Despite a fractured right foot, Carl Edwards was able to claim his fourth Nationwide Series win of the season on Friday night at Richmond.
The Roush Fenway driver, who has been on crutches since he injured his right foot last week in a Frisbee accident, had started the race from 39th place following a spark plug issue, which hampered his qualifying effort. He quickly moved up in the order, and by the time of the final caution of the day, he was well in contention for victory.
With 25 laps remaining, the yellow flags waved and the leaders pitted for the last time. Edwards was running second to Kevin Harvick and his team performed the four-tyre change and fuel fill-up faster than his rival's crew, handing him the lead for the first time during the night.
When the green flag waved, he was able to stay in control and cross the finish line first, marking the third time this year that he has driven from the back of the field to claim victory. However, this time he was unable to perform his trademark back flip, replacing it with what he called an "old-school" burn-out on the front stretch.
"I know that was a really weak burn-out, but I didn't want to tear up this [car], it's too good. That was an old-school burn-out," said Edwards about his unusual victory celebration.
"My guys are the ones who made this one happen, my guys in the pits. That was a great pitstop. We're trying to catch Kyle [Busch, in the championship] and we've got to run like this to do it. We were probably going to run second tonight, but that pitstop is what got me into victory lane."
Earlier in the race, Edwards had already had a shot at the lead while he was fighting with Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick. However, he got into the back of Hamlin at Turn 1 and the contact allowed Harvick to get by. Their battle for victory resumed later, though, but no overtaking was needed on the track as the crews made the difference in the pits.
Harvick finished a close second, having saved his race from ending up in a wreck with Hamlin while fighting for the lead with 47 laps to go. The Joe Gibbs driver, who led the race early on from pole, almost spun while powering out of Turn 4 while Harvick was on his inside trying to complete a pass.
Despite Hamlin damaging his car and requiring a green-flag pitstop, which put him a lap down, the former two-time Nationwide series champion was able avoid major damage and carried on to take the lead before Edwards came challenging him from behind.
"I think Denny got a little loose there and no harm, no foul everybody, a little light contact that's typical here at Richmond," said Harvick about his incident with Hamlin.
"I had a lot of fun tonight, my team did a great job after a bad first pitstop and came back and rebounded and did great all night. We were there at the end and just came a little bit short."
Kyle Busch finished third after leading the race for 30 laps, passing Brad Keselowski on lap 113. Meanwhile, the JR Motorsports racer led the most laps during the night, after emerging up front from the first round of pitstops. However, neither him nor Busch had the speed to contend for victory in the end, and both finished the race battling for third between them.
David Reutimann was third after the last round of pitstops, but he slid down to fifth at the chequered flag, while Martin Truex Jr was sixth in what was his first Nationwide Series start of the season, driving the #1 car for Phoenix Racing.
Edwards' win allows him to shed a few points off Busch's massive lead in the championship, with only eight races left on the series calendar.
Pos Driver Make Laps
1. Carl Edwards Ford 250
2. Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 250
3. Kyle Busch Toyota 250
4. Brad Keselowski Chevrolet 250
5. David Reutimann Toyota 250
6. Martin Truex Jr Chevrolet 250
7. Trevor Bayne Toyota 250
8. Justin Allgaier Dodge 250
9. Steve Wallace Chevrolet 250
10. Scott Speed Toyota 250
11. Clint Bowyer Chevrolet 250
12. Greg Biffle Ford 250
13. Paul Menard Ford 250
14. Erik Darnell Ford 250
15. Jason Keller Ford 250
16. Mike Bliss Chevrolet 250
17. Denny Hamlin Toyota 250
18. Scott Wimmer Chevrolet 250
19. Michael McDowell Dodge 248
20. Travis Kvapil Ford 248
21. Brendan Gaughan Chevrolet 248
22. Tony Raines Chevrolet 248
23. Bobby Hamilton Jr Dodge 248
24. Mike Wallace Chevrolet 248
25. Michael Annett Toyota 247
26. Kenny Wallace Chevrolet 246
27. Travis Kittleson Chevrolet 246
28. Robert Richardson Jr Chevrolet 246
29. Eric McClure Ford 245
30. Benny Gordon Ford 245
31. Justin Marks Toyota 245
32. Jason Leffler Toyota 227
33. Matt Carter Ford 77
34. Dennis Setzer Dodge 47
35. Shelby Howard Chevrolet 40
36. Joe Nemechek Chevrolet 32
37. Josh Wise Chevrolet 23
38. Mark Green Chevrolet 22
39. Justin Hobgood Chevrolet 18
40. J C Stout Chevrolet 17
41. Coleman Pressley Toyota 16
42. Johnny Chapman Chevrolet 8
43. Kevin Lepage Dodge 0