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Edwards wins virtually, really


Carl Edwards is lifted in celebration. 
 (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Carl Edwards is lifted in celebration. (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Associated Press

Carl Edwards turned his first laps at Pocono Raceway playing a video game.

He paid attention, and when it came time for the real thing, nobody was better.

Edwards raced to his second Nextel Cup victory of the year Sunday at Long Pond, Pa., easily adjusting to a new gearing rule and avoiding the tire woes that plagued other drivers.

“It’s a NASCAR game that you can buy on the shelf,” he said. “I’ve got a steering wheel and a clutch. Coming to a new track and spending time on one of those things really helps.”

The Missouri driver, who celebrated his first NASCAR Nextel Cup victory three months ago in Atlanta with a backflip from the window of his car, did it again.

His Ford led 45 of 200 laps and beat the Chevrolet of Brian Vickers in a race that ended under caution on the 2.5-mile triangle. Edwards took the lead for the fourth and final time on lap 187. Vickers led six times for 121 laps, both race highs.

While he was winning, Edwards lost the points lead in the Busch Series because a rainout Saturday night in Nashville, Tenn., prevented him from racing there Sunday. Reed Sorenson took the Busch lead and Edwards fell to fourth.

The gearing rule being used at certain events was in force, making this the first Pocono race in many years without drivers downshifting to gain quick acceleration exiting the sharp turns. The rule is designed to cut rpms and reduce the number of engine failures.

There was just one of them among the 43 cars in this race on a hot and humid day when cut tires were the main problem for the drivers. Both Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr. came in numerous times. Most of the cut tires were on the left front wheels, due perhaps to setups used to counter the lack of shifting.

Second in the $4.75 million race was Vickers. Joe Nemechek in a Chevy was third, next came the Chevy of rookie Kyle Busch and then that of Waltrip. In sixth came Jimmie Johnson then Mark Martin, Kevin Harvick, Jeff Gordon and Jamie McMurray.

The winner averaged 129.177 in a race slowed eight times by caution. There were 14 lead changes among seven drivers.

Busch Series

Clint Bowyer raced to his first NASCAR Busch Series victory, beating Kenny Wallace by 2.386 seconds in the rain-delayed Federated Auto Parts 300 at Nashville Superspeedway in Gladeville, Tenn.

“It’s great to finally get the deal sealed at Nashville,” said Bowyer, who has five top-five finishes in five starts on the 1.3-mile concrete oval. “It all started for me here two years ago in an ARCA race and Richard Childress saw me.

“I absolutely cannot believe it. I’ve been in position before where I thought we had it and I spoke too soon. But I didn’t speak too soon today.”

The 26-year-old driver for Richard Childress Racing became the sixth driver to race to his first series victory in nine races on the track.

Rookie Reed Sorenson, who raced to his first Busch Series victory at the track in April, finished third to take the series points lead.

Tony Raines was fourth, followed by Martin Truex Jr., David Stremme, Denny Hamlin, J.J. Yeley, Johnny Sauter and Paul Wolfe.

Formula One

Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya were heading toward a 1-2 finish in the Canadian Grand Prix at Montreal, in what was shaping up as a dominating day for McLaren-Mercedes.

Then a tactical error by the team led to Montoya”s disqualification and Raikkonen experienced sudden mechanical trouble.

The day was salvaged when Raikkonen nursed his car home for his third victory of the Formula One season, ending Michael Schumacher’s dominance in Canada. Raikkonen also narrowed the gap to 22 points on world championship points leader Fernando Alonso, who failed to finish for the first time this season.

In his last outing, Raikkonen was leading the European Grand Prix until his tire exploded on the final lap. This time he had to overcome failing steering in the closing laps to hold off Schumacher, who has a record seven wins on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, including three in a row.

Rubens Barrichello, who broke his gearbox during qualifying and started last in the field, rallied to a third-place finish for Ferrari. Felipe Massa was fourth for Sauber-Petronas, beating teammate and Canadian star Jacques Villeneuve, who wound up ninth on the track named after his late father.

NHRA

Gary Scelzi cut John Force’s Funny Car lead to 64 points, winning the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill., for his second victory of the year and 31st of his career.

Scelzi beat Eric Medlen in the final with a quarter-mile run of 4.740 seconds at 330.80 mph in a Dodge Stratus. Medlen finished in 4.805 at 321.73.

Force, the 13-time champion, was eliminated in the first round.

Scott Kalitta, Jason Line and Chip Ellis also won their divisions in the $1.8 million competition, the 10th of 23 events in the $50 million series.

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