Keselowski shines, Edwards
takes checkered at Darlington
Photo by Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images
Carl Edwards celebrates his victory with a burnout Sunday night at Darlington Raceway.
After a wild night of racing under the lights at Darlington, Carl Edwards escaped victorious at the Lady in Black Sunday night.
Featuring the low downforce, soft tire combination NASCAR debuted earlier in the season, Edwards grabbed the lead on a restart with eight laps to go and didn’t look back.
Brad Keselowski showed dominance during the race, leading a combined six times for 196 laps. But the restart put Edwards out to a sizable lead the Keselowski could not overcome, he came home in second.
“I needed to be a little bit better everywhere,” Keselowski said. “Needed to be better on the restarts and a little better probably because I brushed the wall a little bit there. I just needed to be a little bit better everywhere to have a shot at the win.”
This edition of The Southern 500 featured a track record 18 cautions and 25 lead changes in a night full of throwback paint schemes to previous generations of NASCAR.
Photo by Sarah Crabill/NASCAR via Getty Images
Brad Keselowski sits in the garage area at Darlington Raceway.
The booth of the NBC broadcast midway through the race featured storied NASCAR play by play voice Ken Squire along with Ned and Dale Jarrett. Paint schemes of the cars were mostly previous paint schemes that adorned the cars and their respective numbers previously.
For Edwards, this race win is his second of the year, further solidifying him into the Chase and giving him an extra three bonus points heading into the first round of the playoffs.
“Well, I feel like my pit crew ought to be sitting up here doing interviews,” he said post-race in the media center. “They won that race for us. It was just amazing to come down third and to go out leading the race. Darian, all the guys, nobody gave up tonight. We were two laps down. We fought back hard. It's a huge win for us.”
For Kyle Busch, the season started off with a hard wreck at Daytona in NASCAR’s Xfinity Series. Despite missing the first 11 races with injury, Busch is now officially locked into the Chase after winning four races and securing his spot in the top 30 in points with a seventh at Darlington.
“Making the Chase was something we weren’t all sure was possible after my injuries,” Busch said. “It’s a great opportunity to be with these guys on this M&M’S Crispy team. They’re working really hard at Joe Gibbs Racing – we’ve got a lot of speed and I think all four cars have a really good shot at this championship.”
While not yet mathematically locked in, Chip Ganassi driver Jamie McMurray is essentially a shoo-in for making his first career Chase despite driving full-time since its inception in 2004. McMurray would make the Chase with a win at Richmond, or just by taking the green flag.
As the summer winds down, NASCAR’s home stretch has only just begun.