NASCAR: Carl Edwards wins pole for all-star race

jutter@charlotteobserver.comMay 17, 2014 

— Carl Edwards got a jump on his second NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race victory by winning the pole on Saturday night.

Edwards, who won the $1 million race in 2011, completed the three-lap, four-tire pit stop qualifying session with an average speed of 146.915 mph – more than a mile-an-hour better than his nearest rival.

Kyle Busch qualified second, Kevin Harvick was third, Jeff Gordon was fourth and last year’s winner, Jimmie Johnson, started fifth.

The pole is the second for Edwards in the all-star race.

“If I don’t mess this is up, it could be a big night for us,” Edwards said. “The car is really fast. You never know what’s going to happen in this race. It’s going to be wild.”

Dash 4 Cash program returns: Designed to highlight the competition among Nationwide Series’ regulars, the “Dash 4 Cash” program will kick off in July at Daytona International Speedway.

The top four series regulars at Daytona will qualify for the first of four $100,000 payouts beginning with the July 12 race at New Hampshire. The highest finisher of those four drivers at New Hampshire will win the first $100,000 award and automatically qualify for the next event at Chicago.

Those rules will apply for the remaining three events. If one driver wins the first three awards and then wins the final Dash race at Iowa, Nationwide Insurance will award an additional $600,000 bonus, bringing the total payout to $1 million.

Following New Hampshire, the next three Dash 4 Cash races are July 19 at Chicagoland; July 26 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Aug. 2 Iowa Speedway.

“It brings a lot of attention to each and every team that’s involved in it,” said driver Elliott Sadler. “It is an amazing program that Nationwide Insurance has put in place for us to race.”

Jeff Gordon kicks in: NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon will match all funds – up to $150,000 – raised through Kick-It games held in the month of September in honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

Kick-It is a grassroots fundraising program that secures critical dollars for childhood cancer research through the simple game of kickball. Participants establish teams and use their network to raise funds much like a traditional 5K charity run.

“No game is too small since every dollar raised moves us closer to a cure,” said Gordon. The Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation will host the second annual Charlotte Kicks-It kickball tournament at CMC-NorthEast Stadium, home of the Kannapolis Intimidators, on Sunday Sept. 7.

Toyota on a Truck streak: Toyota is once again off to a strong start in the NASCAR Truck Series as its drivers have won the first four races of the season, including Kyle Busch’s victory Friday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The manufacturer has now won the last six Truck races, dating back to November 2013 with Erik Jones’ victory at Phoenix. The six-win streak ties Toyota’s own record set in 2010.

Utter: (704) 358-5113; Twitter: @jim_utter.

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