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Edwards Stomps Field At Bristol Motor Speedway

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, April 17 2016
Carl Edwards celebrates after winning Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Garry Eller)

Carl Edwards celebrates after winning Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Garry Eller)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
RacinToday.com

Carl Edwards survived a spate of late-race restart challenges  – including two in the final 10 laps –and went on to win Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

The victory was the first of the year for the Joe Gibbs Racing driver and likely moves him into the season-ending playoffs. It was his fourth at the Bristol half mile. He led 276 of 500 laps.

sprint-logo-08“Just awesome,” Edwards said in Victory Lane. “This is just great. Now, we’re in the Chase and we can go have some fun. Awesome to be here.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr., who fell two laps off the pace when he had electrical problems on the first lap of the race, finished second for the third time in 2016.

“We got a lot of luck on those last several restarts to start on the outside,” the Hendrick Motorsports driver said. “We gained some spots just being in the right lane. We didn’t have a good enough car to run in the top five today. The car was a 15th-, 10th-place car. Just lucky on those last restarts where we lined up.”

Kurt Busch finished third, Chase Elliott fourth and Trevor Bayne fifth.

“I was 40th when we started the race,” Busch, who had his best finish of the season, said. “One car at a time. One set of tires at a time. And then we were in great position around lap 350. We got the lead from (Carl) Edwards for a little bit. And we just kept working on it. And there’s nothing more that I could have gotten out of the car. I’m really happy with the way that everybody worked together. I shouldn’t be happy about finishing 3rd, but I’ll take it. It’s just a great effort. And the way that this team has come together is perfect. We just need to find that last little bit. Thanks to Haas Automation, Monster Energy, and Chevrolet. It’s just wonderful to have a good group of guys to go out there each week to have a shot at it. And, I still don’t think I’m supposed to be happy about finishing 3rd. But, Edwards ran a great race. Congratulations to him.”

Rookie Elliott, like teammate Earnhardt, had to overcome problems that took him off the lead lap.

“We started a little slow,” Elliott said, didn’t qualify as well as we’d like to on Friday, but I thought
we hit on a couple things yesterday in final practice that fortunately carried over to today and was able to kind of work our way up through there. Hate to have a loose wheel, but guys did a good job overcoming that having a fast pit under green only losing two laps.  That was big to keep us in contention there and try to get back on the lead lap.  Definitely a long afternoon, but had a fast car, and that was the biggest thing that kept us alive.”

Edwards started from the pole and led the first 36 laps.

On Lap 37, Edwards was passed by Joey Logano, who handed the lead back to Edwards on Lap 40. On Lap 43, Kenseth became the third leader in the race.

Kenseth had the lead when Kyle Busch blew a tire, scraped the wall and brought out the caution flag on Lap 53. Kenseth restarted the race as leader on Lap 59.

Kenseth held the lead until he blew a tire and scraped the wall on Lap 187. That put Edwards in the lead and brought out the fifth yellow of the day. Paul Menard took just two tires to lead the field out of the pits and restarted the race on Lap 194 with the lead. Four laps later, Edwards went low on Menard and re-captured the lead.

Edwards gave up the lead during a caution which was called on Lap 259. He lost it to Landon Cassill, who, along with Ty Dillon, Greg Biffle and Danica Patrick, opted not to pit. Edwards restarted fifth on Lap 274.

Edwards quickly caught Cassill and on Lap 281, made the pass for the lead.

On Lap 319, Harvick used a pick by the slower car of Casey Mears to get past Edwards and take his first lead of the day.

Edwards got the lead back under yellow flag pitting starting at Lap 331.

Edwards held the lead until a Lap 356 restart when he was passed by Kurt Busch, who became the seventh leader. Edwards stay with Busch, however, and took the lead back on 397 and never tailed again.

Kyle Busch entered the race on a two-win streak. But at Bristol, the defending champ encountered problem after problem. He was hit with two speeding penalties and twice he blew tires and hit the wall – the second hit, on Lap 259, put him out of the race.

