LEBANON, Tenn. (July 23, 2011) — Carl Edwards did not let a penalty for speeding on pit road slow him down Saturday night, as he regained position quickly and dominated the field en route to a victory at Nashville Superspeedway in the Federated Auto Parts 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race.
After leading from Laps 59 to 82, Edwards made a yellow flag pit stop but approached his stall a bit too fast, and was forced to restart in the 14th position. However, it took him only 39 laps to regain the lead and backflip his way into victory lane in Nashville for the sixth time in his career—five times in the Nationwide Series and once in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. came in second place, followed by the weekend’s truck series race winner, Austin Dillon, in third, Justin Allgaier in fourth and Aric Almirola in fifth.
Even though Brad Keselowski started the race on the pole and led for 89 of the first 116 laps, engine problems saw him fall to a 12th-place finish, allowing Edwards and his extremely fast No. 60 Ford to dominate the race despite the pit-road penalty.
Edwards, who led 124 laps, said he thought the penalty would be a problem for him in the race, but the speed of his Ford through traffic nullified the loss in position.
“I can’t believe I was leading and I sped on pit road,” he said. “That was really, really not smart. But in the end it made our night more fun. I probably learned more.”
Stenhouse, a teammate of Edwards’ at Roush Fenway Racing, noted Edwards’ fast car in the race. He added that his own Ford had a few slight problems, but that adjustments still might not have been enough to overtake his teammate.
“We were just too loose on that last run,” Stenhouse said. “We were tight in the middle part of the race. I never really got it exactly where I needed it. We were one adjustment away from being really fast, but Carl’s Fastenal Mustang has always been really good here.
“But at the end of the day it was a really good day for Roush Fenway.”
Edwards hit a milestone during the race, leading his 1,000th Nationwide lap of the season, a career high, which he said is all due to the team’s effort and willingness to listen to the drivers.
“It boils down to (team owner Jack Roush) and the guys listening to us complain and not ignoring us,” he said.
Edwards did say, however, that the fast car was not all that got him to victory lane, as the invocation from Pastor Joe Nelms, which featured “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” references, as well as a number of racing puns, and had the drivers laughing during prerace activities. The video of the invocation has already gone viral on YouTube.
“I turned to Jack after that and said if anything happens tonight, I’d like him to be at my funeral,” Edwards said, laughing. “That was one of the best invocations that I’ve ever heard.”