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Mark Martin was the top Ford driver in the Truck race, finishing third in the No. 21 F-150.
DEARBORN, Mich., August 26 – Ford race fans were doing back flips over Carl Edwards’ performance Saturday night in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at Bristol, Tenn.
Edwards, known for his trademark victory back flip, won his second NEXTEL Cup race of the season Saturday night on the newly paved short track at Bristol in what is often NASCAR’s most exciting race of the season. The victory also was the 99 th for Roush Fenway Racing.
His performance capped off a Ford race weekend that also saw David Ragan finish sixth in the NASCAR Busch series race and Mark Martin place third in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck series event earlier in the weekend.
Edwards, who led 182 of the 500 laps, including the final 130, was the first Ford driver to win a race using a Car of Tomorrow. So far, NASCAR has used the Car of Tomorrow in 10 races.
"My Office Depot Fusion was really good tonight," said Edwards. "It sure made it a lot of fun. Man, those restarts were just wearing out my nerves there. That took about three or four years off of my life, I think. I’m just very excited to win this race to say the very least. I’m very, very grateful to even be here, so to win this race. I don’t know if it’s sunk in yet. I get to go home tomorrow and spend a little time at home and it’s very exciting."
Edwards, who remains fifth in the standings, has clinched a spot in the Chase for the Cup.
"I feel pretty good about the championship," said Edwards. "It’s neat, the sport has its ups-and-downs and it was very frustrating last season at times and at the beginning of this season, but I know I firmly believe that hard work can get you somewhere and I feel like everyone has been working really hard.
Edwards’ Roush Fenway teammate, Greg Biffle, finished 10 th to keep alive his slim hopes of making the Chase.
Five Fusions finished in the top-14 places in the Busch series race, with David Ragan leading the way with a sixth-place finish.
"Bristol is a tough track and we beat some good drivers," said Ragan. "So hat’s off to the team for preparing a great car. We had a good race and had a lot of fun.
Jamie McMurray also landed a top-10 finish, taking ninth place, while accomplished Truck driver Travis Kvapil started in his second Busch series race of the season.
"Busch Series racing is pretty tough because the top 20 guys run pretty much the same speed," said Kvapil, who finished 21 st. "I was pretty happy with it after we got some adjustments done, so it wasn’t a bad night. We brought it home in one piece. We fought track position, but we got ourselves back there with a bad handling race car."
In Wednesday night’s Truck race, Kvapil appeared to be heading for his fourth victory of the season before Kyle Busch spun him with 20 laps to go. As a result, Mark Martin was the top Ford driver in the race, finishing third.
"The race track is awesome," said Martin. "I want to thank Wood Brothers/JTG Racing for letting me drive such an awesome Ford F-150 tonight. We really wanted to win this thing for our Ford store back in Batesville and all the folks there, but we gave it a good run. We never changed tires all night and the truck came on strong at the end. We were set up for the long run so it worked out, but just not good enough to win."
Rick Crawford also landed a top-five finish. "This Ford F-150 Power Stroke Diesel by International made some really bold moves tonight," said Crawford. "We made one adjustment on an early pit stop and those four Goodyear Wranglers stayed under me and we finished up with a top five. That was a pretty good run for us tonight."
Next weekend the NEXTEL Cup and Busch competitors head west to California Speedway while the Truck series will race in St. Louis and the NHRA will be in Indianapolis for the U.S. Nationals, drag racing’s "Super Bowl."