3M Performance 400

Jay Hart
Yahoo! Sports

How the race was won


Edwards The race came down to Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch. Edwards took the lead on the final pit stop on Lap 180 when he beat Busch, who came into the pits leading, off pit road by a nose. That proved to be huge, as Busch wasn't able to catch Edwards.

Stories of the race

Kyle Busch vs. Carl Edwards. This duel is a preview of what's to come in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Unlike Jimmie Johnson, who couldn't hold off Busch in a late-race restart at Chicagoland, Edwards did.

Chase challengers blowing up. Jeff Gordon smacked the wall, Kasey Kahne and Denny Hamlin both had engine failures and Clint Bowyer languished in the back of the pack. All took major hits.

Roush Fenway's dominance. Roush cars took four of the top five spots, and Jamie McMurray wound up 10th.

Chase implications

Edwards win was huge in trimming Busch's lead heading into the Chase. Edwards holding off Busch essentially made for a 20-point swing. Instead of trailing Busch by 60 points, Edwards is now just 40 points back.

David Ragan, Greg Biffle and Kevin Harvick were big winners. Ragan picked a fine time to match the best finish of his career (3rd), while Biffle wound up fourth and Harvick eighth. Those results boosted Biffle from 10th to seventh in the standings, Harvick from 11th to eighth and moved Ragan to within 26 points of Denny Hamlin in 12th.

Gordon (42nd), Kahne (40th), Hamlin (39th) and Bowyer (20th) all saw their Chase chances put in jeopardy, especially with Ragan re-instering himself into the mix. All dropped three spots in the standings – Gordon to ninth, Kahne to 11th and Hamlin to 12th.

What were they thinking?

Joe Gibbs Racing: Trying to snooker NASCAR officials, crew members of JGR's No. 20 and No. 18 teams in the Nationwide Series put magnets under the accelerators to alter the results of a post-race dyno test. Expect big, big penalties.

Failure to finish, again

Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Earnhardt Jr. The knock on Dale Earnhardt Jr. the last month has been twofold: his inability to finish as strong as he starts and the questionable calls on the pit box by Tony Eury Jr. Both happened again Sunday, as Junior led a bunch of laps early only to see it all go downhill when, following Eury Jr.'s decision not to pit late, Junior, racing on old tires, hit the wall, which dropped him to a 23rd-place finish.

Did you hear?

Ryan Newman finally announced he has signed on to join Tony Stewart next season. Is it a good move? Leaving Penske Racing was a good move because Newman needs a fresh start. Going to Stewart/Haas, however, is a risk, especially at this stage in Newman's career. But with risk comes reward. We'll find out soon enough if it was a risk worth taking.

Grading the race

There was plenty of passing up front, which is in direct contrast to what we've seen all season long. The race could have been better had Busch had something for Edwards on the final restart. Still, this wasn't a follow-the-leader affair, which is a welcome site. Grade: B

From the source

Dale Earnhardt Jr.: "It’s been the same old story. We show up fast but we can't put a whole race together. So we've got to do some homework. We've got to science it out and figure out what the heck is going on, because we are sure fast when that race starts. But I've been like that my whole career."

Joe Gibbs, on the alleged infractions in the Nationwide Series: "If this alleged incident proves true, it goes against everything we stand for as an organization. We will take full responsibility and accept any penalties NASCAR levies against us."

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