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Edwards makes hay in Vegas.


Carl Edwards 'cashed in' at Las Vegas last Saturday during the Sam's Town 300, despite finishing second behind Roush Fenway Racing team-mate Greg Biffle. He also took the lead in the series point standings for the first time since claiming his 2007 series championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Kyle Busch, the standings leader heading into Vegas, was involved in an accident on lap 21 that dropped him to a 39th-place finish at his home track - and also dropped him four spots to fifth in the standings. Edwards capitalised and opened a 48-point lead over 2003 series champion Brian Vickers when he posted his fourth top ten finish in five races at Las Vegas.

While his Sprint Cup form may have fluctuated, Edwards has rattled off impressive Nationwide finishes thus far in 2009, with second at Daytona, fourth at Auto Club Speedway and the aforementioned runner-up result at Las Vegas - but he isn't the only driver at Roush Fenway to jump to a good start this year.

Biffle is now third in the series, and ended a 76-race series winless streak with his victory at Las Vegas, while David Ragan is sixth overall after two top tens in the first three races.

When the series returns to racing at Bristol Motor Speedway following a two-week hiatus, Edwards will be raring to go. He owns one win, two top fives and four top tens in nine races on the 0.533-mile high banked oval, and NASCAR's season-to-date 'loop data' shows him ranked first in the driver rating category.

The 2009 Nationwide Series rookie of the year class has also started the season strongly and looks to raise the level of competition this season.

Brendan Gaughan is pacing the new group of rookies, and is fourth in the standings, just nine points behind third-placed Biffle. He also leads the rookie standings by five points over Michael McDowell, building on his experience in NASCAR's Camping World Truck Series. At his home track in Vegas, he posted his second consecutive top ten finish in his first three starts this season.

“Big-time teams pull off big-time feats and that's exactly what our Rusty Wallace Racing team did,” he said, “We were able to pull off another top ten and I have to tell you, this is the most fun I've had in racing in a long, long time. I can't wait to get to Bristol.”

While Gaughan has yet to start at Bristol in the NASCAR Nationwide car, he's made five starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series there with a best finish of second in 2007.



Related Pictures

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Kyle Busch leads Carl Edwards en route to Nationwide Series victory at Auto Club Speedway   [pic credit: Getty/NASCAR]
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS, races to an eighth place finish with Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS who finished in second place Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Alan Marler for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, finishes in second place Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Brian Cleary for Chevy Racing)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, leads the field to the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 8, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 8, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, drives during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 1, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, signs the Coors Light Pole Award backdrop after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 1, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 1, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, sits in his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 1, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, beats Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, to the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 13, 2016 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 6, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 6, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, races Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 6, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 6, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 6, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, finishes in eighth place Sunday, March 6, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, races to victory Sunday, February 28, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. This was Johnson`s 76th career win, 5th in Atlanta. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, finished second. The victory ties Johnson with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in NASCAR premier series wins. (Photo by Alan Marler for Chevy Racing)

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