Spectacular Finish Provides Edwards Second Win of 2010
MADISON, IL (July 17, 2010) – The Gateway International Raceway weekend was an off weekend for the Sprint Cup Series, but the racing and action didn’t leave the Nascar fans starving for excitement and great racing. The weekend started out with Edwards’ charity bike ride in Columbia, Missouri to support his long time friend Sam Russell, which ended at the Arch in St. Louis. Edwards and the No. 60 Aflac team turned an eighth-place qualifying effort into a race-to-the-finish victory under the lights in front of his home crowd of fans and friends. This was an extra sweet victory because Edwards’ primary sponsor for the race was Aflac and he provided them with their first victory of the year in his backyard in front of the home crowd. This was Edwards’ third win in four years at Gateway, second win of the 2010 season and 27th Nationwide Series win. He had a great points day by gaining 59 points on the leader in the overall Nationwide Series points standings and moved within 168 points of the championship lead.
Edwards took to the unique 1.25-mile track from the eighth position, but immediately forged his way into the top-five by lap 36. The first caution came out on lap 44 and Edwards pitted for minor track bar and air adjustments as the Aflac crew blistered off a 12.9 second pit stop gaining two positions placing Edwards in the third spot when racing went green on lap 51.
Edwards remained in the top-three over the next 127 laps during a green flag pit stop and a stop under yellow for minimum adjustments.
On lap 178 Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer made the strategy call of the race by bringing Edwards down pit road for the final stop of the race. He called for two right side tires only, which put Edwards back in 9th position because of several other strategies going on and cars opting to stay on the track. It only took Edwards 10 laps to be back up front fighting Keselowski for the lead.
The sixth caution flag flew for a multi-car wreck on lap 193 which eventually turned into a red flag delay with five laps to go. When the caution flag followed by a green flag were waved again it set the stage for a spectacular two lap race to the finish.
Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski dueled it out in an exciting battle in the final laps at Gateway. With only two laps to decide the race winner, on lap 198 the green flag was in the air. Edwards and Keselowski battled hard for the lead position and the victory on the final lap of the Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250. Edwards got a great restart and was able to pass Keselowski for the lead as they took the white flag. Edwards took the lead as they crossed the line for the final lap. Keselowski got into Edwards’ right rear to stop his momentum as he passed Edwards between turns one and two. Then Edwards returned the favor by bumping Keselowski in turns three and four sending Keselowski into a spin. Edwards crossed the finish line first to take the checkered flag for his third trip to Victory Lane in the last four years at his home track. The crowd was on their feet cheering Edwards on as they watched the most spectacular finish of the year. He drove his Aflac Ford Fusion directly in Victory Lane because of the debris on the track. He then emerged from the car and climbed onto the window ledge, threw his arms in the air to salute the fans and proceeded to celebrate the win with his signature back flip while the crowd roared.
"I'm really proud of my guys for how hard they worked all night,” stated Edwards. “At the beginning we were not the fastest car, but by the end of the race we were very fast. Our pit stops were amazing; it was a really good night for us. To come here and leave with a win is a huge deal for me. The finish was a little more dramatic than what we wanted it to be, but that's the way it was and glad that we got the win"
With this win, Edwards gained significantly on Keselowski with a 59 point jump making the Nationwide championship battle tighter and more exciting for the fans. This victory also gave Aflac their first win of the season. The No. 60 team is currently only 168 points out of first in the overall Nationwide Series points’ standings. This was an excellent points day for the team. Edwards and the No. 60 team will be back in their Fastenal colors at O’Reilly Raceway Park next week where Edwards is the defending race champion. The team will be focused on gaining as many points as possible
Summary: After 19 of 35 Races
Points: 2874 Wins: 2 Top 5: 10 Top 10: 15
Top Five - Race Summary
1. Carl Edwards
2. Reed Sorenson
3. Trevor Bayne
4. Paul Menard
5. Steve Wallace
O’Reilly Raceway Park
Saturday July 24, 2010