Costly mistake: A pit lane mishap cost Carl Edwards a shot at his second NASCAR Nextel Cup victory in three weeks. Edwards went into the pits with the lead during a series of green-flag stops with just over 100 laps to go in Sunday’s Lenox Industrial Tools 100 at New Hampshire International Speedway. A routine pit stop suddenly turned sour when his Roush Fenway Racing Ford dropped off the jack as his crew tried to change the left-side tires. “The good news is we had an awesome car,” said Edwards, who won two weeks ago at Michigan International Speedway. “The bad news was it fell off the jack when were leading the thing pitting under green.” He lost a lap and managed to hang with the leaders, regain his lost lap and finish a respectable 13th. “Everybody kept their composure,” Edwards said. “The car was still good enough. But this is a race winner right here, not a 13th-place car. This is the same thing that happened to us at Pocono last year. This is one of the best runs we’ve had this year. I’m proud of it. There’s not much you can do about stuff like that.”
Penalties coming: NASCAR said the Chevrolets of Kyle Busch and Johnny Sauter, who finished 11th and 14th, respectively, both failed postrace inspection for measuring too low on the left front. NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said the cars were impounded and will be transported to the sanctioning organization’s research and development center in Concord, N.C., where the measurements will be checked on special equipment to confirm the problem before determining what, if any, penalties will be meted out. NASCAR has come down hard on Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson and their teams for technical violations on the new Car of Tomorrow, which was run at New Hampshire. But Poston said these violations did not involve the integrity of the COT and were not likely to be dealt with as harshly. Earnhardt, Gordon and Johnson were all docked 100 points and their crew chiefs were fined $100,000 apiece and suspended for six races. Tony Eury Jr., Earnhardt’s crew chief, is scheduled to return to the track for next week’s race at Daytona Beach, while Steve Letarte (Gordon) and Chad Knaus (Gordon) began serving their suspensions this week. Gordon finished second, Earnhardt fourth and Johnson fifth on Sunday. “I’m real proud of the job Tony Gibson did as interim crew chief,” said Earnhardt, who had three top-10 finishes, including a fourth Sunday, during the six weeks that Eury was sidelined.