Carl Edwards takes fourth Bristol win

Once again, Carl Edwards flipped out over Bristol.

Carl Edwards takes fourth Bristol win
Carl Edwards, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota race winner
Carl Edwards, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota race winner
Carl Edwards, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota race winner
Bristol Motor Speedway
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, Greg Ives
Kurt Busch, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Matt Kenseth, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
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While his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates battled tire issues throughout the course of the Food City 500 on Sunday, Edwards, who started from the pole avoided the same issues. He held the point for 276 laps and held off attacks from Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch and finally Dale Earnhardt Jr. for his 26th career Sprint Cup win and his fourth at Bristol Motor Speedway.

“Just a real testament to our team – we have really fast race cars” Edwards said after scoring his first victory of the year.

"Those restarts are tough, everybody is so good. Kurt (Busch) does an amazing job, I don’t know if his drag racing or something is paying off, but I have to learn what he’s doing. He could get so much grip down on the bottom. Just a lot of fun, really good day and really proud of my guys – flawless on pit road. This is such a special place to win and really proud of my team.”

CLICK HERE FOR COMPLETE RACE RESULTS

Edwards took the lead for the eighth and final time from Kurt Busch on Lap 396 and retained the point after his final pit stop on Lap 411 after Denny Hamlin hit the wall in Turn 2. Despite the final 100 laps being slowed by five of 15 cautions, Edwards was able to extend his lead to 0.766-seconds at the finish at Earnhardt, Kurt Busch and Chase Elliott jockeyed for second.

Dale Jr. rebounds after Lap 1 drama

Earnhardt prevailed to finish second, after his engine stalled at the start of the race when he inadvertently killed the motor by mashing the brake. Although he lost two laps as his team reset his ECU, he returned to the lead lap after the fourth caution by taking two wave-arounds. By the fifth caution on Lap 193, Earnhardt was running 11th and moved up from there.

“We got the Roush system on our cars for the stuck‑throttle issue, and just warming the brakes up, I engaged that system to kill the throttle,” Earnhardt said. “I was warming the brakes up like I always do, and apparently I applied too much pressure and it killed the motor.

“We'll work on that and maybe raise that threshold a little bit because I wasn't really using the brake that much. Greg did a good job getting the wave‑arounds and knowing when to take them and stuff, and we got back on the lead lap.  We had about a 10th‑place car.  We weren't really that good all day.  We tried a setup that we've never really ran here before, just trying to learn a little something going forward, and we'll go home and science it out a little bit.

“We got real lucky the last three restarts to be on the outside line.  We restarted 10th, 6th and 4th, and when you restart 4th you're typically going to come out in second place after that.  I was hoping we didn't have any more cautions after that.  So it was good.  We'll take it.”

The best of the rest

Kurt Busch, who started 26th, led 41 laps before finishing third.

"I told know if I'm supposed to be happy about finishing third, but I'll take it,” said Busch, who acknowledged he spun his tires on the final restart with five laps remaining.

Rookie Chase Elliott finished fourth with Knoxville native Trevor Bayne finishing fifth at his hometown track — his first top-five since winning the Daytona 500 in 2011.

Matt DiBenedetto earned a career-high sixth-place — which was also a career best for BK Racing, who purchased Michael Waltrip Racing’s fleet of cars at the end of last season. Kevin Harvick finished seventh followed by Clint Bowyer, who also posted a season-high run. Ryan Newman and Joey Logano rounded out the top 10.

Although Kyle Busch was looking for his third consecutive win, multiple issues with tires finally knocked the No. 18 Toyota out of contention on lap 259. Kenseth followed suit — first on Lap 187 when he hit the wall in Turn 2 after leading 142 laps and again on Lap 321 on the backstretch. Kenseth returned to the track but settled for 36th.

Edwards was “concerned” but he didn’t let his teammates’ woes affect his concentration.

“For some reason with our car we didn’t have any of those issues,” Edwards said. “Just really proud of these guys and thank you to everybody that makes this happen.

This team is awesome and Dave (Rogers, crew chief) doesn’t quit. He can almost read my mind, he can tell me things in the race right when I needed them. It was just a good day.”

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