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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]
Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS, finishes in sixth place Sunday, March 29, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the #17 Fastenal Ford, is involved in an on-track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS, qualifies for third position Friday, March 27, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. Truex, Jr. is third in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet, stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 27, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS finishes in eighth place Sunday, March 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row / Visser Precision Chevrolet, stands in the garage area prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 20, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 NATIONWIDE Chevrolet, is involved in an on-track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CampingWorld.com 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 15, 2015 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Comcast Business Toyota, is involved in an incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 8, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row Chevrolet, leads Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Kobalt Tools Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 8, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS qualifies for fourth position Friday, March 6, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
David Ragan, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, drives in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 27, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/NASCAR via Getty Images)
David Ragan, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 27, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
David Ragan, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, stands in the garage during a testing session at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 26, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS races to a third place finish with Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS who finishes in fifth place in the Daytona 500 Sunday, February 22, 2015 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by HHP/Alan Marler for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, and Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Percision Chevrolet, lead the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

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