Edwards conquers Road America
It was an ugly race in the beautiful setting of Road America's 4.048-mile layout, but Carl Edwards showed perfect judgment and huge pace to take a thoroughly deserved triumph in NASCAR Nationwide Series' first trip to the Elkhart Lake, Wisc. circuit. It was his first NASCAR win of the season, but his 26th in NNS all-time - and his second consecutive road course win.
From the start, Edwards appeared to have the measure of Jacques Villeneuve, but with full course cautions throwing strategies into the air, the Canadian got back in the hunt, and in one unforgettable restart with 12 laps to go, the No. 32 Toyota sliced and diced the field ahead to jump from eighth to the lead in just half a lap. However, a caution with nine laps to go saw Edwards' Ford comfortably leading into Turn 1, while Villeneuve's car was smoking from its front left corner, apparently from bodywork rubbing on the tire and he was never a factor thereafter.
Mechanical issues after the final restart would see Villeneuve limp to the finish in 25th, allowing fellow road course ace Ron Fellows (Chevrolet) to turn his battle with Brendan Gaughan's Toyota into a fight for runner-up spot – a battle in which Fellows prevailed.
NNS championship leader Brad Keselowski was a somewhat surprised fourth, having never been known as a road course ace. However, while there were a few faster drivers in the race, many of them – such as Paul Menard, Colin Braun and Patrick Long – got caught up in incidents and accidents, in a race strewn with full-course cautions. Soon after half-distance, the race was red flagged for half an hour while a nine-car wreck was cleared up at Turn 6.
By steering clear of incidents and driving sensibly to the finish, the Dodge-mounted Keselowski has kept his points lead to 237 over Edwards. His Penske Racing teammate Justin Allgaier was put out of contention with a track bar failure on lap two. However, he was able to eventually rejoin to take 35th place and, thanks to Kyle Busch's absence, Allgaier has held on to third in the title race.
Australia's Owen Kelly was a fine fifth on his NNS debut, ahead of Brad Coleman, J.R. Fitzpatrick, and Jason Leffler.