Carl Edwards gave the new Ford Mustang its first win in the NASCAR Nationwide Series on Friday night in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 at the Texas Motor Speedway. Whilst he led 169 of the 200 laps and was in the top three for the whole race there is no doubt that luck played its part in his win.
Kyle Busch, having started in eighth place took the first quarter of the race to work his way up to second place and start chasing Edwards for the lead. On lap 88 Busch was starting to put pressure on the no. 60 Ford running about two car lengths behind Edwards as the pair came up to lap Tim Schendel. As the Mustang ran round the outside of the tail-ender Schendel’s tyre blew. His car started sliding up the track, just barely tapped the left rear of Edwards car and then headed straight for the outside wall. The luckless Busch had no time to react and nowhere else to go other than into the rear of Schendel’s and then follow him into the wall. Busch’s race was run.
“We started out a little bit tight, and the track was actually coming our way a little bit,” Busch said. “It started to free up a little bit that last run right before we wrecked. We felt pretty good about it. We were just biding our time. We were just running there — we were running hard, but we were just running. It felt like we were probably the only car that was going to give Carl a shot. It's a shame that we didn't have the chance to race it out the rest of the night.”
Edwards had mixed feelings about Busch's departure.“If he hadn't gotten knocked out, he would have been the competition – he was fast, it's fortunate that we missed that wreck, and I hate it for him. I think it would have been a really good race between us.”
It was left to Brad Keselowski and his Discout Tire Dodge to take the race to Edwards having at last overcome the tyre difficulties which have plagued him so far this season. He was the faster of the two through turns 3 and 4 if he stayed down low and Edwards was forced to stay high to get a high enough speed coming off turn four to keep his lead. In the end he crossed the line with just under half a second in hand.
Paul Menard and Joey Logano finished third and fourth respectively, and the first driver to finish who was eligible for points was fifth placed Elliott Sadler who climbed three places to fourth in the table behind the unchanged trio of Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Jason Leffler and Justin Allgaier.