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Carl Edwards, Drew Blickensderfer set to make another run at Nationwide championship

LAS VEGAS - Roush Fenway Racing made changes to the management of its NASCAR Nationwide Series organization this week, even though Carl Edwards leads the series’ drivers standings.

That led Mike Kelley, promoted from Edwards’ crew chief to director of competition, to joke to Edwards and new crew chief Drew Blickensderfer.

"Mike Kelley did a really good job on our Nationwide team," Edwards said, "and he pointed out to both of us that he left us with the point lead, so it’s up to us to screw this up."

Edwards and Blickensderfer were set to be paired together for the 2009 season, but Roush Fenway moved Blickensderfer to the Sprint Cup Series and driver Matt Kenseth. Edwards and Blickensderfer made a valiant effort to try to win the ’08 Nationwide title, winning seven of 19 races before coming up short.

They were both fired up to make a run at the 2009 championship – before they were separated. Now, they’re back together.

"A week-and-a-half ago they made a change on the 17 (of Kenseth), and with that, Jack (Roush) told me there was an opportunity probably elsewhere and to keep my head up and don’t get too comfortable in the R&D seat that he put me in," Blickensderfer said Friday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. "Probably three or four days later I got a call from Carl and Jack saying there was an opportunity on the 60 Nationwide car, and they wanted to know if I was interested.

"Of course, I jumped up and down for it. I had a lot of fun with Carl a year ago – 13 or 14 months ago – racing the Nationwide Series. We had success and I really enjoyed it, and I’d probably rank this in the top five jobs in all three series of what I’d like to have and what I’d like to do, so when the opportunity arose, I jumped to come back."