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Edwards win postpones Busch's Nationwide clinching party

Carl Edwards forces Kyle Busch to wait for the NASCAR Nationwide Series title with victory in Phoenix
Carl Edwards won Saturday's Able Body Labor 200 to postpone Kyle Busch's formal Nationwide Series championship clinching party for one week.

But Busch still had cause for celebration. With a 190-point lead entering next Saturday's season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Busch needs merely to start the Ford 300 to claim his first title in one of NASCAR's top three national touring series.

Saturday's race also fanned the smoldering rivalry between polesitter Denny Hamlin and fifth-place finisher Brad Keselowski into full flame. The drivers traded shots with their cars after a restart on lap 157, with Keselowski spinning Hamlin's Toyota in turn one to bring out the sixth and final caution of the race.

"That's 25 -- 25 (career Nationwide) wins," said Edwards, who beat runner-up Kevin Harvick to the finish line by 2.415 seconds. "I know Kyle's almost clinched the championship, but that's what we came here to do, to win this race."

Reed Sorenson ran third in Todd Braun's #32 Toyota, followed by Clint Bowyer and Keselowski.

Busch's clinching prospects were in jeopardy early in the race, after he spun the #18 Toyota off turn two in front of Clint Bowyer's #29 Chevrolet on lap seven. Busch tagged the outside wall with the right rear of his car and the inside wall with the left front.

Busch's team worked on the car on pit road and got Busch back on the track before he lost a lap. After restarting 35th, Busch worked his way to twelfth in the running order by lap 30 of 200. Busch ran as high as fourth before the final caution but faded to ninth at the finish.

With Edwards winning and leading the most laps, Busch needed to finish seventh or better to lock up the title.

Asked about the early-race spin, Busch gave a terse explanation.

"I was driving a bucket of (expletive)," he said.

Keselowski and Hamlin had a lot more to say after the race, thanks to the lap 157 incident that started with Hamlin bumping Keselowski and ducking beneath him. Keselowski retaliated in the corner and turned Hamlin's #20 Toyota.

Hamlin kept the car off the wall but had to pit and restarted at the back of the field on lap 164. He finished twelfth.

"On the last restart there, Denny got into the back of me and pushed me up the track," Keselowski said. "I was going to return the favour. When he did it to me, I saved it. When I did it to him, he didn't save it. We just got into a pushing match. I don't really don't hold any grudges. I don't know why he wanted to do that. But whatever, that's just how racing, is I guess.

"To me, I was over it. I'm focused on running the #88 Junior Motorsports car and trying to run up front, chase down Carl (for second in the standings) and finish second in points. I haven't put a lot of thought into (the rivalry), but apparently he has."

Hamlin implied he'd have a shot at revenge in next Saturday's race.

"I can sit here and bash him for the next 20 seconds or so and give you all a bunch of sound bites," Hamlin said, "but I'm just happy that I signed up for next week's Nationwide race, and you know in turn, there's a lot of guys that owe him. There's a lot of guys that have a lot of chips that they're going to cash in, I'm just going to be the first to the pay window.''

Later on, after Hamlin spoke to NASCAR president Mike Helton, the two drivers had what USA Today reporter Nate Ryan described as an animated but civil discussion.

by Reid Spencer/Sporting News



Related Pictures

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Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 60 Valvoline/O`Reilly Auto Parts Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Able Body Labor 200 at Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet SS qualified for eleventh position September 19, 2014 for Sunday`s Chase Challenger 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. Earnhardt, Jr. is in the Chase which continues with the Challenger 16 for this and next week`s race. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS qualified for sixth position September 19, 2014 for Sunday`s Chase Challenger 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. Johnson is in the Chase which continues with the Challenger 16 for this and next week`s race. (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Designate A Driver Chevrolet SS qualified for third position September 19, 2014 for Sunday`s Chase Challenger 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. Harvick is in the Chase which continues with the Challenger 16 for this and next week`s race. (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 Belkin/Wemo Chevrolet SS qualified for second position September 19, 2014 for Sunday`s Chase Challenger 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Aflac Ford, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 19, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, celebrates setting the pole position during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 19, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, speaks at a press conference following practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 19, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, smiles at Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour Energy Toyota, during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 19, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo Credit: Jared Wickerham/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 19, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Designate a Driver Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 19, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brian Vickers, driver of the #55 Aaron`s Dream Machine Toyota, stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 19, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Will Schneekloth/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet, prepares for practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 19, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Jared Wickerham/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Marcos Ambrose in the Richard Petty Motorsport garage at Sonoma Raceway on June 20, 2014 (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, leads the field after a restart during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, places his name in the top twelve on The Chase Grid after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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