By Ben White
Since the NASCAR Cup Series is making its debut at Nashville Superspeedway his coming weekend, a look at the Xfinity Series is needed to discover the number that has won the most times at the famed Tennessee track since it opened in 2001.
Topping the win column is the No. 60 Roush-Fenway Racing Ford with two drivers enjoying the honors of wheeling those famed numerals into victory lane. Greg Biffle scored the initial first victory in the inaugural running of the 2001 Pepsi 400 Presented by Mapco/Williams on the 1.333-mile track for team owners Jack Roush and John Fenway of Boston Red Sox fame on April 14th of that year. Carl Edwards has the remaining five victories at the Nashville facility coming in 2006, twice in 2007, and twice in 2011.
During his final Xfinity Series race there in 2011, Edwards pushed past Kyle Busch as they fought for the lead with 35 laps to go. They swapped the point back and forth twice but Edwards finally got ahead and stayed at the front of the field to end Busch’s hopes for a weekend sweep of the Camping World Truck Series race – which he won Friday night. As the checkered flag waved, Edwards was ahead of Busch by about 10 car lengths in what was then known as the 300-mile event in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
“At the end of the race, I was pedaling for all I had,” Edwards said in post-race interviews. “I was kind of excited at the beginning of the race. I thought, ‘Boy, we’re going to run off with this thing. It’s going to be easy.’ Then at the end, that was white-knuckle. I was driving as hard as I can drive, racing him and Brad.
“In the end, it’s better to have a race like that, but it was really nerve-wracking for me.”
Six years later on Jan. 17, 2017, Edwards abruptly retiring from the sport, stating, "I have a lot of interests in life outside of sports that deserve my attention and I feel strongly that the time to do that is now. I've been racing for more than 20 years. It's amazing the opportunities that racing, and NASCAR in particular, have provided me. The people I've met and the things I've been able to do. I'm very grateful for all of that.”
All told, the Columbia MO. native collected 28 Cup Series wins, 38 Xfinity Series wins and six Camping World Truck Series victories during his 14-year career in NASCAR. He was known as one of the sport’s greatest drivers and was destined to have many more promising years ahead of him with Joe Gibbs Racing.
Edwards left Nashville Supserspeedway with five guitars as trophies for his impressive wins there. No word if he ever learned to play them. Based on his ability to do pretty much anything in life that he sets out to do, the answer would be a resounding yes.