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Edwards wins Dodge Dealers 400

Sep 24, 2007 - 12:18 AM DOVER, Delaware (Ticker) -- Carl Edwards battled through seven late cautions on Sunday to win the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Dodge Dealers 400 at Dover International Speedway.

On a day where several "Chase for the Championship" contenders struggled, Edwards drove a Ford Fusion to his third win of the season and seventh career to move up to third in the standings, three points behind leader Jeff Gordon.

"We just have to keep running like we've been running," said Edwards, who leads the NASCAR Busch series standings by a whopping 754 points.

"This is a big win for us and great points day. A lot of guys (in the Chase) had bad days."

Gordon was 11th in a Chevrolet Impala and took the lead atop the standings from teammate Jimmie Johnson who finished 14th.

"It was a crazy day at Dover and somehow we came out of it with the points lead," Gordon said.

Tony Stewart ran ninth in a Chevrolet and moved into second place, just two points behind Gordon.

Edwards' Roush Fenway Racing teammate Greg Biffle was second, followed by the Chevrolets of Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mark Martin and Kyle Busch.

Busch remained fifth in the standings, just 10 points behind Gordon.

Clint Bowyer, who won last week's first Chase race at New Hampshire, started 42nd after a poor qualifying effort but rallied to finish 12th. He sits sixth in the standings, 18 points out of the lead.

The rest of the Chase contenders were not as fortunate.

A multi-car pileup with 14 laps left knocked out Johnson, Martin Truex Jr., and Kurt Busch.

Truex wound up 13th after earning his first career Nextel Cup win here in June. He sits seventh in the standings, 46 points behind Gordon.

"It was a top-five day for us until late," Truex said. "We stayed on the lead lap like we needed to and had ourselves in a pretty good position there.

"The No. 2 (Busch) just got in the wall, I don't know if he blew a tire or what. It was just unfortunate. The bad luck bit us today."

Matt Kenseth led a race-high 192 laps, but blew the engine in his Ford and wound up 35th, dropping three spots to 10th in the standings, 116 points off Gordon's pace.

Denny Hamlin also fell three spots to 12th in the standings after an incident with Kyle Petty on lap 204. The two had a brief incident in Hamlin's garage while repairs were being done to his Chevrolet.

Petty reached into Hamlin's car and slapped his visor down. Hamlin got out of his car and had to be restrained by his crew.

"Don't smack me on the helmet. You smack me on the helmet and I'm going to punch you in the face, bottom line," said Hamlin whose title hopes are all but dashed. "You don't come to my car; you don't come to my pit. You meet me somewhere else and we'll settle it. I have the utmost respect for Kyle, but don't lay your hands on my head.

"I did not say one word to him. I asked him to come over and talk to me. He chose to slap my helmet. I have a short fuse. Don't do that."

Petty sarcastically pinned the blame on Hamlin.

"We were a little bit loose. I guess it's my fault," Petty said. "I watched the Busch race yesterday and I knew Denny (Hamlin) was sick, I just didn't know he was hallucinating and needed three lanes to get up off the corner because he ran all over us.

"I guess he is in a race by himself."

Kevin Harvick had tire problems early in the race and finished 20th. He is ninth in the standings, 115 behind Gordon heading to Kansas City.

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