Carl Edwards won his second race in a row and the 27th of his career Sunday. He did it with a last lap pass of his teammate Kyle Busch on the final corner of the final lap. The racing wasn’t just exciting at the front as some of the best racing in recent history at Richmond happened all over the track, all day long. Here’s how it all went down Sunday at Richmond International Raceway.
After being awarded the pole on Friday due to rain, Kevin Harvick led the field to green under clear blue skies. Joey Logano started on the outside in second. By the end of the first lap, Harvick was leading, Jimmie Johnson was second, Logano was second, Denny Hamlin third and Kurt Busch fifth.
Carl Edwards went to fifth on lap 6. The top 10 were single file. Edwards went to fourth on lap 11. Kyle Busch passed his brother for fifth on lap 14. Ahead Edwards was looking for third; he had the spot on lap 17. Kyle Busch grabbed fourth from Hamlin on lap 17.
Johnson was looking for the lead and got the top spot on the outside on lap 21; behind Kyle Busch and Logano were contesting fourth with Busch getting the spot after a short battle. Johnson was starting to catch and lap the back of the field on lap 24. Edwards was catching Harvick and looking for second by lap 30.
Harvick, running a high line, scrapped the wall on lap 37 he continued but lost second to Edwards. By lap 51, Harvick and Kyle Busch were dueling for third with Busch getting the spot. Up front, Edwards was looking for the lead.
Harvick was fighting off Hamlin to keep third on lap 61. Edwards finally got the lead on lap 66. By lap 72, Logano was in danger of going a lap down as he struggled and Edwards lead was just over a second.
Kyle Busch was looking for second and got the spot on lap 79; up front, Logano went a lap down on lap 80.
Some teams deep in the field started making green flag stops on lap 84. Harvick, Kyle Busch and Edwards pitted on lap 90 under green. Matt Kenseth was the last of the lead laps cars to pit on lap 94. When the pit stops cycled through, Edwards was again in the lead by just over two seconds, Kyle Busch was second, Brad Keselowski was third followed by Hamlin and Harvick. Hamlin went to third shortly after passing Harvick for fourth on lap 102.
On lap 126 Harvick went to fourth. There were 19 cars on the lead lap. Edwards’ lead up front was just over a second. Tony Stewart in his first race back since an off-season injury was passed by leader Edwards and went a lap down on lap 144.
The first caution of the day came out on lap 157 for debris. The leaders all came in for stops. The caution ended the longest green flag run to start a race at Richmond since 1979. Kyle Busch was out first followed by Edwards, Hamlin, Johnson and Harvick. Hamlin was hit with a penalty for an uncontrolled tire however and sent to the back of the longest line; with the penalty, Kasey Kahne moved into the top five. Hamlin restarted 17th.
The green came out on lap 165. Busch was able to get away as Edwards spun his tires. Edwards held onto second and Johnson dropped into third. Edwards recovered and caught Busch and retook the lead on lap 168. Harvick went to third on lap 181.
Reed Sorenson had cut a tire and put debris on the track; after a few laps, NASCAR threw the second caution of the day on lap 195 for that debris. The leaders all came in for stops. Edwards held the lead off pit road followed by Harvick, Johnson, Kyle Busch and Kahne.
The green came out on lap 203. Edwards leapt to the lead, Harvick fell into second, Johnson third; behind them, cars were four wide back in the pack fighting for spots. Kyle Busch took third from Johnson on lap 206, Kurt Busch was behind Johnson in fifth. Edwards had stretched his lead to 1.5 seconds up front. Kahne went to fifth on lap 213.
Harvick caught and passed Edwards for the lead on lap 231. By lap 241 Harvick had stretched out his lead to over 1.5 seconds. Kyle Busch passed Edwards for second on lap 245. Harvick’s lead was soon over 2.5 seconds.
Caution three came out on lap 251 for debris in turn 3. The leaders all came in for stops. Harvick with the number one pit stall was out first, Kyle Busch, followed by brother Kurt, Edwards and Kahne. Hamlin had rallied and rejoined the field seventh. Green came back on out lap 258. Harvick had a sole lead as the Busch brothers dueled side by side; Kyle had the second spot a lap later, Kurt fell into third.
