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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.




Related Pictures

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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]
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 GameStop/Rock Candy Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 GameStop/Rock Candy Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane with team owner Dale Earnhardt jr. after winning the series championship during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 GameStop/Rock Candy Toyota, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the series championship during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 Napa Auto Parts Chevrolet, wins the EnjoyIllinois.com 300 race at Chicagoland Speedway on July 19, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates winning the series championship during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the series championship after the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 GameStop/Rock Candy Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Hertz Ford, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, and Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, burn out as Crafton celebrates winning the series championship and Wallace celebrates winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship in Victory Lane with the trophy, NASCAR President Mike Helton and sportscaster Krista Voda during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the series championship and placing ninth in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #51 ToyotaCare Toyota, pits during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, and his daughter Elladee take part in pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)

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