MADISON, Ill. – Carl Edwards is unapologetic. He sees no reason why he shouldn’t compete for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and the sport’s second-tier title at the same time.

NASCAR has considered changes to the Nationwide Series that could affect the participation of Cup drivers, who routinely dip down to take victories against smaller teams and less-experienced drivers.

Justin Allgaier is the only Nationwide regular to win a race in the series this season, at Bristol in March. Every other event has been won by a Cup regular.

Edwards is 10th in the Sprint Cup standings and second in the Nationwide points behind Brad Keselowski.

Edwards said he began running Nationwide races when he was driving in the truck series, and now considers himself a Nationwide driver going for sponsorship deals in the Cup series.

“I hope NASCAR recognizes that all of us are racers, and no matter where you come from this is its own series,” Edwards said.

Edwards agrees with a suggestion that Cup drivers’ practice time be limited on tracks used by both series. He said around a half-hour would be fair.

“Hopefully I can still race for a championship,” he said, “because that’s what I want to do next year.”

Edwards has plenty of company.

Kevin Harvick, the Sprint Cup leader, ran in both ends of a doubleheader last weekend after the truck race was postponed by a power failure. He easily won the 250-mile truck race, leading for all but 17 of the 160 laps, and was in contention in the Nationwide race before scraping the wall late.

“He had a little bit more time, money and experience in this series. All of the above,” said Keselowski, who came up in the Nationwide ranks and is in his first year of a full-time Sprint Cup ride.

There are 16 races remaining in the Nationwide series, and Edwards is the defending champion in four of them, including the Kroger 200 at O’Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis this weekend. Keselowski has three wins in the series and is defending champion at four remaining stops and, Kyle Busch is defending champion at three races.

Unfair or not, some younger drivers don’t mind.

Rookie Brian Scott, who finished sixth in the Nationwide race last week, appreciated getting schooled by Harvick and Keselowski. Earlier this year, he recalled a race where “all the Cup guys blew by me and taught me a lesson,” and last week he gained in the late going.

“I’m glad the Cup guys come down and race with us, because they’ve sure taught me a lot,” Scott said. “I think it’s starting to pay off a lot now.”


NASCAR DOCKED driver Carl Edwards 60 Nationwide Series driver points, fined him $25,000, and placed both Edwards and Brad Keselowski on probation through Dec. 31 following their last-lap antics last weekend.

Jack Roush, owner of Edwards’ No. 60 Ford, also was docked 60 owner points after the latest run-in between the drivers ended with a chain reaction accident that left Keselowski’s No. 22 Dodge in tatters and another nine cars sustaining damage.

Edwards and Keselowski were competing for the lead on the final lap when Keselowski nudged Edwards out of the way coming out of Turn 2. Edwards returned the favor a few seconds later, sending Keselowski into the outside wall coming out of Turn 4. Keselowski slid toward the inside wall before being struck by several opponents, his car a shattered mess as it crossed the finish line in 14th while Edwards celebrated.

Though NASCAR publicly has encouraged drivers to police themselves by encouraging a “boys, have at it” philosophy, the director of competition, Robin Pemberton, said Keselowski and Edwards took things too far.

“We felt like at that time they had stepped over the line of what we would consider to be good, aggressive, healthy hard racing,” Pemberton said.

That’s nothing new for the two Cup and Nationwide regulars. Keselowski and Edwards have a long-simmering rivalry dating to the spring Cup race at Talladega in 2009 when Keselowski nudged Edwards out of the way — and into the catch fence — to collect his first Cup victory.

Edwards got even in Atlanta earlier this year, punting Keselowski into the fence late in the race.