On Saturday morning, Carl Edwards turned in a fast enough lap at Road America to claim his first-ever road course Nationwide Series pole. He followed that up with a win in the Bucyrus 200 Nationwide event at the track that same afternoon. Edwards dominated the event, leading 35 laps of the 50-lap event to take his first win of the season and give Ford its first win of 2010 in any of NASCAR’s three national touring series.
“It feels good,” Edwards said of his first trip to victory lane in quite some time.
Edwards and road course ringer Jacques Velleneuve broke away from the rest of the field early and ran first and second most of the race, except for a few restarts where pit strategy put the two drivers farther back in the field by at least a position or two.
After a half hour red flag with 21 laps to go, 12 cars including those of points leader Brad Keselowski, Brad Coleman, Ron Fellows, Brendan Gaughan, Michael Annett, and Ron Hornaday, opted to stay out while Edwards, Villeneuve opted to pit to top off their fuel. The strategy shuffled Edwards and Villeneuve back to 13th and 14th on the restart, seeming to possibly take away either driver’s chance of ending the day in victory lane.
Both drivers made it back up to the front to again run first and second by 12 laps to go. This time, however, it was Villeneuve who held the top spot as Edwards ran second. Edwards got by Villeneuve on the next restart with nine laps to go, though, and then pulled away.
A runner-up finish wasn’t in the cards for Villeneuve, as he fell back in the closing laps as a result of an engine issue. Instead it was another road course ringer — Ron Fellows, who was piloting the No. 88 entry of JR Motorsports that finished in the second position. Another road course ringer, Owen Kelly — who was behind the wheel of the No. 27 Baker Curb Racing car — also posted a top-five by finishing fifth.
NASCAR regulars Gaughan and Keselowski also posted top five finishes, with Gaughan finishing in the third spot and Keselowski finishing fourth.
“I’ll take a third and another great day in points,” Gaughan said.
It was also a relatively good points day for Keselowski. Even though his closest competitor, Edwards, won the race, Keselowski kept the damage to a minimum with his fourth place finish to still hold a 237 point lead over second-place Edwards.
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