Sparta, Kentucky - Carl Edwards won his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race tonight after falling back to the rear of the field on the pace lap. He qualified 5th, but his Roush Racing team had changed the engine after practice, sending him to...
Sparta, Kentucky - Carl Edwards won his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race tonight after falling back to the rear of the field on the pace lap. He qualified 5th, but his Roush Racing team had changed the engine after practice, sending him to the back.
Young rookie Edwards did a back flip off the back of his truck to celebrate his win after running out of gas at the start/finish line while doing burnout spins. He had stretched his fuel by running the final 67 laps of the race on one tank. Only he and Roush teammate Jon Wood went that far on fuel, the other drivers using 60 laps as their predicted fuel distance. That left the two Roush Ford Trucks in front after long time leader Brendan Gaughan left the race with a dramatic blown engine on lap 111 (of 150.)
Last week's winner at Kansas and tonight's pole sitter, Wood, faded a bit at the end, falling to fourth as first Dennis Setzer and then Ted Musgrave passed him in the last 13-lap green flag dash. Musgrave, who was sixth on that last restart, was the fastest truck on the track at the end and passed Setzer for 2nd place with just a lap to go. Musgrave had the highest finish in a Dodge truck and Setzer was the top finishing Chevrolet.
Bobby Hamilton, who started second, took the lead on the start, but the first caution period was called on lap 2 when Bill Lester, Terry Cook and Chris Horn got together in turn 2. On lap 11, Hamilton was passed by Jason Leffler for the lead and within two laps had fallen out of the top five with handling problems.
Leffler held the lead over Chad Chaffin until lap 30, when most of the leaders made their first round of pit stops under a caution for Brandon Whitt's blown engine. Morgan Shepard took the point by skipping that stop, but pulled in with engine trouble just four laps later. That left Mike Skinner in the lead, which he held for only three laps.
Travis Kvapil, Setzer, Gaughan and Chaffin passed Skinner as a group, and for the next run, the racing got really exciting. Setzer and Chaffin were battling for 3rd place behind Gaughan and Kvapil; Skinner and Wood were scrapping over 5th; and Leffler, Edwards, Musgrave and Terry Cook were trading places behind them for 7th and back.
Chaffin was the first to fall out of the battle, his engine expiring on lap 52. Chaffin tried to pull into the pits immediately after it let go in turn 3, but was carrying too much speed and backed into the pit wall.
Edwards got to second place by passing Kvapil on lap 71, and put increasing pressure on Gaughan for the lead over the next 40 laps.
On lap 83, the leaders all pitted under yellow (for Ricky Sanders' stalled truck), and Gaughan kept the lead over Edwards when they restarted three laps later. Gaughan had led from lap 40 to lap 111 to lead the most laps in the race, but his engine gave up with him in the lead and Edwards led the final 39 laps of the race.
On the final restart, Edwards took off to a large lead while Setzer, Wood, and Musgrave battled for the runner-up spot. Leffler followed that group about two seconds behind them and held another two-second advantage over Kvapil, Matt Crafton, Robert Pressley and Cook. The remaining trucks on the lead lap, Hank Parker Jr, Rick Crawford and Lester, were having a fierce spat over tenth place.
The win came in Edwards' 18th Craftsman Truck Series start, making it two races in a row for Roush's trucks, Wood also getting his first win last week.