Edwards day ends early with engine woes Print
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Sunday, 12 June 2011 14:16
NASCAR Headline News

 LONG POND, Pa. (AP) - Carl Edwards got more face time on TV than he would have liked at the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Pocono.
Edwards shed his helmet and took a turn in the broadcast booth when his No. 99 Ford was forced out with a broken valve in his engine. He returned for one final lap and a 37th-place finish in Sunday's race.
His Sprint Cup points lead was sliced from 40 to six over five-time champion Jimmie Johnson. That's not a huge deal since the points are reset once the Chase for the championship starts.
``What good is the points lead if you don't use it?'' Edwards said. ``We are using it today and we're going to need every bit we can to get out of here with the lead today.''
His race ended before 60 laps were up, forcing him to put the No. 99 in reverse over a chuck of pit road before bringing it back to the garage. Edwards joined TNT in the broadcast booth, cracked jokes, and showed off a broken part.
``We were running really well and I was babying the engine a little bit and not shifting too much,'' Edwards said. ``It's just one of those things. Sometimes things break.''
Edwards has 10 top-10 finishes this season - including six of seven entering Pocono.
TROUBLE BREWING: Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch might have a few more rounds left in their feud.
Harvick and Busch were fined $25,000 apiece and NASCAR put them on probation for their actions on pit road at Darlington. They were summoned separately to the NASCAR hauler for a meeting with top officials and told to play nice.
They needed another scolding at Pocono.
It started early when they were fighting for position on the track. Harvick forced Busch down the track and NASCAR quickly radioed to the each crew for the drivers to cool it.
``There were a couple of times where I just had to back off and wait and get back to him and try and pass him again,'' Busch said. ``Maybe it shows his character and who he is and how he feels he needs to race on the racetrack. It's not my fight. He's trying to turn it into one.''
Probation ended at Pocono. Watch out for some possible fireworks next week at Michigan.
GIANT FAN: New York Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara received a royal welcome at his first NASCAR race.
He had a front-row seat in the driver's meeting and shadowed points leader Carl Edwards.
Amukamara, New York's first-round pick out of Nebraska, doesn't follow the sport but was all ears on Sunday. He just made sure to cover them once the green flag dropped.
``I'm definitely overwhelmed and ecstatic. It's going to be loud, but I've got my earplugs,'' he said. ``After following Mr. Edwards around, I definitely have more respect for it.''
Amukamara took part in workouts with his Giants teammates to stay in shape and have fun during the lockout.
``As long as we're doing stuff on the field and staying in condition, we should be good,'' he said.
He has some rookie initiation ahead - his veteran teammates are already eyeing a pricey restaurant for a team dinner and stick him with the bill.
``I'm pretty excited about that,'' he said. ``I guess that's part of the ropes of being a rookie.''
JUNIOR ACHIVEMENT: Dale Earnhardt Jr. stretched his winless streak to 107 races. His streak of solid races in a bounce-back season is also in tact.
Earnhardt finished sixth at Pocono Raceway on Sunday - he was second last week at Kansas and seventh the race before that at Charlotte. He's third in the points standings.
``I'm really happy to be running well and being up front,'' Earnhardt said. ``It's surely a difference from the last couple of years, so I feel fortunate and feel lucky to be able to compete.''
Maybe his win comes next week at Michigan. His last Cup victory came there on June 15, 2008.
ON THE BEAT: Actor Jason Lee fired a cap gun, and appeared to be wearing a sheriff's badge, after his command for the drivers to start their engines. Lee was promoting the second season of his TV show ``Memphis Beat,'' on TNT the same day the cable network kicked off its part of NASCAR coverage.
Lee, who recently lost 40 pounds, promised an improved second season more in line of classic cop shows like ``Starsky and Hutch.''
``It's better this season. Super strong,'' he said. ``More car chases, more gun-wielding, more shootouts.''
Sounds like NASCAR. Well, minus the gun-wielding.
FAN FRIENDLY JOHNSON: Jimmie Johnson might be the most fan-friendly champion in any sport.
About two hours before the race started, Johnson wasn't resting in his hauler, but holding a Q&A with about 175 fans in the garage. He tossed hats to the crowd and pointed to each fan with a hand raised for the next question.
He talked about his favorite tracks and why is name is spelled with an ``ie'' instead of Jimmy - he was named after his father's deceased best friend who spelled it that way.
One child, probably about 5 or 6 years old, removed his hat to show Johnson his No. 48, along with other driver's numbers, were shaved in his head. When the event ended, it was announced there would be no autographs.
Johnson was mobbed anyway and signed quite a few.
``My hero signed my shirt!'' squealed one boy.
Not a bad day to be a five-time champ.


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