Even though the sun had set hours before, ever so slightly cooling the air to ‘almost tolerable’, tempers flared to rival the sweltering heat of the noon day sun earlier in the day as the Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250 Nationwide Series race drew to a close just outside St. Louis.
The day actually started out with a surprise as the young Trevor Bayne won the Coors Light Pole Award earlier in the day. After Bayne led the field to the green flag, the race had the makings of being quite boring actually, as the field raced 144 laps of 200 with only a single caution on lap 44 for debris.
During that time, the race was dominated by the usual Cup Series suspects of Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Carl Edwards. Bayne was an exception as he stayed in the top 10 and mostly in the top five all day. A late-race incident involving Harvick and the No. 62 of Bendan Gaughan ended the hopes of winning for Harvick, the door opened up for many of the Nationwide regulars to record a top-10 finishing day.
After a late-race accident involving Justin Allgaier and Joe Nemechek that drew the red flag from NASCAR on lap 196 set up a green-white-checkered restart, Keselowski and Edwards lined up side by side and raced down into turn 1. As the white flag flew, the two were still neck and neck as the dove into turn 1 for the final time.
Keselowski nudged Edwards, almost spinning him and taking the lead as they headed down the backstretch. Coming out of turn 4, Edwards returned the favor, sending Keselowski spinning down the frontstretch as he (Edwards) raced across the finish line to record the victory.
The No. 22 Discount Tire of Keselowski spun to a stop before crossing the finish line, but was propelled over the finish line after being hit by at least two different cars in a spectacular crash right in front of the flagstand. Keselowski ended up recorded as finishing 14th.
After the race, Keselowski’s father claimed that Edwards “tried to kill my boy, first at Talladega and now here.”
“I didn’t mean any harm to him at all,” said Edwards after hearing of the elder Keselowski’s statements. “The deal is, he’ll learn eventually, that you can’t run into my car over and over and put me in that situation. In every situation there is an aggressor and someone who reacts and I was not the aggressor in this situation. I can understand how dad feels and I respect his dad very much and I’d like him to know that I was definitely not trying to do any harm to his son.”
Because the frontstretch was littered with battered racecars, there was no burnout by Edwards, as he drove his own battered vehicle straight to victory lane where he performed his trademark backflip, surrounded by network personnel. Edwards was also summoned to the NASCAR hauler after his press conference.
Coming in second was Reed Sorenson, followed by polesitter Bayne and Paul Menard in fifth. The No. 66 of Steve Wallace was sixth, with Brian Scott, Colin Braun, Josh Wise, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Tony Raines rounding out the top 10.
Race facts of the Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250 at Gateway International Raceway include:
- This is Edwards’s second victory and 15th top-10 finish in 2010.
- This is his third victory and sixth top-10 finish in seven races at Gateway International Raceway.
- Sorenson (second) posted his fifth top-10 finish in six races at Gateway International Raceway. It is his 11th top-10 finish in 2010.
- Bayne (third) posted his first top-10 finish in two races at Gateway International Raceway.
- Scott (sixth) was the highest-finishing rookie.
- Keselowski leads the points standings by 168 points over Edwards.