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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]
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS, races to an eighth place finish with Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS who finished in second place Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Alan Marler for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, finishes in second place Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Brian Cleary for Chevy Racing)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 as Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage (L) and John Godwin of Duck Commander (R) look on at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, celebrates winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, leads the field to the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 8, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 8, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s 75th Anniversary Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s 75th Anniversary Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s 75th Anniversary Toyota, celebrates with the chequered flag after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s 75th Anniversary Toyota, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s 75th Anniversary Toyota, leads Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, and Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #14 Target Chevrolet SS, finishes in third place, Sunday April 3, 2016, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, VA (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Chevrolet, gets into his car in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 18, 2016 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Photo by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)

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