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The First Reid: Justice served in Edwards win

The SportsXchange

By Reid Spencer

NASCAR Wire Service

Distributed by the Sports Xchange

The right guy won the race, suggesting once again that there really is a sense of cosmic balance in the universe.

Carl Edwards was three laps away from a hard-earned victory in Sunday night's rain-delayed Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, but caution lights that appeared to have a mind of their own had other ideas.

After Edwards crossed the start/finish line to begin Lap 498, the bank of caution lights illuminated for no apparent reason. NASCAR officials said after the race that the flagman had brushed against an override switch in the closing laps.

What quickly became a full-course caution set up a potential green-white-checkered-flag finish. But Mother Nature intervened, soaking the track with a downpour that began before the race could be restarted, and Edwards took the checkered flag under yellow.

Mercifully, Edwards didn't have to sweat out a two-lap dash against two hungry drivers, each seeking his first career win. Ultimately, both race runner-up Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Edwards' teammate at Roush Fenway Racing, and third-place finisher Aric Almirola posted career-best results, though neither got a final shot at a breakthrough victory.

But that's as it should be. Gambling he could keep the lead on old tires, Edwards had driven away to a lead of more than two seconds over Stenhouse (also on old rubber) before the mysterious caution slowed the race.

Moments later, a deluge determined there would be no attempt at a green-white-checkered finish, Edwards had the win, and justice was served.

@nascarcasm

---The #23 of Alex Bowman caused an incident early when his car shed its battery in the middle of the track, sending streams of toilet-paper-like material over the track. Now needing batteries and toilet paper, Bowman probably has a trip to Walmart in his future.

---Sunday's race proved to be good double-duty practice for Kurt Busch. Between the race and traveling to and from the motorcoach lot during rain delays, pretty certain he logged 1,100 total miles.

---Starting now, black cats consider it bad luck when Martin Truex Jr. crosses their path.

---If the two rain showers weren't enough proof that Mother Nature is angry at NASCAR, she also dropped the temperature to below freezing on Friday -- after teams had purchased new cooling units for qualifying. WE GET IT -- YOU LIKE FOOTBALL.

(Follow @nascarcasm on Twitter. His unique views on NASCAR are his own -- but chances are you already knew that.)

NASCAR Numbers

1: The number of drivers who have posted top-two finishes in the first four races of a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Dale Earnhardt Jr. fell short in his bid to join the only member of that exclusive club, Richard Petty, after finishing 24th Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway in an ill-handling car.

3: The number of drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series who have made the cut to the final 12 in the first three sessions of knockout qualifying. Penske teammates Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano share that distinction with reigning series champion Jimmie Johnson.

34: After Sunday's win by Carl Edwards, the number of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories recorded by Ford drivers at Bristol Motor Speedway, where Blue Ovals swept the top three spots. Fords have also been to Victory Lane at Michigan International Speedway 35 times in the top series.

5: The number of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories posted by Jimmie Johnson at Auto Club Speedway, a track record. Johnson got his first career win at Fontana in the 10th race of his 2002 rookie season. After that, the deluge, as Johnson has claimed 66 NASCAR Sprint Cup victories and six series championships all told.

9: The number of California natives expected to appear on the entry list for Sunday's Auto Club 400 in Fontana, Calif. They are: Jimmie Johnson (El Cajon), Jeff Gordon (Vallejo), AJ Allmendinger (Los Gatos), Kyle Larson (Elk Grove), Casey Mears (Bakersfield), David Gilliland (Riverside), Cole Whitt (Alpine), Kevin Harvick (Bakersfield), Josh Wise (Riverside).

NASCAR ETC.

Last year's Auto Club winner Kyle Busch needs just 67 laps led this weekend at Auto Club -- a feat he's accomplished five times at the two-mile track -- to become the 15th driver in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series to log 10,000 laps at the point. ... The new TUDOR SportsCar Championship lead Prototype class provided the most competitive racing ever seen in the Twelve Hours of Sebring with nine cars finishing on the lead lap (previous record: three). ... Chip Ganassi Racing became the first organization to win the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Twelve Hours of Sebring, Daytona 500 and Indy 500. ... Porsche's first North American factory team has proven to be an early success with its Porsche 911 RSR completing the historic Daytona-Sebring double in the GT Le Mans class. ... The innovative DeltaWing DWC13 led its first laps ever at Sebring Raceway with Andy Meyrick out front for 13 laps in the early stages of the race. ... The TUDOR Championship's next race is at Long Beach on April 12. Due to limited pit and paddock space at the street circuit only the lead Prototype and GT Le Mans classes will compete.

