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Edwards finally beats Busch at Michigan

Aug 17, 2008 - 11:52 PM BROOKLYN, Michigan (Ticker) -- Carl Edwards finally beat Kyle Busch.

Edwards, who has finished runner-up to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series leader three times this season, won Sunday's 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

In a Ford, Edwards beat Busch off pit road during the fifth caution and took the lead for good with 18 laps remaining to win his fifth race of the season and 12th career.

"It was huge," said Edwards of beating Busch off pit road. "(Crew chief) Bob Osborne has been making the right calls and the guys really came through for me."

Edwards was forced to survive two late cautions and held off Busch on the final restart with three laps to go.

"Kyle is very good on restarts," Edwards said. "I knew he was going to hang back to get a run on me, but I wasn't going to let that happen."

Edwards' win Sunday capped off a phenomenal weekend for the Missouri native. He turned 29 on Friday and won Saturday's Nationwide Series race.

Busch was second in a Toyota, followed by Edwards' Roush Fenway Racing teammates David Ragan, Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth.

Roush Fenway Racing co-owner Jack Roush now has 20 victories on the 2-mile Michigan tri-oval.

"I had pretty much nothing (for Edwards)," Busch said. "Once he got that gap, it was over."

With the second-place finish, Busch became the first driver to officially qualify for the "Chase for the Championship" which begins on September 14 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

"It's good to be locked in, but we still have three races left before the Chase," Busch said. "Then we have 10 more in the Chase to make it happen."

Busch has a 222-point lead ahead of Edwards in the standings.

While Roush Fenway dominated Sunday, Hendrick Motorsports struggled. Two-time reigning series champion Jimmie Johnson spun after contact with Travis Kvapil as the field crossed the finish line and finished 17th.

Johnson also contributed to Jeff Gordon's disappointing 42nd-place finish. Gordon cut a tire and hit the wall after contact with Johnson on lap 91.

"I just hate that that got the 48 (Johnson) involved," Gordon said. "We always try to have a lot of respect for one another out there and it got really dicey there on that restart."

The poor finish dropped Gordon to ninth in the standings and he is just 82 points ahead of Clint Bowyer who sits 13th and one spot out of the Chase.

Another hendrick driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr., led 43 laps, but hit the wall with 17 laps remaining and limped home 23rd.

"It's been the same old story - we show up fast but we can't put a whole race together," Earnhardt said. "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."

Denny Hamlin blew a motor with seven laps remaining and wound up 39th. That dropped him to the 12th and final spot for the Chase, just 26 points ahead of Bowyer.

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