- The Washington Times - Monday, August 4, 2008

LONG POND, Pa. (AP) | Rain was falling. The cars were parked on pit road with Carl Edwards in 22nd place, and the driver and crew chief Bob Osborne were in a heated argument on top of the team’s pit box.

Not the most likely formula for winning a race.

Edwards and several other race leaders had pitted minutes earlier after rain began falling on lap 127 of the 200-lap Pennsylvania 500 on Sunday at Pocono Raceway. Nineteen other drivers, taking a gamble on the possibility of a rain-shortened race, had stayed on the track.

“The argument came from when it started raining real hard, then we were trying to blame one another for the idea of coming [onto pit road],” Edwards said. “Bob said it was my idea, and I really felt like it was his idea. I had to leave the pit box because I was worried Bob was going to, like, punch me in the neck or something.

“I had to walk away. But personally I feel like we have a good relationship. We can be perfectly honest with one another, and that’s really valuable.”

Osborne said it was just the way he and Edwards work things out.

“It’s not out of the ordinary for us to argue,” he said. “We get mad at each other. We walk away, and then we walk back together and calmer heads prevail, and we have a discussion. … Nine-nine percent of the time it works out for us.”

It all worked out fine this time, with the race resuming after a 41-minute red flag and Edwards and Osborne winning the gamble - whoever’s idea it was.

Edwards was able to stretch his last tank of fuel to earn his fourth victory of the season, second only to series points leader Kyle Busch’s seven wins.

“I was really nervous that we made the wrong call there,” Edwards said after doing his traditional victory backflip off his car. “Bob’s the smartest guy in the world. We were really arguing. We made light of it, but we thought we made the wrong call.”

The race started in sunshine, and it appeared Mark Martin, who took the lead from pole-winner Jimmie Johnson at the start and took control, would be the driver to beat all day. But Martin had problems on two pit stops that put him back into the pack, and then dark clouds began moving in, changing some strategies.

Edwards and several other leaders ducked onto pit road shortly after the rain began falling. Others, led by June Pocono winner Kasey Kahne and Martin, who led a race-high 55 laps, stayed out to gain track position, waiting to see whether the rain might end the race prematurely.

Four laps later, the red flag came out.

“We were going for the win,” Kahne said. “If it keeps raining, we win. It didn’t, and we got seventh.”

But despite more threatening clouds and a few raindrops later in the event, the racing continued, and Edwards found himself back on top for good when Martin, the last of the drivers on the alternate strategy, had to finally pit on lap 187.

Then Edwards, who made his final stop at the end of lap 166, just had to worry whether he had enough gas to get to the end.



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