EDWARDS! EDWARDS! EDWARDS!

Carl Edwards

Carl Edwards. Photo by Lynne Huntting

CARL EDWARDS is having a memorable weekend. He led all three of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice sessions, and his record-breaking Cup pole lap of 26.395/136.389 mph broke the existing record of 26.499 /135.854 mph set by RYAN NEWMAN in November 2004.

Saturday morning, Edwards qualified second for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Wypall 200 Powered by Kimberly-Clark Professional Race behind JOEY LOGANO/No.20 Toyota. In the NNS race, Edwards led the most laps (153) and won the race. Doesn’t get much better than that.

But wait…there’s more. This just in! Edwards won the NSCS Kobalt Professional Tools Race. But that’s another story.

Saturday was warm and sunny – the best weather day of the three days so far at Phoenix International Raceway for the all-NASCAR weekend.

The busy Saturday schedule called for the NNS to qualify in the morning and race midday. In between those two events, NSCS had two post-qualifying practice sessions – morning and afternoon. In a new ploy, after the NNS race, the K&N Pro Series had its 125-lap evening race. The idea was to see if fans would stick around after the NNS race. Some did and they were treated to a 125-lap race four minutes longer than the 200-lap NNS race.

Now the backstories.

In the NNS race, KEVIN HARVICK/No.33 Chevrolet finished second, 5.210 seconds behind Edwards – who did his signature back flip.After this weekend he could be sore from all the flips.

Pole sitter Logano was third. The new 2010 NNS Champion, BRAD KESELOWSKI/No.22 Dodge was fourth, followed by REED SORENSON/No.32 Toyota.

The race lasted 1 hr, 52 mins and 05 secs. There were five drivers and seven lead changes. Besides Edwards, other leaders included Logano; ARIC ALMIROLA/No.88 Chevrolet (finished sixth); Kyle Busch, finishing sixteenth; and TONY RAINES/No.35 Chevrolet-P19.

DANICA PATRICK/No.7 Chevrolet started twenty-eighth and finished thirty-second, the last car running-seven laps down.

Only MARTIN TRUEX/No.00 Toyota retired due to an accident. All the others had mechanical problems of a variety of sorts. Truex was running with the newly formed Travis Pastrana Toyota, a pairing of XTreme and Rally driver, TRAVIS PASTRANA, and MICHAEL WALTRIP. The veteran NASCAR driver said that Pastrana approached him regarding his wish to race NASCAR. Waltrip said he was extremely impressed by the remarkable alternative motorsports driver. And there you have it.

The NNS race attendance was reported at 35,000.

Logano’s pole lap was 26.856/134.048 mph, his fourteenth pole position in 65 NNS starts. You do the math. I come up with 25 or so percent pole positions.

Second through fifth NNS qualifiers were Edwards, JUSTIN ALLGAIER/No.12 Dodge, Harvick, and Wild Child KYLE BUSCH/No.18 Toyota.

Six NNS drivers failed to make the race: BRETT ROWE/No.89 Ford; ERIC McCLURE/No.24 Ford; DARYL HARR/No.02 Chevrolet; KEVIN LEPAGE/No.52 Chevrolet; CHASE MILLER/No.82 Dodge; and CARL LONG/No.94 Dodge.

At the end of the day, Keselowski is still the NNS Champion, and Edwards is second, 430 points behind.

JOE GIBBS is the leader in the Owner Points. Edwards’ team owner, JACK ROUSH, is fifth in the standings.

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