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An argument lost, a Sprint race won

LONG POND, Pa. — Rain was falling. The cars were parked on pit road with Carl Edwards in 22nd, and he and crew chief Bob Osborne were arguing on top of the team's pit box.

Not the most likely formula for winning a NASCAR race.

Edwards had pitted minutes earlier, after rain began falling on Lap 127 of Sunday's 200-lap Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. Nineteen others, hoping for a rain-shortened race, had stayed on the track.

"We were trying to blame one another for the idea of coming (onto pit road)," Edwards said. "I had to leave the pit box because I was worried Bob was going to, like, punch me in the neck or something."

It all worked out fine.

The race resumed after a 41-minute red flag, and Edwards stretched his last tank of fuel to earn his fourth victory of the season, second only to series points leader Kyle Busch's seven.

"I was really nervous that we made the wrong call there," Edwards said. "(But) Bob's the smartest guy in the world."

The race started in sunshine, and it appeared Mark Martin, who took the lead from pole-winner Jimmie Johnson early, would be the driver to beat all day. But Martin had problems on two pit stops that put him back in the pack. Then dark clouds began moving in, changing strategies.

Martin and June Pocono winner Kasey Kahne stayed out to gain track position. Four laps later, the red flag came out.

"We were going for the win," Kahne said. "If it keeps raining, we win. It didn't, and we got seventh."

But despite more threatening clouds and a few raindrops falling, the racing continued. And Edwards found himself back on top for good when Martin, the last among the drivers on the alternate strategy still on the track, had to pit on Lap 187.

Then Edwards, who made his final stop at the end of Lap 166, just had to worry if he had enough gas to get to the end.

Edwards inherited a 5.6-second lead and built it to more than seven seconds as Osborne kept telling his driver on the radio to take it easy and save fuel. He did ease up over the last few laps and made it easily, beating Tony Stewart by almost 4 seconds — half the front straightaway on the 2.5-mile trioval.

Stewart and Johnson, who took third one week after winning in Indianapolis, used the same strategy as Edwards. Johnson was one of several who coasted across the finish line out of gas.

Busch had to make a gas stop on Lap 199 and fell from fourth to 36th. But he still leads by 176 points over Dale Earnhardt Jr., who finished 12th.

Edwards sits only nine back of Earnhardt thanks to Osborne, who said the confrontation was merely the way he and Edwards work things out.

"It's not out of the ordinary for us to argue," he said. "We get mad at each other. We walk away. And then we walk back together, and calmer heads prevail, and we have a discussion. Ninty-nine percent of the time, it works out for us."

Including Sunday.

finn gets help for first f1 win

BUDAPEST, Hungary —
Finland's Heikki Kovalainen on Sunday won his first Formula One race, the Hungarian Grand Prix. Felipe Massa took the lead early and was heading for his fourth win of the season. But with three laps left, his engine overheated. "Of course I feel a little bit sorry for Felipe," Kovalainen said. "I've had similar moments … this year.

Associated Press

An argument lost, a Sprint race won 08/04/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 2, 2010 10:14am]
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