News & Media

Edwards escapes late wreck for Dover victory

May 14, 2011, Sporting News Wire Service,

DOVER, Del. -- After a violent wreck on the final lap wiped out a handful of top contenders, Carl Edwards took the checkered flag in Saturday's 5-Hour Energy 200 Nationwide Series race at Dover International Speedway.

The wreck erupted as Edwards was racing Joey Logano after a restart on the second attempt at a green-white-checkered finish. Kyle Busch finished second, followed by Reed Sorenson, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and David Reutimann.

The victory was Edwards' third of the season and the 32nd of his career.

Edwards, who started from the pole as the fastest driver in practice after rain forced the cancellation of qualifying, pulled away from runner-up Logano over the final 13 laps before Michael Annett's wreck on Lap 197 forced the race to overtime.

Busch failed in his bid to tie Mark Martin for the career Nationwide wins lead at 49.

Busch's hopes for the record-tying victory suffered a blow during a bizarre chain of events near the midpoint of the race. On Lap 86, Alex Kennedy's Dodge wrecked on the backstretch, bouncing between the outside and inside walls.

After the car came to a stop near the bottom of the track, Kennedy attempted to rejoin the action under caution, but his car didn't turn as expected when Kennedy pulled up on the banking. Instead it rolled straight toward the outside wall and into the path of Kevin Swindell, who was making his Roush Fenway Racing debut in place of sidelined Trevor Bayne.

At nearly the same moment, the nose of Busch's Toyota sustained damage as a line of cars accordioned on the way to pit road. Busch nosed into the No. 20 Toyota of Logano, and Sorenson sustained damage to his front valance when he ran into the back of Busch's car.

Busch restarted 18th on Lap 101 after his crew taped the nose of the car. He had just passed Jason Leffler for the sixth position when Justin Allgaier, the series points leader entering the race, blew his right front tire and slammed the Turn 3 wall to bring out the sixth caution of the race.

Under orders from crew chief Tony Eury Jr., Josh Wise was the only driver who didn't pit under the yellow and inherited the lead as rain stopped the race.

"We were the last car on the lead lap, so why not stay out and take the gamble?" Wise said during the red-flag period, hoping that rain would end the race at that point.

The gamble didn't work. After the rain stopped, Wise brought his car to the pits under caution and surrendered the lead to Edwards for a restart on Lap 149. But Logano passed Edwards for the top spot on Lap 150 and stayed out front until Edwards overtook him on Lap 187.

Kennedy and his spotter were summoned to the NASCAR hauler to discuss the mistake in judgment that led to the wreck with Swindell.

The stoppage after Lap 144 lasted 28 minutes 26 seconds.

Allgaier's DNF was his first in 22 races.