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Edwards survives green-white-checker for win

NASCAR Sprint Cup in Texas
Sunday, April 06, 2008

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Carl Edwards in Victory Lane
CIA Stock Photo
Carl Edwards dominated Sunday's Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway and even survived a green-white-checker finish to win in his Ford over Jimmie Johnson's Chevy and Kyle Busch's Toyota.  Ryan Newman and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top-5.

The back-flipping Edwards is on a roll.

And he's doing it without his regular crew chief, who is sitting out a suspension for rules violations earlier in the year.

Running either at the front, or just behind Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch most of the race, Edwards took the lead on lap 214 of the 339-lap Samsung 500 and practically held it the remaining distance.

Edwards held off Johnson and Busch in a two-lap shootout after the day's sixth and final caution with four laps remaining set the stage for an exciting green, white, checkered flag finish.

Both runner-up Johnson and third-place Busch put up sterling efforts in trying to win the race at this 1 1/2-mile tri-oval Texas Motor Speedway.

Rounding out the top 10 were fourth-place finisher Ryan Newman, winner of the season-opening Daytona 500; Denny Hamlin, winner of last weekend's race at Martinsville; veteran Jeff Burton; Tony Stewart; Mark Martin; Matt Kenseth and Clint Bowyer.

Kevin Harvick battled back to finish 11th after having a very bad-handling car in the early stages of the race. Dale Earnhardt, Jr., was 12th after running with the leaders at times in the first half of the race. 

Rookie Michael McDowell, who walked away from an horrific qualifying crash Friday afternoon, finished 33rd.

Four-time champion Jeff Gordon had a terrible day, finishing 43rd (last place).

Burton stays in first in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings, and Harvick is second. Edwards climbed four spots to 10th, and Busch jumped two spots to third.

The sport's most popular driver -- Earnhardt -- led the beginning of the race from his pole position but his Chevy lost the handle quickly. Busch, Edwards and Johnson raced past him.

It was a perfect weather day at the Texas track when Michael Waltrip spun in Turn 2 to bring out the first caution flag. It was a timely caution for Harvick, who had just finished telling his crew his car was really "screwed up. I don't know how in the world it could be this bad."

Harvick's team and others used the stop to make much-needed adjustments, including Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon.

On the restart,  Junior's team had their guy back out front with Johnson in close pursuit, just ahead of the younger of the Busch brothers. Johnson's No. 48 Chevy took the lead on lap No. 48.

Gordon, a four-time champion, was thrashing back in 34th spot in the third of four Hendrick Chevrolets, almost a second and a half behind his teammates. Casey Mears, in the other, was 24th.

By lap 55, Earnhardt had dropped back to fifth spot, behind Johnson, Busch, Edwards and Greg Biffle.

Gordon spun on lap 109, the second caution of the sunny day. Gordon's spin ended a frustrating day when he pulled into the garage and told crew chief Steve Letarte, "We need to change everything and turn this into a test session."

Gordon has never had any luck at this track. It is one of only two tracks on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit where Gordon has not won. The other is Homestead- Miami Speedway.

The race started again on lap 113 with Kenseth out front, followed by Johnson, Edwards, Busch, Earnhardt, Denny Hamlin, Biffle, Martin Truex, Jr., Stewart and Kasey Kahne. 

J.J. Yeley brought out the fourth caution flag when he bounced from the outside wall to the inside wall on lap 175.

All the lead cars pitted, and Matt Kenseth resumed his lead.

Results

FIN

ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 2 99 Carl Edwards Ford Aflac 195/10 339 Running
2 5 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's 175/5 339 Running
3 3 18 Kyle Busch Toyota Interstate Batteries 170/5 339 Running
4 4 12 Ryan Newman Dodge Samsung HDTV / ALLTEL 160/0 339 Running
5 14 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Ground 155/0 339 Running
6 35 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Prilosec OTC 150/0 339 Running
7 24 20 Tony Stewart Toyota The Home Depot 146/0 339 Running
8 31 8 Mark Martin Chevrolet U.S. Army 142/0 339 Running
9 8 17 Matt Kenseth Ford DEWALT 143/5 339 Running
10 25 07 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet Jack Daniel's 134/0 339 Running
11 21 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Shell / Pennzoil 130/0 338 Running
12 1 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet National Guard / AMP Energy 132/5 338 Running
13 7 6 David Ragan Ford AAA Insurance 124/0 338 Running
14 32 26 Jamie McMurray Ford Crown Royal Cask No. 16 121/0 338 Running
15 41 38 David Gilliland Ford Yates Racing 118/0 338 Running
16 36 83 Brian Vickers Toyota Red Bull 115/0 338 Running
17 19 15 Paul Menard Chevrolet Quaker State / Menards 112/0 338 Running
18 38 28 Travis Kvapil Ford Yates Racing 109/0 338 Running
19 11 42 Juan Montoya Dodge Texaco / Havoline 106/0 337 Running
20 30 43 Bobby Labonte Dodge Cheerios Racing / Sam's Club 103/0 337 Running
21 29 22 Dave Blaney Toyota Caterpillar 100/0 337 Running
22 22 5 Casey Mears Chevrolet Cheez-It / CARQUEST 97/0 337 Running
23 23 2 Kurt Busch Dodge Miller Lite 94/0 337 Running
24 42 41 Reed Sorenson Dodge Target 91/0 337 Running
25 10 9 Kasey Kahne Dodge Budweiser 88/0 336 Running
26 26 19 Elliott Sadler Dodge Best Buy / Garmin 85/0 336 Running
27 13 66 Scott Riggs Chevrolet State Water Heaters 82/0 336 Running
28 27 10 Patrick Carpentier * Dodge Valvoline 79/0 335 Running
29 9 84 Mike Skinner Toyota Red Bull 76/0 334 Running
30 15 7 Robby Gordon Dodge Jim Beam 73/0 334 Running
31 20 55 Michael Waltrip Toyota NAPA AUTO PARTS 70/0 333 Running
32 17 77 Sam Hornish Jr. * Dodge Mobil 1 67/0 333 Running
33 40 00 Michael McDowell * Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 64/0 332 Running
34 28 21 Bill Elliott Ford Motorcraft 61/0 332 Running
35 34 01 Regan Smith * Chevrolet DEI / Principal Financial Group 58/0 331 Running
36 12 1 Martin Truex Jr. Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Tracker 60/5 330 Off Track
37 43 78 Joe Nemechek Chevrolet Furniture Row/ DenverMattress.com 52/0 330 Running
38 39 70 Jeremy Mayfield Chevrolet Haas Automation 49/0 329 Running
39 16 16 Greg Biffle Ford DISH Network / DishDVRs 46/0 312 Running
40 37 34 John Andretti Chevrolet Front Row Motorsports 43/0 263 Off Track
41 6 44 David Reutimann Toyota UPS 40/0 253 Out of Race
42 33 96 J.J. Yeley Toyota DLP HDTV 37/0 173 Out of Race
43 18 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet DuPont 34/0 124 Out of Race

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