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Dickies 500

Jay Hart
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How the race was won

Carl Edwards
Edwards Edwards dominated most of the race, but when a host of drivers took two tires on the second-to-last pit stop, Edwards, who opted for four, became the chaser. Crew chief Bob Osborne told Edwards not to worry, that he had a plan. Turns out the plan was not to pit again, going the final 69 laps on a single tank of gas. It may not have been Osborne's original idea, but it worked, because when the rest of the field pitted one last time, Edwards took back the lead, dialed back on his accelerator to save fuel and cruised to his eighth win of the season.

Stories of the race

Johnson's lack of a comeback: For the second straight week, Jimmie Johnson fell a lap down early after missing on the initial set up. Unlike last week at Atlanta, where he got back on the lead lap quickly, Johnson never recovered, mostly because Edwards was so quick that he kept putting more and more cars a lap down, making it difficult for Johnson to get the Lucky Dog.

Jamie McMurray's rise: It's time Jamie McMurray gets credit where credit is due. He is good on the 1.5-mile tracks and came close to grabbing the victory Sunday. Watch for McMurray to challenge again in two weeks at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Chase watch

Jimmie Johnson
Johnson In the weekly game of musical chairs, Edwards is now the hot topic. Can he catch Johnson? Let's not get ahead of ourselves. Yes, Edwards trimmed Johnson's lead to 106 points, but that's still a substantial advantage with only two races remaining. Let's also not forget that Johnson has won the last two races at Phoenix, site of this weekend's event. Johnson is still very much in the driver's seat.

What was he thinking?

David Gilliland punting Juan Pablo Montoya at 180 mph was way below the belt. NASCAR would be right in parking Gilliland for one race. It's one thing to rattle someone's cage with a tap to the bumper, which is what Montoya did to Gilliland, but there is no place for purposely wrecking anyone, especially at a place like Texas Motor Speedway, one of the fastest tracks on the circuit. Gilliland wants to turn heads, but Sunday he did it for all the wrong reasons.

Grading the race

Is there anything more predictable than a NASCAR Cup race on a 1.5-mile track? We expected a follow-the-leader affair and that's exactly what we got. At one point, Edwards had an eight-second lead. Is that exciting racing? If not for Edwards winning on fuel strategy, there would be nothing memorable about this race. Grade: D+

From the source

Carl Edwards: "First Bob (Osborne) said, 'We're two-tenths of a lap short, so conserve.' Then he came back and said, 'No, we're four laps short, just go real hard and we'll pit.' Then he came back again and said, 'We'll conserve.' So just by all that I kind of knew that he wasn't too sure about it, but I'm really glad it worked out."

Jimmie Johnson: "In racing you have to expect anything and everything and we had that last week and that came back to us and we were able to get a second. This week we could only salvage 15th but that's racing. Stuff happens and you just have to deal with it."

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