“I just kept getting tighter in the long run, not sure why that was,” he said. “We had a really great car yesterday and we were fastest in practice. I felt really good about things for today. I guess it wasn’t meant to be. I hate it for all these guys, all the work and effort and everybody at M&M’s – all our M&M’s and Mars associates. Not a day we were hoping for. We had a really fast car. We drove up from the back to the front a couple times and showed what we were made of, but obviously it doesn’t matter when you’re in the garage.”

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NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race – Food City 500
Bristol Motor Speedway
Bristol, Tennessee
Sunday, April 17, 2016

  1. (1) Carl Edwards, Toyota, 500.
  2. (20) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 500.
  3. (26) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 500.
  4. (19) Chase Elliott #, Chevrolet, 500.
  5. (10) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 500.
  6. (30) Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, 500.
  7. (7) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 500.
  8. (36) Clint Bowyer, Chevrolet, 500.
  9. (17) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 500.
  10. (3) Joey Logano, Ford, 500.
  11. (18) * Ryan Blaney #, Ford, 500.
  12. (23) Greg Biffle, Ford, 500.
  13. (13) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 500.
  14. (8) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 500.
  15. (14) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 500.
  16. (32) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 500.
  17. (11) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 500.
  18. (12) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 500.
  19. (9) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 500.
  20. (4) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 500.
  21. (21) Chris Buescher #, Ford, 500.
  22. (28) Landon Cassill, Ford, 500.
  23. (6) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 499.
  24. (16) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 499.
  25. (34) Ty Dillon(i), Chevrolet, 499.
  26. (15) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 498.
  27. (33) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 498.
  28. (39) * Cole Whitt, Chevrolet, 496.
  29. (31) Michael McDowell, Chevrolet, 495.
  30. (27) Brian Scott #, Ford, 493.
  31. (40) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 492.
  32. (37) Jeffrey Earnhardt #, Ford, 488.
  33. (35) * Josh Wise, Chevrolet, 482.
  34. (22) Aric Almirola, Ford, 479.
  35. (25) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 462.
  36. (2) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 460.
  37. (29) Regan Smith, Chevrolet, Accident, 451.
  38. (5) Kyle Busch, Toyota, Accident, 258.
  39. (24) David Ragan, Toyota, Engine, 211.
  40. (38) * Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, Suspension, 169.

 

Average Speed of Race Winner:  81.637 mph.

Time of Race:  3 Hrs, 15 Mins, 52 Secs. Margin of Victory:  0.766 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  15 for 102 laps.

Lead Changes:  16 among 7 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   C. Edwards 1-36; J. Logano 37-39; C. Edwards 40-42; M. Kenseth 43-53; J. Logano 54; M. Kenseth 55-117; C. Edwards 118; M. Kenseth 119-186; C. Edwards 187-189; P. Menard 190-193; C. Edwards 194-261; L. Cassill 262-281; C. Edwards 282-318; K. Harvick 319-331; C. Edwards 332-355; Kurt Busch 356-396; C. Edwards 397-500.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  C. Edwards 8 times for 276 laps; M. Kenseth 3 times for 142 laps; Kurt Busch 1 time for 41 laps; L. Cassill 1 time for 20 laps; K. Harvick 1 time for 13 laps; J. Logano 2 times for 4 laps; P. Menard 1 time for 4 laps.

Top 16 in Points: K. Harvick – 287; C. Edwards – 286; J. Johnson – 271; J. Logano – 266; Kyle Busch – 262; D. Earnhardt Jr. – 250; Kurt Busch – 247; B. Keselowski – 224; D. Hamlin – 222; M. Truex Jr. – 214; A. Dillon – 213; C. Elliott # – 205; J. Mcmurray – 199; A. Allmendinger – 188; K. Kahne – 185; R. Newman – 182.

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, April 17 2016
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