Carl Edwards turned his first laps at Pocono Raceway yesterday playing a video game.
He paid attention, and when it came time for the real thing, nobody was better.
Edwards raced to his second Nextel Cup victory of the year in the Pocono 500 in Long Pond, Pa., easily adjusting to a new gearing rule and avoiding the tire woes that plagued other drivers.
"It's a NASCAR game that you can buy on the shelf," he said. "I've got a steering wheel and a clutch. Coming to a new track and spending time on one of those things really helps."
The Missouri driver, who celebrated his first NASCAR Nextel Cup victory three months ago in Atlanta with a backflip from the window of his car, did it again yesterday.
His Ford led 45 of 200 laps and beat the Chevrolet of Brian Vickers in a race that ended under caution on the 2.5-mile triangle. Edwards took the lead for the fourth and final time on Lap 187. Vickers led six times for 121 laps, both race highs.
While he was winning, Edwards lost the points lead in the Busch Series because a rainout Saturday night in Nashville prevented him from racing there yesterday. Reed Sorenson took the Busch lead and Edwards fell to fourth.
Instead of racing in Nashville, Edwards jumped on a plane piloted by car owner Jack Roush, who nearly died a few years ago when he crashed into a lake in Alabama. The flight proved more adventurous than the race because an airport near the track was fogged in.
"I stayed up until 4 in the morning practicing missed approaches with Jack Roush, which, by the way are scarier than the tunnel turn," Edwards said. "My heart was pounding."
Eventually, Roush diverted to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International and landed without incident.
"I have more and more trouble getting people to fly with me," Roush said. "Getting them to fly with me the first time is not a problem. But getting them to go with me a second time is an issue."
Edwards might be among the reluctant after his experience in the fog.
"Trust is a big thing," he said. "You're looking at that gauge and it says you're 500 feet above the ground, but do you really know?"
Edwards, who moved from ninth to fourth in the Nextel Cup standings, set a Pocono record for winning from the deepest in the field. He started 29th. Terry Labonte held the record by winning from the 27th position in 1995.
It was the seventh victory for Roush Racing in 14 races this season but its first at Long Pond since the team entered the sport in 1988. Roush's cars had 11 previous second-place finishes at Pocono.
Roush Racing, led by Greg Biffle with four victories, and Hendrick Motorsports have combined to win all but two of the races.
Jimmie Johnson, who swept the races at Pocono last year and was trying to become only the third driver to win three in a row on the mountaintop, finished sixth and increased his points lead to 123 over Biffle. Biffle finished 30th.
* BUSCH SERIES: Clint Bowyer raced to his first Busch Series victory, beating Kenny Wallace by 2.386 seconds in the rain-delayed Federated Auto Parts 300 at Nashville Superspeedway in Gladeville, Tenn.
* FORMULA ONE: In Montreal, Kimi Raikkonen ended Michael Schumacher's dominance at the Canadian Grand Prix, holding off the seven-time race winner for his third victory of the season.
Schumacher, who has won this race the past three years, finished second for Ferrari.