National Series Standings

This year, wins matter more than in any season in the 65-year history of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Essentially, a win locks a driver into the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

2014 Winners

Pos Driver Wins

1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1

2. Kevin Harvick 1

3. Brad Keselowski 1

4. Carl Edwards 1

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

Pos Driver Points

1 Brad Keselowski 163

2 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 153

3 Carl Edwards 152

4 Jeff Gordon 152

5 Jimmie Johnson 143

6 Joey Logano 141

7 Denny Hamlin 140

8 Matt Kenseth 138

9 Ryan Newman 125

10 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 122

11 Kasey Kahne 120

12 Greg Biffle 118

13 Austin Dillon # 117

14 Kyle Busch 111

15 Marcos Ambrose 108

16 Jamie McMurray 100

NASCAR Nationwide Series

Pos Driver Points

1 Regan Smith 151

2 Trevor Bayne 150

3 Ty Dillon # 143

4 Chase Elliott # 138

5 Elliott Sadler 135

6 Brendan Gaughan 131

7 Brian Scott 127

8 James Buescher 117

9 Dylan Kwasniewski # 116

10 Landon Cassill 105

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

Pos Driver Points

1 Timothy Peters 43

2 Johnny Sauter 41

3 Ron Hornaday Jr. 39

4 Ryan Blaney 38

5 Jeb Burton 37

6 Joe Nemechek 36

7 Jimmy Weller III 35

8 German Quiroga 34

9 Ryan Sieg 33

10 Tyler Reddick 32

Tweets Of The Week

Trevor Bayne

@Tbayne21

I vote we build a bunch of Bristols all across the country... Best racing all year. #actioneverywhere

Clint Bowyer

?@ClintBowyer

Not the day/night we wanted but live to see another day. Proud of the fans for sticking with us. You definitely win the hard charger award!!

TJ Bell

@TJBell_racing

Any race at night is awesome but this race is at a whole new level. They are standing on the loud pedal.

Jeff Burton?

@JeffBurton

Don't let the caution light deal ruin a great race. The results ended as they should have. Really fun race to watch!

Kenny Wallace

@Kenny_Wallace

Our family was worried about Carl Edwards slipping on the WET concrete during his back flip all of us were like NOOOOOO!

Andy Lally

@AndyLally

WE WON SEBRING!!!!

BMWUSA Motorsports

?@BMWUSARacing

It has been said that the 12 hrs of Sebring are tougher than the 24hrs of Daytona...we believe it tonight.

Flying Lizard Motorsport

@FlyingLizard_MS

@SpencerPumpelly frustrated with the slow car ahead of him. "Permission to hit him?" Team: "let's don't." Spencer: "how about a love tap?"

Marino Franchitti

@MFranchitti

Sebring 12hr winners! Wow, still hasn't sunk in, thank you @BigMachine @CGRTeams, @scottpruett01 & @MemoRojas15 Incredible!!

This Week

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES

The Race: Auto Club 400

The Place: Auto Club Speedway

The Date/Time: Sunday, March 23, 3 p.m. ET

TV: FOX

Radio: MRN, Sirius XM Ch. 90

NASCAR

NATIONWIDE SERIES

The Race: TREATMYCLOT.com 300

The Place: Auto Club Speedway

The Date/Time: Saturday, March 22, 5 p.m. ET

TV: ESPN

Radio: MRN, Sirius XM Channel 90

Tune-In: NASCAR On Television, Week of March 17-23 (all times ET)

Monday, March 17

4 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1

4:30 p.m., NASCAR's The List: Greatest Finishes, NBC Sports Network

5 p.m., NASCAR America, NBC Sports Network

5 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub (re-air), FOX Sports 2

Tuesday, March 18

2:30 a.m., NASCAR Now, ESPN2

Noon, NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1

2 p.m., 1 on 1: Jimmie Johnson (re-air), FOX Sports 1

5 p.m., NASCAR America, NBC Sports Network

6 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub (re-air), FOX Sports 2

Wednesday, March 19

3 a.m., NASCAR Now, ESPN2

Noon, NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1

1 p.m., Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge at Sebring, FOX Sports 1

4:30 p.m., NASCAR's The List: Legendary Drivers, NBC Sports Network

5 p.m., NASCAR America, NBC Sports Network

6 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub (re-air), FOX Sports 2

Thursday, March 20

2 a.m., NASCAR Now, ESPN2

Noon, NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1

5 p.m., NASCAR America, NBC Sports Network

7 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub (re-air), FOX Sports 2

Friday, March 21

Noon, NSCS Race at Bristol (re-air), FOX Sports 1

3 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Practice, FOX Sports 1

4:30 p.m., NASCAR Nationwide Series Practice, FOX Sports 1

5:30 p.m., NASCAR Live, FOX Sports 1

6 p.m., NASCAR Nationwide Series Practice, FOX Sports 1

7:30 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Qualifying, FOX Sports 1

9 p.m., The Day: Daytona Primetime (re-air), FOX Sports 1

Saturday, Mar. 22

11:30 a.m., NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Race at Bristol, FOX Sports 1

12:30 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Practice, FOX Sports 1

1:30 p.m., NASCAR Nationwide Series Qualifying, FOX Sports 1

3 p.m., NASCAR Live, FOX Sports 1

3:30 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Final Practice, FOX Sports 1

4:30 p.m., NASCAR Nationwide Series Countdown, ESPN

5 p.m., NASCAR Nationwide Series Race at Auto Club Speedway, ESPN

Sunday, Mar. 23

1:30 p.m., NASCAR RaceDay, FOX Sports 1

2:30 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Pre-Race Show, FOX

3 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Race at Auto Club Speedway, FOX

3 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Race at Auto Club Speedway, FOX Deportes

7:30 p.m., Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge at Sebring (re-air), FOX Sports 2

Midnight, NASCAR Victory Lane, FOX Sports 1

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