The Frontstretch: Busch Breakdown: Pepsi 300 by Toni Montgomery -- Saturday April 7, 2007

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Busch Breakdown: Pepsi 300

Toni Montgomery · Saturday April 7, 2007

 

In A Nutshell: Carl Edwards has had a dominating season in the Busch Series, and Saturday afternoon was no different, as the backflip came out in style once again at Nashville. Edwards, the heavy favorite going in, was quiet through the opening laps with an ill-handling car, but the No. 60 Dish Network crew kept adjusting, and Edwards finally asserted himself as the man to beat in the final third of the race. He lost the lead briefly when Jason Leffler won the race off pit road after the final stop, but Edwards got back in front with a little over 20 laps remaining and cruised to the victory over David Reutimann. Dave Blaney came home third, followed by Leffler and Regan Smith rounding out the Top 5.

Who Should Have Won: Carl Edwards. There was a lot of lead swapping going on early, as the lead changed hands 17 times among nine drivers, but once Edwards and company got it right, it was apparent who the best team would be in Nasvhille.

Three Questions You Should Be Asking After the Race Weekend

1) Did the racing suffer from a lack of Cup drivers?

With the Cup Series off, many of the Buschwhackers decided to skip this standalone Busch Series event. But with 17 lead changes, no one can say there wasn't a lot of good racing going on out there and frankly, on paper this is one of the best races the Busch Series has seen all season.

2) Did anyone take advantage of their big chance to shine?

Yes. Shane Huffman brought home a nice sixth place result and got a good bit of airtime, while Stephen Leicht also scored a Top 10 with his eighth place finish.

3) Can Toyota get some satisfaction out of this Busch Series result?

All three Toyota entries finished in the Top 5, marking their best performance in the Series to date. Is this a sign of things to come or a fluke?

Worth Noting/Points Shuffle:

While none of the Busch regulars was able to pull off the upset, it was a good day overall for the non-Cup contingent as Jason Leffler posted the best finish among them in fourth place. Brad Coleman was the best of the freshman with a 15th place result.

Carl Edwards padded his points lead with the win and now moves ahead of second place Dave Blaney by a generous 321 points. Kevin Harvick stayed home this week and dropped one spot to third, 392 points off the lead. David Reutimann and Kyle Busch round out the Top 5. Marcos Ambrose continues to be the best among non-Cup drivers in sixth while Bobby Hamilton, Jr. takes over seventh and Shane Huffman moves up to eighth. Mike Wallace and Regan Smith round out the Top 10.

Buschwhacker Watch:
Buschwhackers in this race: 8
Starting spots taken by Buschwhackers YTD: 136 of 299
Buschwhackers finishing in Top 10: 4
Buschwhackers finishing in Top 10 YTD: 53 of 70
Races won by Buschwhackers YTD: 7 of 7
Buschwhackers ranked in Top 10 in Busch Series points standings: 5

Quotable:

"Carl Edwards is tough anywhere you go. We could race golf carts out here at Nashville Superspeedway and he would be tough to beat…you have to match him step for step." David Reutimann

"There weren't as many Cup drivers in the field today, so we probably finished a couple of spots better than we would have. I actually prefer the races when a lot of the Cup guys are with us. It's good to have those guys in the field. It’s good for the drivers, anyway. It lets you know where you're at." Marcos Ambrose

“We’ve been knocking at the door all year for a top-five finish and finally got it,” said Smith. “I am so happy to get this result for the guys because I felt I muffed a fifth-place finish for them in Mexico.” Regan Smith, who posted a career best fifth place finish.

Next Up: The Busch Series rejoins the Cup Series next week at Texas Motor Speedway. The O'Reilly 300 can be seen on ESPN2 starting at 3:00 PM EDT.

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