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Edwards wins Atlanta thriller.

Carl Edwards took a spectacular debut Nextel Cup victory in Sunday's Golden Corral 500, passing Jimmie Johnson around the outside of the final turn on the last lap to steal a dramatic win.

Less than half a season after making his Nextel Cup debut for Jack Roush's #99 team, Edwards introduced his customary victory back-flip to an appreciative Atlanta Motor Speedway crowd after a race that started, and finished with a bang.

In a race dominated by a major opening lap crash and stunning performances by Johnson and Edwards' Roush Racing teammate Greg Biffle, Edwards' daring last lap pass on Johnson came as a surprise even though the charismatic youngster also broke his Busch Series victory duck on Saturday.

After avoiding the opening lap melee, which eliminated or damaged more than a dozen cars, Johnson and Biffle led 308 of the 325 laps between them, trading places on numerous occasions and easily outclassing the rest of the field.

It was only a lightning quick final pit stop 30 laps from home that moved Edwards from a top five contender into the lead, and even though that lead lasted less than a lap once the green flag waved on lap 299, the driver of the #99 Scott's sponsored Ford was able to keep in the wheel tracks of Johnson's #48 Hendrick Motorsport Chevrolet.

Biffle, who prior to the ninth and final caution period of the day had opened the most significant lead of the day, was never able to rally from a slow-ish final stop and despite a concerted effort could only watch the last lap unfold from about ten car lengths back.

After Edwards appeared to have used the best of his tyres with five laps remaining, few expected the St Louis based youngster to have an answer for Johnson, who led a total of 156 laps.

However after getting a good run off turn four on the penultimate lap, Edwards swung high in turn one as Johnson hugged the low line using his extra momentum to tuck right in behind the #48 Chevrolet as they charged down the back straight for the last time. Into turn three and again Johnson went low as Edwards went high. Again Edwards had the better momentum and this time it was enough to bring him alongside Johnson as they exited the turn, the #99 eventually nosing ahead at the line by just two hundredths of a second.

After leading just nine laps all day, the guts and commitment shown by the former Craftsman Truck Series ace on the final lap made his victory an extremely popular one with the Atlanta crowd who, like many others, are quickly warming to Jack Roush's newest star.



Related Pictures

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Carl Edwards took a third place in only his 10th Nextel Cup race (Photo Autostock/Ford Motor Co)
Jimmie Johnson,in his Lowes Chevrolet, wins the NASCAR Nextel Cup UAW Daimler Chrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas,NV-3/13/05. ©Bob LeSieur
02/17/05 Daytona. Greg Biffle and Roush Racing team mate Carl Edwards pass either side of Randy LaJoie during the Gatorade Duel 150`s. Biffle finished 13th with Edwards 15th. Photo Credit: Autostock
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)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #24 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet SS, stops in his pit on his way to a fifth place finish Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. Elliott takes over the #24 car from retired driver Jeff Gordon.  (Photo by Ashley R Dickerson for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, races to a fourth place finish 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)
Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats Toyota, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 7, 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)
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)

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