Mother Nature, Carl Edwards Share Victory in Marathon Day at Bristol

Photo- Getty Images
Photo- Getty Images

Rain was the name of the game Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway. It delayed the start of the race and went on to cause much more havoc when it brought the entire day to an end. When the skies opened up with two laps remaining, it was Carl Edwards leading the way after strategy paved his way to victory lane. The No.99 team decided to stay out on a late caution and that move ultimately won them the race.

The wild events of the day commenced early in the going. The third caution on Lap 65 was triggered by Parker Kligerman spinning. However, a battery pack fell out of Alex Bowman’s car, sending debris all-over the race track.

When the massive cleanup ended, Jimmie Johnson was pacing the field. A few laps after being passed by Matt Kenseth, Johnson’s day took a turn for the worse as a tire went down, causing Johnson to make an unscheduled pit stop. The issue put the No.48 team too far behind to be any sort of factor in the race.

Rain drops started falling once again on Lap 118 which prompted a three hour and 19 minute delay. Once the race resumed at 7:05 PM ET, Kenseth maintained the lead.

Trouble struck for Kenseth on Lap 156 when a spin by Cole Whitt forced drivers to check up in order to maneuver around the stopped car. As Kenseth checked-up, Timmy Hill didn’t as Hill plowed into the back of the No.20 car. Kenseth suffered damage to the back of his machine, but the damage didn’t keep him down as he was able to stay in contention for most of the night.

Carl Edwards began to show his nose towards the front of the field when he restarted fifth on Lap 285. He slowly moved forward from that point on. He exited pit road second during the ninth caution of the race, right behind Kevin Harvick.

Just like last week in Las Vegas, Harvick’s problems didn’t start until he held the top spot. Smoke began trailing out of the back of the No.4 car two laps before his motor let go and Harvick slammed into the wall.

Harvick laid down some oil on the track, which made it difficult for other drivers to slow up in order to avoid him. Keselowski couldn’t as his tires slid through the oil and he plowed into the back of Jamie McMurray, causing extensive damage to both cars.

Edwards held the lead on the ensuing restart. He opened up a commanding two second advantage over teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and cruised to the finish.

The finish wasn’t when the checkered flag flew, however. A mysterious caution came out with two laps to go. At the time, the reason for the caution was unknown, but following the race, the reasoning was revealed as a track light malfunction which triggered the caution lights to flip on.

A few seconds following the caution lights coming on, rain returned to the speedway, bringing a fitting end to the race. Edwards was still out front at that point and he proceeded to cross the finish line under the yellow flag to claim victory.

The victory is his first of the season and will likely earn him a spot in the Chase. He joins Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, and Brad Keselowski as drivers with likely guaranteed Chase positions.

“We’re in the Chase. We’re gonna win this championship” a very confident Edwards said in victory lane. The No.99 team now has 22 weeks to prepare for a title run as they no longer has to pursue victories in order to earn a Chase spot.

Results via ESPN.com

POS DRIVER CAR MANUFACTURER LAPS MONEY START LED PTS BONUS PENALTY
1 Carl Edwards Ford 503 12 78 47 4 0
2 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford 503 21 0 42 0 0
3 Aric Almirola Ford 503 23 0 41 0 0
4 Tony Stewart Chevrolet 503 37 0 40 0 0
5 Marcos Ambrose Ford 503 5 0 39 0 0
6 Denny Hamlin Toyota 503 1 4 39 1 0
7 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 503 6 0 37 0 0
8 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet 503 10 16 37 1 0
9 Brian Vickers Toyota 503 38 0 35 0 0
10 Kyle Larson Chevrolet 503 20 0 34 0 0
11 Austin Dillon Chevrolet 503 26 0 33 0 0
12 Greg Biffle Ford 503 8 0 32 0 0
13 Matt Kenseth Toyota 503 3 165 33 2 0
14 Brad Keselowski Ford 503 2 40 31 1 0
15 Clint Bowyer Toyota 503 15 5 30 1 0
16 Ryan Newman Chevrolet 503 9 0 28 0 0
17 Justin Allgaier Chevrolet 502 30 0 27 0 0
18 Danica Patrick Chevrolet 502 36 0 26 0 0
19 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 501 11 44 26 1 0
20 Joey Logano Ford 500 4 12 25 1 0
21 Paul Menard Chevrolet 500 28 0 23 0 0
22 David Gilliland Ford 500 16 0 22 0 0
23 Josh Wise Chevrolet 499 32 0 21 0 0
24 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet 499 14 0 20 0 0
25 AJ Allmendinger Chevrolet 498 22 0 19 0 0
26 Michael Annett Chevrolet 497 34 0 18 0 0
27 Casey Mears Chevrolet 497 25 0 17 0 0
28 Reed Sorenson Chevrolet 497 35 0 16 0 0
29 Kyle Busch Toyota 496 7 73 16 1 0
30 Landon Cassill Chevrolet 496 31 0 0 0 0
31 David Ragan Ford 495 19 0 13 0 0
32 Alex Bowman Toyota 493 33 0 12 0 0
33 Travis Kvapil Ford 491 39 0 11 0 0
34 Parker Kligerman Toyota 487 41 0 10 0 0
35 Kurt Busch Chevrolet 473 13 28 10 1 0
36 Martin Truex Jr. Chevrolet 471 29 0 8 0 0
37 Michael McDowell Ford 469 24 0 7 0 0
38 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 453 17 10 7 1 0
39 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 450 27 28 6 1 0
40 Cole Whitt Toyota 430 18 0 4 0 0
41 Joe Nemechek Toyota 322 42 0 0 0 0
42 Ryan Truex Toyota 271 40 0 2 0 0
43 Timmy Hill Chevrolet 160 43 0 1 0 0

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