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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)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, lead a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, passes Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, to take the lead and win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and team owner Tony Stewart celebrate winning in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates with his wife DeLana and son Keelan in victory lane after winning during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Marcos Ambrose, driver of the #9 Stanley Ford, poses with his team before his last race, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, leads Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

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