What would have turned into a two-year losing streak for Carl Edwards ended on Sunday when he brought home the victory at the Kobalt Tools 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.
|Photo courtesy of Genna Short|
While Edwards didn’t dominate the race, he did dominate the weekend. He started by winning the pole and setting a new track record of 136.389 miles an hour, snatching the spot from Kurt Busch, who was the first to break the six-year record.
A win on Saturday afternoon’s Wypall 200 added another award to Carl's growing award collection.
Edwards completed the weekend by taking the victory on Sunday afternoon.
The 99 car led the field to the green and had no problem holding his lead for the first six laps. Kurt Busch snatched the lead away from him by lap seven and the two chased each other back and forth until Denny Hamlin took the lead under green on lap 66.
The 11 car dominated the race, losing the lead during a caution but quickly gaining it back after the lap 105 restart. Hamlin had, at one point, opened up a 5.4 second lead over Jimmie Johnson and clinched the most laps led by lap 217, earning five crucial bonus points.
The final lead change for the win took place on lap 266. Hamlin was low on fuel and eventually had to pit for fuel on lap 298, just 14 laps short of the finish. He muscled his way from 19th back up to a respectable 13th place finish by the end of the race.
In the end, Denny Hamlin’s race dominance came to nothing but a top 15 finish, leaving him just 15 points ahead of Jimmie Johnson.
Meanwhile, Carl Edwards had his first taste of victory in the Sprint Cup series, breaking a winless streak which fell just one race short of two full seasons.
“It was a great day for us. The race started, I felt like we had the best car. Then here comes Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson. Really I think their cars were better in the middle part of the race. Bob (Osborne) made really good adjustments. The track came to us a little bit. “