(October 14, 2011)
CONCORD, N.C.—Rebounding from hard contact with the wall early in Friday night’s Dollar General 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Carl Edwards held off Kyle Busch on a five-lap green-flag run to the finish to win his eighth Nationwide Series race of the season and the 37th of his career.
Busch came home second followed by Trevor Bayne and Elliott Sadler, who claimed the final $100,000 Nationwide Insurance Dash4Cash bonus and cut into the series points lead of ninth-place finisher Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Brian Scott ran fifth, followed by Brad Keselowski, whose dominating run was foiled by a cut tire late in the 200-lap race. Justin Allgaier, polesitter Paul Menard, Stenhouse and Brian Vickers completed the top 10.
Kenny Wallace finished 16th in his 519th Nationwide start, tying the series record of Jason Keller.
The first two thirds of Friday night’s race looked like a replay of the preceding Saturday at Kansas, where Keselowski put an old-fashioned whipping on the rest of the Nationwide field, leading 173 of 200 laps on the way to his fourth victory of the season.
Keselowski wasn’t in Kansas anymore, but it didn’t matter. After a caution for Ryan Truex’s hard hit against the Turn 2 wall, Keselowski pulled away following a restart on Lap 136 and opened a wide margin over everyone save Stenhouse, who managed to stay within five car lengths of Keselowski’s rear bumper for the first 15 laps of the run.
Busch, whose car excelled on long runs, gradually reeled in Stenhouse and passed him on Lap 157. By Lap 160, Busch was 1.177 seconds behind Keselowski and closing.
In Turn 2 on Lap 171, Keselowski suddenly slowed. “I’ve got a flat! I’ve got a flat!” Keselowski radioed to his crew as Busch blew past, narrowly avoiding contact with the No. 22 Dodge as the two cars traded positions.
The punctured tire caused Keselowski to spin, bring out the fifth caution of the race, allowing him to change tires without losing a lap. After pit stops under the caution, Stenhouse led the field to the green flag, with Sadler beside him.
Busch restarted fourth on Lap 176 but grabbed the lead from Sadler on Lap 178, as Keselowski, who restarted 13th tried to make up ground.
Keselowski had worked his way up to ninth before caution for debris on Lap 185 bunched the field for a restart on Lap 189. Joey Logano’s brush with the Turn 4 wall slowed the field again on Lap 192.