By Toby Christie (Originally appeared on RubbingsRacing.com)
Kyle Busch looked to continue his weekend of domination Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway in the Nationwide Series race. Just to put in perspective how dominant Busch has been thus far this weekend, in the 351 laps that have been completed at Texas Motor Speedway so far he has led 186 of them.
However Busch wasn’t up front when it mattered most in this one. Carl Edwards who led the majority of the second half of the race would get a great restart, and would hold off Kyle Busch on a restart during a green-white-checkered finish.
Following the race Busch was asked what happened on that final restart.
“Carl Edwards jumped the restart by about three lengths before the double red marks,” Busch answered.
Kyle was then asked if he had talked to NASCAR about Carl Edwards’ potential illegal restart Busch had a very quick answer.
“Does it f—ing matter,” a seething Busch lashed out.
Carl Edwards rebutted Busch’s claim that he jumped the start in his post-race press conference.
“I don’t expect him to be happy. I just did what I had to do to win the race, and we won the race, it just really doesn’t matter what he says,” Edwards said.
This win marks Edwards’ first ever in the Nationwide Series at Texas Motor Speedway. In doing so Edwards will also pocket an extra $75,000 as he was an eligible driver in Nationwide’s Dash4Cash program. Edwards was so pumped about his victory that he took his celebration to the grandstands.
The biggest story of the day though was the guy who finished third… Brad Keselowski.
Keselowski started the race in 16th and had to just finish 21st or better to secure his first NASCAR Nationwide Series championship. He quickly moved his way from 16th to the top-five and he stayed there the remainder of the day.
Keselowski clinches the championship two weeks early, and how fitting he does it on a day where there is controversy between his two biggest rivals throughout the season. Keselowski will now be able to breathe easy for the rest of the year. Keselowski opened up on the topic of his championship following his great race.
“It’s awesome to think and sit and reflect. As I was looking through the last few weeks knowing it looked pretty good to win the championship, I couldn’t help but think about all the things that could go wrong,” Keselowski said. “And when you think of those things you sit and say ‘I’m not going to get my hopes up until it’s really there’ and I tried really hard not to. Because you don;t want that crushing feeling if it doesn’t happen.”
Keselowski continued, “You know it’s here it really happened.So I just feel like I should be going to Disney World or something. It’s pretty cool to sit back and think about it even deeper and reflect on what it means to be the champion of any sport. How few people get that opportunity. That in itself is humbling in itself.”
Carl Edwards who has had his run-ins with Keselowski actually took time out of his victory celebration to congratulate the new Nationwide Series champion.
“You thought I was congratulating him? Nah I’m just kidding (laughter), I was congratulating him,” Edwards joked. “I was nervous he was going to run me over for a second, I saw he was doing his burnout.”
This is the first time that a driver has ever piloted a Roger Penske owned car to a championship. Penske said after the accomplishment that he definitely knows where Keselowski stands as a driver now.
“At the end of the day, when you think about not being in the winner’s circle at Indy and not winning that championship, this is right up there with it. Brad has done an outstanding job. All of the guys from top to bottom have been so good and so committed. To have reliability and durability of the car and a driver that stays out of trouble, now we know that he’s a great race car driver,” a proud Penske stated.
Crew chief Paul Wolfe chimed in on what it meant to bring “The Captain” Roger Penske his first NASCAR championship.
“He (Roger Penske) has probably done everything in motorsports that you can do, but get this championship. It’s pretty special that we could do it for Penske Racing and all the hard work that goes into it,” Wolfe said. “I’m just proud of the effort.”
It was a day of firsts as it was also Dodge’s first ever NASCAR Nationwide Series championship, and it was the first ever NASCAR championship for the Keselowski family, which has been racing for three generations.
Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr. rounded out the top-five at Texas Motor Speedway Saturday.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. had a great day, and actually led more laps today then he had all year up to this point with 27 laps led. This brings his season laps led to 37. Stenhouse would fade late and finish 11th.
The O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge was a race that wasn’t very kind to Texas-native drivers. James Buescher started from the pole and looked to have a great car, but a shredded tire on lap 44 scratched out any chance he had to win the race. Buescher would finish 37th.
David Starr another Texas-native had problems all day long en route to a 38th-place finish.
One of Starr’s issues happened early when he was turned into the wall down the backstretch. Danica Patrick was collected in that scuffle, and had to pit at the time for new tires. Danica would wind up 22nd three laps down.