By Amanda Vincent, NASCAR reporter
- Edwards takes 30th series win
- Ford Mustang makes initial visit to victory lane
- Keselowski, Menard round out top three
Edwards dominates Texas race, takes Ford Mustang to first series win
The O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday may have produced the first series win for the Ford Mustang, but Carl Edwards' visit to victory lane was his 30th in Nationwide competition. With the win, he became the fifth driver in series history to hit the 30 win mark.
After starting the race from the pole position, Edwards led most of the way in dominating fashion, putting his No. 60 car up front for 169 of the 200 laps.
"Just an unreal race," Edwards said in victory lane.
Even though Edwards was up front and in clean air most of the race -- only giving up the lead for five laps to Roush Fenway Racing teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr. so he could collect a bonus point for leading a lap. Brad Keselowski and Michael Annett also lead for a few laps.
However, Edwards' dominating performance wasn't without its close calls.
The No. 52 car driven by Tim Schendel shot up the race track on lap 88 after he cut down a right front tire. Schendel's car barely clipped Edwards' left rear quarter panel before shooting up in front of then-second-place driver Kyle Busch. Busch's No. 18 car sustained heavy damage and was retired for the remainder of the race.
"We crashed," a frustrated Busch said after the incident. "That's about it.
Edwards said after the race that it was a shame that the incident collected Busch, because the two were giving each other a good race.
Just an unreal race
With Busch out of the picture, Edwards had to deal with Brad Keselowski in the closing laps.
After starting the race alongside Edwards on the front row, Keselowski lost several positions in the opening laps and made his first pit stop of the evening fairly early, going down pit road on lap 40.
"I felt like I was going to blow one (tire) out every lap," Keselowski said of the handling of his race car.
His No. 22 team got the car dialed in, though, and Keselowski was able to get back up toward the front and lead a few laps in the second half of the race. He wound up finishing second.
"It looked like Brad's car was a little bit better on a shorter run," Edwards' crew chief, Mike Beam, said.
According to Beam, had there been a late race caution, the win may have gone to Keselowski.
A couple more Sprint Cup Series regulars, Paul Menard and Joey Logano finished third and fourth. Friday's race was the first for Menard with Kevin Harvick Inc.
"Kevin and Delana (Harvick) have awesome equipment," Menard said.
Elliott Sadler was the highest-finishing Nationwide-only driver. He finished fifth.
Stenhouse came into the Texas race weekend as the championship points leader and still occupied the top spot at the conclusion of the race. After leading a few laps and running second to teammate Edwards for several more laps early on in the race, the handling on his race car went away and he slid back several positions. His No. 6 team was never able to get the handling on the car quite right the rest of the way, and Stenhouse ended up finishing eighth.