A piece of Carl Edwards' grand larceny ended with a back flip and a celebration, rather than a jail term, at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Sunday.
With a pass for the lead on the final corner of the final lap of the Nationwide Series NAPA Auto Parts 200, Edwards capitalised on the only mistake Marcos Ambrose made all day to win his first road-course race in one of NASCAR's top three divisions.
Running on rain tyres after a mandatory change for the entire field on lap 61, Edwards hounded Ambrose for both laps of a green-white-chequered finish and made the winning pass after Ambrose's car got airborne over the kerbs and lost momentum in the final turn of lap 76.
In collecting his third Nationwide Series victory of the season and the 23rd of his career, Edwards gave Roush Fenway Racing its first road-course win in the series.
“The two laps, Andrew Ranger [who finished third
] and I went side-by-side into turn one [on lap 75],” said Edwards, who trimmed the series points lead of tenth-place finisher Kyle Busch from 248 to 192, “He pinched me off into the grass - which I probably would have done if I was him - and I just drove into his door. We came off of turn two banging doors.
“It was wild, and I thought the whole time Marcos was going to get away with this thing. But I broke away from Andrew, and I just gave it everything I had on that last lap. Marcos just made that one mistake through the curves at the end and gave me the chance to get by.”
Former F1 champion Jacques Villeneuve ran fourth, to the delight of partisan Quebecers in the packed grandstands. Brad Keselowski came home fifth and tightened his hold on third place in the points standings.
Ambrose, who has finished seventh, third and second in the series' three races at the 2.7-mile course, was despondent at not closing out Edwards after leading 60 laps.
“I just made a mistake at the end there and lost the race,” the Australian said, “Any other lap, any other corner, I would have got it straight back. It just happened to be the last corner of the race. We had a drag race coming off the hairpin. Carl got position on me, and I had to try to make sure I [outbraked] him.