Phoenix NASCAR: Carl Edwards ends victory drought

Carl Edwards ended a barren run stretching back to March 2011 by winning the season's second NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix

Phoenix NASCAR: Carl Edwards ends victory drought

Edwards beat erstwhile leader Dale Earnhardt Jr out of the pits in the final stops, then nursed his fuel load to the finish to win for the first time since Las Vegas two years and 70 races ago.

Going into the closing laps, the Roush Fenway Ford had Jimmie Johnson's Hendrick Chevrolet and Brad Keselowski's Penske Ford hunting it down as the entire field tried to save fuel.

A green-white-chequered finish after a puncture for Ken Schrader was a headache Edwards did not need, yet he was able to break clear as Johnson and Keselowski tussled with each other.

Their battle became so intense that Denny Hamlin was able to surge down the inside of both, grabbing second for a few moments before Johnson inched ahead as they banged doors on the way to the flag.

Hamlin held on to third, having started at the back following a pre-race engine change. His Joe Gibbs Toyota team-mate Kyle Busch had the same issue, but could only finish 23rd after an early spin.

Earnhardt faded to fifth behind Keselowski, and ahead of Clint Bowyer, who recovered from a messy pitstop for sixth.

Matt Kenseth, Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon and Jeff Burton completed the top 10, followed by returnee AJ Allmendinger.

Alternative fuel strategies allowed Juan Pablo Montoya and Greg Biffle to squabble over the lead for a spell. They eventually finished 12th and 17th.

Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahne were also victory contenders before their cars faded, leaving them 13th and 19th.

Polesitter Mark Martin led 75 laps, including the entire first stint, but an additional pitstop for a loose wheel put him out of sequence and 21st was his final result.

Danica Patrick's race came to a violent end on lap 184 (pictured above), when a puncture sent her into first the wall and then the path of a flat-out David Ragan. Both drivers were unhurt.

Results - 316 laps:

Pos  Driver              Team/Car                         Time/Gap
 1.  Carl Edwards        Roush Fenway Ford            3h00m15.000s
 2.  Jimmie Johnson      Hendrick Chevrolet               + 1.024s
 3.  Denny Hamlin        Joe Gibbs Toyota                 + 1.036s
 4.  Brad Keselowski     Penske Ford                      + 1.305s
 5.  Dale Earnhardt Jr   Hendrick Chevrolet               + 1.596s
 6.  Clint Bowyer        Waltrip Toyota                   + 1.840s
 7.  Matt Kenseth        Joe Gibbs Toyota                 + 2.267s
 8.  Tony Stewart        Stewart-Haas Chevrolet           + 2.416s
 9.  Jeff Gordon         Hendrick Chevrolet               + 2.422s
10.  Jeff Burton         Childress Chevrolet              + 2.472s
11.  AJ Allmendinger     Phoenix Chevrolet                + 2.638s
12.  Juan Pablo Montoya  Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet      + 2.787s
13.  Kevin Harvick       Childress Chevrolet              + 2.930s
14.  Casey Mears         Germain Chevrolet                + 2.934s
15.  Aric Almirola       Petty Ford                       + 3.261s
16.  Ricky Stenhouse Jr  Roush Fenway Ford                + 3.405s
17.  Greg Biffle         Roush Fenway Ford                + 3.430s
18.  Marcos Ambrose      Petty Ford                       + 3.526s
19.  Kasey Kahne         Hendrick Chevrolet               + 3.723s
20.  Paul Menard         Childress Chevrolet              + 3.982s
21.  Mark Martin         Waltrip Toyota                   + 4.045s
22.  Jamie McMurray      Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet      + 4.083s
23.  Kyle Busch          Joe Gibbs Toyota                 + 4.236s
24.  Bobby Labonte       JTG Daugherty Toyota              + 1 lap
25.  David Reutimann     BK Toyota                         + 1 lap
26.  Joey Logano         Penske Ford                       + 1 lap
27.  Kurt Busch          Furniture Row Chevrolet           + 1 lap
28.  JJ Yeley            Baldwin Chevrolet                + 3 laps
29.  Travis Kvapil       BK Toyota                        + 3 laps
30.  David Stremme       Swan Toyota                      + 3 laps
31.  Joe Nemechek        NEMCO Toyota                     + 5 laps
32.  Landon Cassill      Circle Sport Chevrolet           + 7 laps
33.  Dave Blaney         Baldwin Chevrolet               + 10 laps
34.  Ken Schrader        FAS Lane Ford                   + 16 laps*
35.  Jose Wise           Front Row Ford                  + 21 laps
36.  Martin Truex Jr     Waltrip Toyota                  + 32 laps

* Not running at chequered flag

Retirements:

     David Gilliland     Front Row Ford                   237 laps
     David Ragan         Front Row Ford                   186 laps
     Danica Patrick      Stewart-Haas Chevrolet           184 laps
     Ryan Newman         Stewart-Haas Chevrolet           137 laps
     Scott Speed         Leavine Ford                      88 laps
     Mike Bliss          Humphrey Smith Toyota             34 laps
     Scott Riggs         Xxxtreme Ford                     19 laps
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