In A Nutshell: One year ago, Carl Edwards lost a possible Busch Series championship when bad weather in Nashville caused a schedule conflict with the Cup Series in Pocono, making it necessary to miss one Busch race in his quest to run both schedules full time. This year, Edwards and his fellow double-dippers had no such bad luck. Thanks to beautiful weather in Nashville, everything went off without a hitch…and for Edwards, I mean everything. In a vindication of sorts for Carl, he dominated the night, walking off with the coveted Nashville guitar trophy in a landslide over Clint Bowyer. Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, and Paul Menard rounded out the Top 5.
Who Should Have Won: Edwards. This was a pretty simple question to answer this week. Edwards led early and often and simply dominated the night, leading 124 of 225 laps. As far as Edwards was concerned, Nashville owed him one, and he was determined to collect on it. Clint Bowyer also looked impressive for a guy on a crazy travel schedule, but Nashville and Bowyer have always had a good relationship, so it was not surprising to see him at the front; he also had nothing for Edwards when it counted.
Three Questions You Should Be Asking After the Race Weekend
1) Many see this stand-alone run of Busch Series races as the best chance for a series regular to win, but given what we saw at Nashville, short of a weather-related schedule conflict, is this a realistic possibility?
2) Carl Edwards and most of the other double-dippers still ran strong at Nashville with no practice time in their cars. What does that say about the nature of the competition the Busch regulars face?
3) Busch regulars dominated qualifying, probably thanks to the lack of practice time for the Cup drivers who were in Pocono. Could this advantage on the starting grid parlay into an advantage during the race for the Busch drivers as this stand-alone stretch continues on through the month of June?
Worth Noting/Points Shuffle:
The top finishing Busch regular of the week not only got into the Top 10, Paul Menard managed to get a Top 5, finishing fifth. Menard is one of three drivers usually mentioned when discussing Busch regulars most likely to break through for a win this year. Of the other two, Johnny Sauter had a solid if not spectacular night, finishing 14th, while Jason Leffler never even made the green flag, losing the fire in his ride on the pace laps.
Danny O’Quinn scored a top ten finish and took home Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors with his tenth place result. O’Quinn had a good night all around as he also started from the outside of the front row, along side fellow rookie and teammate Todd Kluever.
As far as the points, Kevin Harvick is still atop the standings, but Carl Edwards continues to chip away at the margin, which now stands at 272 points. Clint Bowyer remains third, 393 behind the leader. Denny Hamlin holds down fourth spot, while Greg Biffle and Kyle Busch swapped positions, with Biffle moving up two to fifth and Busch sliding back two to seventh. J. J. Yeley remains in sixth between them.
Busch regulars Paul Menard and Johnny Sauter hold serve in eighth and ninth place, but Jason Leffler’s bad luck and 43rd place result drops him all the way to 13th. This means “Herman” has entered the building as Kenny Wallace takes Leffler’s place in the tenth spot.
Buschwhackers in this race: 8
Starting spots taken by Buschwhackers YTD: 224 of 645
Buschwhackers finishing in Top 10: 5
Buschwhackers finishing in Top 10 YTD: 115 of 150
Races won by Buschwhackers YTD: 15 of 15
Buschwhackers ranked in Top 10 of Busch Series points standings: 7
"It was my first pole and I have to give credit to Mike Kelley (crew chief) and the guys on this 3M team because we weren’t that great in practice. We went out pretty early and I wasn’t sure the lap would hold up, but it did and it was cool to have Danny on the front row with me." Todd Kluever on earning his first career pole position in the Busch Series
Next Up: It’s another Saturday night show for the Busch Series. The Meijer 300 from Kentucky Speedway will air at 7:30 PM ET on FX next Saturday, June 17th.
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