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Defending champion? Yeah, right, buddy

By Reid Spencer
Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service

MONTREAL - Being the defending race winner doesn’t guarantee a welcome with open arms, as Edwards found out Saturday when he tried to enter Circuit Gilles Villeneuve without a parking pass.

A security officer Edwards identified as "Rick" wouldn’t let the driver of the No. 60 Ford enter track until a throng of fans started shouting his name and asking for autographs.

"My brother was in the car, and he said he thought they were going to have me over the hood," Edwards said of the encounter. "We got into a pretty good conversation about it, and finally the fans came to my rescue. There were fans pouring in the same gate, going by my rental car.

"So they convinced Rick in a round-about way, by yelling my name and kind of heckling us a little bit, to let me in. For me, that was my defining moment so far this week, because I almost didn’t make it in for practice. … I was either going to jail, or I was going to walk, I guess."