Kyle Busch was looking for the lead on lap 262. Stewart spun and the fourth caution of the day came out on lap 269. Stewart had made contact with Logano on the restart and Stewart’s Chevy had enough damage from a tire rub the he lost the right rear and spun entering turn 1. The top seven came in for stops. Keselowski who had been just outside the top five, stayed out and was credited with the lead. Harvick led the race off pit road, Kurt Busch was second, Edwards third followed by Kahne and Kyle Busch.
Green came out on lap 274; Keselowski was able to hold onto the top, but Kurt Busch was underneath and looking for the lead. Busch was able to take the lead by lap 278; Kyle Busch followed into second a lap later. Soon Harvick and Edwards were fighting for fourth and fifth. Harvick had the spot by lap 281. Edwards and Harvick were soon dueling Keselowski in a furious battle and Edwards grabbed third on lap 284.
The Busch brothers were fighting for the lead by lap 285. Kurt was low, Kyle was high and the two were side by side for several laps. Kyle had an advantage by lap 287, but Kurt lurked close behind. By lap 265, Harvick was fourth, Kahne fifth and Dale Earnhardt Jr. sixth. Keselowski had fallen to 14th.
Harvick was looking for third from Edwards on lap 300; Harvick got the spot on lap 301. Earnhardt went to fifth on lap 310. Caution five came out two laps later on lap 312 for more debris. The leaders came in for stops. Kurt Busch was out first, Kyle second, Harvick third followed by Edwards and Earnhardt.
Green came out on lap 318. Kurt was able to rocket to the lead as Harvick and Kyle dueled for second. The field didn’t complete a lap however as Ryan Newman made contact with another Kyle Larson, spun then lost a tire and spun exiting turn four, caution six flew. The leaders all stayed out. Green came out on lap 325.
On the restart, the field had just taken the green but Ryan Ellis spun after a push from Landon Cassill and caution seven was displayed. Stewart got the free pass and was back on the lead lap in 24th. The leaders all stayed out. The green came out on lap 334.
Kurt had the lead over his brother on the restart, Kyle fell behind in second; Harvick was third, Edwards fourth and Earnhardt fifth. A lap after the restart Johnson and Earnhardt were fighting for fifth with Johnson getting the spot on lap 336. Edwards went to third passing Harvick on lap 342. Johnson was soon looking for fourth from Harvick. Edwards went to second on lap 354.
After taking second, Edwards began chipping away at the lead. His march was stopped when Brian Scott spun on lap 359 bringing out caution eight. The leaders all came in for stops. With a lightning fast pit stop, Kyle Busch was out first, Edwards was second, followed by Johnson, Harvick and Kurt Busch.
Green came out on lap 364. Kyle Busch took the lead as Edwards stayed close. Behind the rest of the top five fought for position. After a lap Johnson was third, Kahne was fourth, Harvick fifth. Kurt Busch seemed to be having issues and was falling back; soon he was in 10th. Up front, Kyle Busch’s lead was nearing 1.5 seconds. With 20 laps to go however, Edwards was cutting into the lead and it was under a second.
With 18 laps to go the lead was down to half a second over Edwards. Busch was in lapped traffic with 12 to go and Edwards was looking for the led up high. With 10 to go, Edwards was at the bumper of Busch.
In the course of the final laps Busch was able to keep Edwards at bay, until the final lap. As the two entered turn 1 after the white flag flew, Edwards got to the back of Busch. They remained nose to tail until entering turn 3. Edwards used a bump and run getting Busch loose and making the pass out of turn 4 and grabbing the win. Busch held on for second, Johnson was third, followed by Kahne and Harvick. H
Hamlin rallied to finish sixth, Matt Kenseth was seventh, Logano eighth, Martin Truex Jr. ninth and Kurt Busch was 10th. The full results can be found here.
Richmond marks the end of NASCAR’s short tracks for a while. The series now heads to its biggest track Talladega Superspeedway for next Sunday’s GEICO 500. Live coverage will be on Fox at 1:00 p.m. ET.