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'What's a guy to do?' Edwards faults NASCAR

- jutter@charlotteobserver.com
Sunday, Apr. 26, 2009

TALLADEGA, Ala. – Carl Edwards was standing outside the infield care center, collecting his thoughts and preparing to view a replay on Fox of his wild final-lap wreck in Sunday’s Aaron’s 499.

Ryan Newman, who finished third but had little left of his No. 39 Chevrolet to show for it, walked out behind him and tapped him on the arm.

"See you next week, where we can race," Newman said and walked off.

Edwards' reaction to his car barrel-roll down the frontstretch and into the catch-fence while leading the race on the last lap was more pointed.

"I guess we'll do this until someone gets killed and then we'll change it," he said.

"That's the way it is. We do our best. We're put in this box by NASCAR and we have to race this way. If you look at how the final four cars were finishing, you had to be pushing the guy in front of you."

That was scene unfolding at Talladega Superspeedway on the final lap.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was pushing Ryan Newman and Brad Keselowski was pushing Edwards. Coming to the finish, Keselowski wanted to get around Edwards.

Edwards edged up to block Keselowski and Keselowski headed back to the yellow line. And as Edwards tried to slide back down in front of him, Edwards' No. 99 Ford got turned and airborne.

Keselowski went to Victory Lane with his first Sprint Cup win and Edwards was awarded a 24th-place finish.

"NASCAR can talk about aggressive driving zones all they want, but you aren't going to win a race unless you are pushing a guy all the way around the race track," Edwards said.

"Brad was doing everything right. He was pushing, and that's what you have to do to win. If he drives below the yellow line, he loses the race, so what's a guy to do?

"So, you end up having to wreck people or having to get second and none of us want to do that."

Edwards' team owner, Jack Roush, said his heart was in his throat until he saw Edwards get out of his smashed car.

"We had a horrible wreck. It was real exciting at the end. Nobody got hurt," Roush said. "And I guess there will maybe be some greater interest in watching the next race like this for the fact that somebody else may get caught up in a situation where it looks like they were not going to win a race, and they win. And that's a happy thing."

Edwards' car came to a rest just before the start/finish line and before getting in the ambulance Edwards went the few feet to the finish in a symbolic gesture.

"I didn't know if it mattered if I went across the finish line, but I just wanted to finish the race," he said.

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