Waltrip Racing teammates, spun on the front stretch on lap 393 to bring out the caution. (Read More)
Newman came out fifth from pit road after the yellow flag stops and was not able to make his way back to the front of the field.
“I don't know if he (Bowyer) looked at the scoring pylon, knew I was leading,” Newman said. “It doesn't matter. If that was the case, I'll find out one way or the other. At the same time we still had the opportunity to make our own destiny and win it on pit road, and we didn't. That being said, we're out.”
Edwards, who scored his second win of the season, said his team was determined to get a victory in Richmond and help his seeding in the Chase.
“Really, tonight was about three points,” said Edwards. “That's what this was about. It was three points for our Chase. I know firsthand, we all know up here, what a point in the Chase is worth. We came here with the mission to get those three points.”
Busch’s second-place finish made Furniture Row Racing the first single car organization in history to qualify for the Chase.
“Well, how about them apples? Unbelievable,” Busch said. “The way this team has grown, what we've been able to accomplish, it's an amazing feeling. We achieved something very special tonight. (Team owner) Barney Visser and his dream of a NASCAR Sprint Cup team, to be a competitive team, he deserves all the credit.”
Newman, Jamie McMurray and Menard rounded out the top five.
Matt Kenseth, Truex Jr., Gordon, Mark Martin and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. completed the first ten finishers.
By virtue of his series-leading five regular season wins, Kenseth is the number one seed in the Chase followed by four-time race winners Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson.
“Yeah, proud of my team obviously for putting us here,” Kenseth said. “We've had really a terrific 26 weeks, led some laps, fortunate enough to win some races. Excited to be up on top. Looking forward to Chicago and kicking off.”
Johnson suffered through a miserable night and for the fourth straight week had a finish of 25th of worse.
“There's always a little concern,” said Johnson. “Without a doubt you want to enter the Chase with momentum. I think every team falls back on past history. We have won championships without momentum going into the first race.
“So we're going to fall on our experience and also the experience of knowing the Chase is so different than anything else.”
Defending series champion Brad Keselowski , who led the most laps with 142, also missed the Chase becoming the first driver since Tony Stewart in 2006 to follow up their title season by not qualifying for the playoffs.
The Chase for the Sprint Cup begins next Sunday afternoon with the GEICO 400 at Chicagoland Speedway.