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Nationwide: Edwards' near miss ends in win

Carl Edwards survived a hefty early hit with the wall to claim victory in the Nationwide race at Charlotte on Friday night - with a little help from a friend.
Carl Edwards hit the wall hard early during the 200-lap "Dollar General 300 Miles of Courage" Nationwide Series race, but survived the scare and a late surge from Kyle Busch to challenge for the lead in order to claim the chequered flag at Charlotte.

"Man, this is huge," said Edwards. "I hit the wall really hard and messed the right side of the car up."

Edwards needed a push at the last restart from his Roush Fenway team mate Trevor Bayne to beat Busch. "What got us the lead: Trevor pushed, and that meant a lot," said Edwards. "Man, this is huge ... There at the end, I thought Kyle was going to get me. He has the ability to turn it on there at the end. But he raced me really clean, and I appreciate that."

The win is Edwards' 37th victory in 241 Nationwide Series starts and is his eighth in 2011 alone, making this the most victories he's achieved in a single season in Nationwide.

Earlier on Friday, Paul Menard had clinched pole position for the Friday evening race with a laptime of 29.079s on the 1.5-mile quad-oval. He was joined on the front row of the grid by Rickey Stenhouse Jr., who recorded a time 0.039s off pole. The next four positions were all Cup regulars (Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch.) Former NASCAR regular Sam Hornish Jr. qualified in seventh alongside Brian Scott.

Menard led the race for the first 26 laps until the first caution for Joe Nemechek's blown engine. Stenhouse took over at the front with a helpful push from Elliott Sadler and maintained it until the next caution when Reed Sorenson had problems and stopped on track, but Stenhouse got a poor restart and gave away the lead to Brad Keselowski who promptly started to pull out a big lead.

After a short debris caution, the restart on lap 74 saw Brad Keselowski, Paul Menard, Kyle Busch, Joey Logano and Steve Wallace lead the field back to green. With the exception of a short hiatus around the fourth caution on lap 127 when Ryan Truex hit the wall in turn 2, Keselowski would stay in control through to lap 170 and was looking on course for a cruise into victory lane, but then he spun out of the lead on a cut tyre and brought out a fifth caution.

Keselowski was down to 13th place at the restart after leading 199 of the race's 200 laps. Now the race was headed up by Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Elliott Sadler, Brian Vickers, Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards - but the green flags only lasted four laps before Kasey Kahne hit the wall in turn 4 on lap 180 and brought out a new caution for debris that had dropped off the damaged car.

Kyle Busch led at the next restart. That was equally shortlived before Busch's team mate Joey Logano got loose in turn 4 while running side-by-side with Trevor Bayne and ended up brushing the wall, brining out the seventh and final caution of the evening's proceedings. There were just five laps remaining of the race by the time Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Trevor Bayne, Elliott Sadler and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. led the field to the green flag once more.

With a push-assist from Bayne, Edwards managed to get a better restart when the track went green and proceeded to drive away from Kyle Busch for the win. Considering he'd been anonymous for much of the night after slapping the wall hard in turn 4 on lap 32 and needing a lot of corrective action in pit road, Edwards was amazed to be picking his way to victory lane when the race was done.




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Carl Edwards, driver of the #60 Fastenal Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Dollar General 300 Miles of Courage at Charlotte Motor Speedway on October 14, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. [Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Paul Menard, driver of the #27 Pittsburgh Paints/Menards Chevrolet, Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 STP Ford, Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 Ortho Ford, Trevor Bayne, driver of the #6 AdvoCare Ford, and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, are involved in an on-track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Cole Custer, driver of the #00 Haas Automation Chevrolet, is involved in an on-track incident in front of Erik Jones, driver of the #4 Toyota, and Joey Logano, driver of the #29 Cooper Standard Ford, as Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Hormel/Menards Toyota, drives away during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway on March 28, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #29 Cooper Standard Ford, and Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Hormel/Menards Toyota, race into turn one during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway on March 28, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Wurth Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 22, 2015 in Fontana, California.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Wurth Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 22, 2015 in Fontana, California.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Wurth Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 22, 2015 in Fontana, California.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Wurth Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane with girlfriend Paige White after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 22, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Wurth Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 22, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, leads the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 22, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS finishes in sixth place and Paul Menard, driver of the #27 FVP/Menards Chevrolet SS finishes in fourth place Sunday, March 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Paul Menard, driver of the #27 FVP/Menards Chevrolet SS finishes in fourth place and Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS finishes in fourteenth place Sunday, March 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS finishes in third place and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS finishes in second place Sunday, March 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 21, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Jeff Gross/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, climbs into his car prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 21, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet SS qualifies for fifth position Friday, March 20, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Larson is 17th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS qualifies for 2nd position Friday, March 20, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Harvick leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Joining him on the front row will be Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS who won the Pole position. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS celebrates with his team after winning the Pole position Friday, March 20, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Busch is 33rd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Joining him on the front row will be Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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