Roush-Fenway driver Carl Edwards dominated NASCAR's Sprint Cup All-Star event at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday. The only error he made all night was hitting a drainage cover during a post-race celebratory spin through the infield, destroying the front of the car.
But the $1.2 million he won in prize money could easily remedy the damage to the car.
Meanwhile, the rest of the field was left scratching their heads as to where Edwards gained so much speed.
David Regan and Brad Keselowski got into the big show through topping the 40-lap Showdown, with Dale Earnhardt Jr gaining a berth through the fan vote.
The first 50-lap segment was won by Greg Biffle. The remaining three segments were won by Edwards, who was able to hunt down the leaders and zoom on by into the sunset for the big bucks. The only car in Edwards' mirrors for the final segment was Kyle Busch. But he and his Toyota were just not up to the task.
David Reutimann, Tony Stewart and Biffle made up the rest of the top five in the final 10-lap shootout.
As for the much-hyped “gloves are off,” boys-have-at-it, dump-your-momma-for-a-dime race that was predicted, it just did not materialize. Gone were the fist shaking, rub-you-hard moves by the likes of Harvick and Busch, and anyone else for that matter. In fact, the race was a bit of a snoozer.
For the third week in a row, qualifying was rained out, handing newbee Drew Herring the lead spot in Iowa. Herring held that spot for a while until teammate Michael McDowell took over briefly.
Then Brad Keselowski led, but it was the Roush-Fenway duo of Ricky Stenhouse Jr and Carl Edwards who dominated the final stages of the Iowa event. Edwards called for some tire pressure changes in the pits, which enabled Stenhouse to be slightly stronger and go on to win his very first Nationwide race.
Edwards, Keselowski, Reed Sorensen and points leader Elliott Sadler rounded out the top five in front of a capacity crowd.
Despite spinning out mid-race, Kyle Busch came back to notch his fourth win of the season. Finishing behind the full-time Cup driver were the trucks of Clint Bowyer, Cole Whitt, James Buescher and Ron Hornaday Jr.
Young Cole Whitt leads Johnny Sauter by just one point in the big-picture standings.
Open Wheel News
The action at the Spanish GP for the Formula 1 set paled by comparison to the qualifying for this year’s Indy 500. Sebastian Vettel started second, but came out first for the fourth time this year, narrowly ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button.
Vettel is leading the standings over Hamilton by a mile.
Closer to home, the open-wheel Indy Car series fought off a rainy week of practice and qualifying with a surprise pole winner—none other than Alex Tagliani. The independent Sam Schmidt-owned team slayed the dragons of the big Ganassi and Penske teams by a few tenths. But it was good enough to win the $175,000 for the pole spot. Others on the front row include Scott Dixon and Oriel Servia
Final qualifying on Sunday saw Paul Tracy and Danica Patrick top the qualifying charts, with Marco Andretti squeaking in with no time left on the clock.
Ryan Hunter-Reay failed to make this year’s big show, along with Mike Conway, Scott Speed and four other disappointed drivers.
The Greatest Spectacle in Racing’s television coverage starts at 11 a.m. on Sunday. Remember, this is the No. 1-watched sporting event on the planet, so don’t miss it.
From the Rumor Mill
Trevor Bayne will finally return to the driver's seat this weekend in the Nationwide race at Charlotte. There has still been no word on the specifics of his health issues that sidelined the young Daytona 500 winner for a month.
After ex-F-1 driver Kimi Raikennen finished 15th in his Camping World debut on Friday night, arrangements were slapped together to put the Finn in a Nationwide car for next weekend at Charlotte. Talk about a rapid learning curve! I think he’ll find things a bit more difficult among the Nationwide set.
That’s it for this week. Next week’s RWR will review the results from the busiest race weekend of the year. Between the Indy 500, Coca-Cola 600 and the Monaco Grand Prix among other races, it’s a race fan's jamboree of racing entertainment. We’ll have detailed reports of all the final results.
Note: For those die-hard NASCAR fans out there, if there is only one Formula 1 race to watch this season, it’s the one this weekend on the streets of Monaco. Don’t miss it!