The Monster Mile lived up to its reputation, from a rain delayed start and a rain-induced red flag to one of the wildest endings ever during the second attempt at a green, white checkered finish.
[media-credit id=26 align=”alignright” width=”201″][/media-credit]After Joey Logano, who was running in the second spot during the overtime session, hit the wall, sending Clint Bowyer airborne and Steve Wallace hard into the wall as well, Carl Edwards, in the No. 60 Fastenal Ford, remained the survivor, claiming the checkered flag in the 5-Hour Energy 200.
In deference to the carnage on the track, Edwards declined to do his traditional celebratory back flip. He instead went to hoist the ‘Miles the Monster’ trophy in a subdued victory lane.
This was Edwards’ 32nd career NASCAR Nationwide Series win, breaking the tie with NASCAR Hall of Fame Nominee Jack Ingram. Edwards now is fourth alone in that ranking for career Nationwide wins.
“It was an amazing race from my seat,” Edwards said. “A lot was going on. We were playing a strategy with the rain, our pit stops were really good. I thought that rain was going to finish us.”
“When we were coming to the white flag, Joey had a little advantage being on the outside,” Edwards said. “I thought I touched him but I saw the replay and it looked like he got loose and smacked the fence and the bottom fell out of it.”
“It was a very different feeling than what you should have in a race car when you win a race,” Edwards said. “It’s just very fortunate that nobody was hurt.”
“That’s why they call it the Monster Mile.”
Although involved in the wreck himself, Kyle Busch managed to navigate his way through the pile up, claiming the second place for his No. 18 MAC Tools Toyota.
“Well overall the weekend for us just wasn’t quite what we expected,” Busch said. “We unloaded and we weren’t very good off the hauler.”
“The guys dug in and did a great job,” Busch continued. “We caught on some damage on pit road and mashed in the front end, which made it even worse. We passed a lot of cars but then we stalled out.”
“The last lap got awfully crazy there,” Busch said. “I’m not sure if Carl touched him or not but Joey got a little loose and then tried to correct it and at that speed and at this kind of place, there’s not much you’re going to do besides spin out.”
“Joey took a hell of a hit and I’m hoping he’s alright and not too sore for tomorrow,” Busch continued. “There with Clint climbing over him, it just got ugly. That was pretty crazy.”
Reed Sorenson, behind the wheel of the No. 32 Dollar General Chevrolet, finished third in spite of a damaged race car. This was Sorenson’s ninth top-10 finish in ten races at the Monster Mile.
“We were in fifth before the caution came out,” Sorenson said. “It usually gets dicey on green, white checkereds. I saw the 20 get into the wall and I was able to get up high and fortunately miss it for a good finish.”
Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., in the No. 6 Mississippi Flood Relief-NASCAR Unites Ford, finished fourth and David Reutimann, driving for Rusty Wallace Racing, rounded out the top five in his No. 63 5-Hour Energy Grape Toyota.
The final wreck of the race was not the only craziness that occurred in this Nationwide event at the Monster Mile. There was another melee that occurred on Lap 88 when Alex Kennedy, driving the No. 23 St. Baldrick’s/Funny Dan Racecar Man Dodge, spun and hit the wall, bringing out the fifth caution of the day.
During the caution, however, Kennedy, trying to get his car re-fired and into pit road, drove back up the race track, slamming into the No. 16 Roush Fenway Ford. Kevin Swindell was called at the last minute by the team to substitute for the ailing Trevor Bayne, giving him the chance of a lifetime behind the wheel.
“I don’t know what happened,” Swindell said. “We were just talking on the radio and whoever was wrecked just drove straight up the hill.”
“This may have been my only opportunity,” Swindell continued. “And it gets ruined by somebody being an idiot.”
Kennedy, when interviewed after coming out of the infield care center, explained that he was unable to turn the wheel.
“All of a sudden, it stopped turning,” Kennedy said. “I just tried to stop. I feel horrible for Kevin and I ruined his day. I can’t apologize enough for that.”
Points leader coming into this race, Justin Allgaier also had a monster of a day at Dover. He blew a right front tire and hit hard into turns three and four, causing his first DNF in 21 starts.
“This was just a rough day,” Allgaier said. “Definitely not the way we wanted to leave Dover. Hopefully this is just a speed bump on the way to the championship.”
Elliott Sadler, by virtue of his sixth place finish in his No. 2 OneMain Financial Chevrolet, assumed the points lead from Allgaier. Sadler is currently ten points ahead of Reed Sorenson, with Allgaier falling to fifth in the point standings.
“Our goal was to lead the points and be competitive and consistent,” Sadler said. “At Daytona, we started in a hole but that shows how good our race team is.”
Sadler’s day at Dover, however, was not without its challenges. On lap 141, Sadler was penalized for speeding entering the pits and remanded to the tail end of the lead pack.
“We did get the pit road speeding penalty and we fought our way back to the finish,” Sadler said. “It’s special to leave here with the points lead.”
Unofficial Race Results
5-Hour Energy 200, Dover International Speedway
May 14, 2011 – Race 11 of 35
1 Carl Edwards
2 Kyle Busch
3 Reed Sorenson
4 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
5 David Reutimann
6 Elliott Sadler
7 Kenny Wallace
8 James Buescher
9 Aric Almirola
10 Mike Wallace
11 Jason Leffler
12 Brad Keselowski
13 Joey Logano
14 Clint Bowyer
15 Mike Bliss
16 Steve Wallace
17 Josh Wise
18 Ryan Truex *
19 Joe Nemechek
20 Michael Annett
21 J.R. Fitzpatrick
22 Timmy Hill *
23 Danny Efland
24 Jeremy Clements
25 Eric McClure
26 Morgan Shepherd
27 Derrike Cope
28 Dennis Setzer
29 Justin Allgaier
30 Brian Scott
31 Tim George Jr.
32 Alex Kennedy
33 Donnie Neuenberger
34 Carl Long
35 Scott Wimmer
36 Tim Andrews
37 Jennifer Jo Cobb *
38 Kevin Lepage
39 Brad Teague
40 Brett Rowe
41 Jeff Green
42 Charles Lewandoski *
43 Blake Koch *