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The mystery of Carl Edwards' wreck

How (and why) did Carl Edwards manage to wreck his car after a flawless All-Star race? Conspiracy theorists pour over that, and the state of Edwards' contract renewal negotiations.
It's the curious case of the NASCAR wreck that shouldn't have happened.

Edwards had just completed 100 flawless laps of Charlotte Motor Speedway, with the #99 car still in a pristine state. But then he decided to do an impromptu celebratory slide through the in-field grass area, and by the time he came to a stop the front of the car was as badly mangled as if he'd gone into the speedway wall head-on at high speed.

Edwards climbed out, mimed a big "what the heck?" shrug for the crowd, and then got on with performing his trademark backflip off the car's driver-side door. Happily, that was back to a perfect execution.

"Nothing could ruin my night," Edwards beamed. "If I had flipped over and broke both my arms, I'd still be sitting here smiling!"

Speaking afterwards in victory lane, Edwards was keeping it light but sounded rather annoyed that the organisers had been careless enough to allow an infield drainage pipe to be in such a potentially dangerous area. "I had no idea that drain was there," he said. "I was trying to do a nice, full slide there and I hit a drainage pipe. I guess if you're going to tear it up, that's the time to tear it up."

So it was a drainage pipe?

Well ... no. NASCAR officials inspected the area, and there was no drain there. Later, car owner Jack Roush tried again:

"Unfortunately he hit a manhole cover," he said, incredulous that such track negligence had cost him a perfectly decent race car and caused tens of thousands of dollars (at least) in repair bills. "Yes, he hit a manhole cover. Who would guess they'd put a manhole cover in the middle [of the grass] like that?"

So it was a manhole cover?

Well ... still no. Track spokesman Scott Cooper stated emphatically that there were no obstacles of any kind in the area where Edwards had torn up the front of his car. No drain pipe, no manhole cover.

"I guess NASCAR's mad, because they think we're hiding something with that car," Edwards said. "I guess they're over there looking to see if I intentionally tore up my car, which I did not. I was trying to do a nice, full slide."

Sure enough, just as Edwards had prophesied, within minutes there were conspiracy rumours flying around the Internet that there had been something illegal with the car that had needed to be destroyed with an 'unfortunate' post-race incident before pit lane inspection brought disqualification.

Cars get skimmed across the in-field grass week-in, week-out without destroying the front of the car and the engine, they point out. How could Edwards manage such a wreck if it wasn't planned and intended? What else except some illegal set-up could explain the untouchable form of the #99 for the entire event, they asked - and especially the very suspicious way that Edwards had managed to dive into the lead just before the end of each segment, to pick up all the bonus prizes as well as the $1 million headline prize for the victory?




Related Pictures

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Carl Edwards managed to mangle the front end of the race-winning #99 with his victory celebration slide through the infield grass at Charlotte Motor Speedway. [Picture credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, and Erik Jones, driver of the #51 ToyotaCare Toyota, lead the field during a restart of the American Ethanol 200 at Iowa Speedway on July 11, 2014 in Newton, Iowa. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, and Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, lead a group of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
David Ragan, driver of the #98 Carroll Shelby Engine Ford, and Elliott Sadler, driver of the #11 SportClips Toyota, spin out during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Subway Firecracker 250 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 4, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
David Gilliland, driver of the #38 Love`s Travel Stops Ford, poses with Ms. Coors Light, Rachel Rupert, after winning the Coors Light Pole Award for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 4, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver David Gilliland smiles in his garage on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. after turning the fastest lap in final practice for Sunday`s Daytona 500. Gilliland turned a lap of 200.138 mph. [Picture Credit: Tyler Barrick/Getty Images for NASCAR]
David Gilliland at Daytona on February 17, 2014 (Photo Credit:  NASCAR Via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Aflac Ford, puts a winner sticker on his car as he celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 22, 2014 in Sonoma, California.  (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Aflac Ford, celebrates with a backflip after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 22, 2014 in Sonoma, California.  (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Aflac Ford, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 22, 2014 in Sonoma, California.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Aflac Ford, celebrates i Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 22, 2014 in Sonoma, California.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Aflac Ford, celebrates i Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 22, 2014 in Sonoma, California.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Brendan Gaughan, driver of the #62 South Point Chevrolet, leads Sam Hornish, Jr., driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, through a turn during the Gardner Denver 200 Fired Up by Johnsonville race at Road America on June 21, 2014 in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the Toyota Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin` For Linemen 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park on June 14, 2014 in Madison, Illinois.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the Toyota Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin` For Linemen 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park on June 14, 2014 in Madison, Illinois.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the Toyota Toyota, celebrates with a burn out after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin` For Linemen 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park on June 14, 2014 in Madison, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 Toyota Toyota leads the pack during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin` for Linemen 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park on June 14, 2014 in Madison, Illinois.  (Photo Credit: Dilip Vishwanat/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway on June 8, 2014 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo Credit: NASCAR Via Getty Images)

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