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Notes: Edwards offers up some advice for NASCAR

June 20, 2011, Sporting News Wire Service,

BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Bayne pleased with finish in Cup return; Kvapil honors fallen high school athlete

Frustrated by the inability to pass in traffic after a late restart, Carl Edwards once again called for NASCAR to consider taking downforce away from the Cup cars when the next generation of race cars is introduced in 2013.

"This is a great race track, and track position is so important," Edwards said after finishing fifth in Sunday's race, won by Denny Hamlin, who beat Edwards out of the pits on the final stop. "Sadly, downforce is such a big factor in these cars, and I'm really hoping that NASCAR will take the opportunity in 2013 to take downforce away, so the fans can see the guys race race cars and not race downforce. That would be cool."

"... I'm really hoping that NASCAR will take the opportunity in 2013 to take downforce away, so the fans can see the guys race race cars and not race downforce."


Removing downforce, Edwards feels, would make it easier for cars to race side by side and would put a greater emphasis on the skill of the driver.

"All the cars are very close," Edwards said. "So let's say all of the cars are a 10th [of a second] apart, and you're behind two or three cars. Your car is two tenths of a second slow -- you can't make up. I'm not whining.

"Denny earned this win, and those are the rules we are under. Track position was huge, and I just wish it wasn't like that."

Good comeback for Bayne

Trevor Bayne celebrated his return to Cup racing with a 16th-place finish at Michigan. Bayne drove the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford for the first time since leaving the car because of illness after the April 17 race at Talladega.

"I feel fine, so I'm ready and I'm back, and it was good to finally get back in the Cup car," Bayne said. "It wasn't too bad for our first run back there -- 16th-place finish. This team is doing a really great job this year.

"We struggled on pit road there for a little while, but we finally got that figured out at the end of the race, so that helped us. It was a pretty hard-fought 16th. We got a couple of them there at the end. At least we were moving forward there at the end of the race."

Kvapil honors late high school player

Travis Kvapil took some time before the Cup Series race Sunday to meet with the family of Wes Leonard, the Michigan high school basketball player who died this year after making a winning shot.

Kvapil's No. 38 Ford carried the logo of the Wes Leonard Heart Team on its rear quarter panels. The foundation was set up in Leonard's memory to honor children who have lost their lives to sudden cardiac arrest and help prevent similar tragedies in the future.

"It's been 13 weeks, and I'm still all over the place," said Leonard's mother, Jocelyn. "I never know if it's going to be a bad day or a good day, but every time I work with our heart team, it's better because at least I'm doing something important."

The 16-year-old Leonard had cardiac arrest March 3 because of an enlarged heart.

The Wes Leonard Heart Team is lobbying for legislation providing schools with automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and training to help prevent sudden cardiac arrest in athletes.

"There's been a lot more kids in this country that died from sudden cardiac arrest since Wesley 13 weeks ago," Jocelyn Leonard said. "Our kids can't die because we don't make our schools buy AEDs, period. ... Everybody should want to save lives for $1,400. That's it. It's $1,400 per school."

Jim Leonard, the boy's uncle, was overcome with emotion during the day at the race track. He described himself and his nephew as casual racing fans.

"The overall response from just everybody has been overwhelming," he said. "I spent 10 minutes crying just thinking how much he would enjoy being here to see this."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.