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Strategy pays off for Carl Edwards with Top-5

Mar 9, 2014, 8:56 PM EDT

Kobalt 400 - Practice Getty Images

A call to stay out on track during the final caution of today’s Kobalt 400 enabled Carl Edwards to leave Las Vegas Motor Speedway with a fifth-place result, his best of the young 2014 Sprint Cup season.

Edwards was 15th after a green-flag cycle of pit stops on Lap 214 of 267 but just eight laps later, the caution came out for debris.

Instead of pitting, he joined Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Denny Hamlin as drivers that chose to gamble for track position.

When the green came back on Lap 226, Edwards was running second behind Earnhardt but while the Sprint Cup points leader quickly pulled away, Edwards was forced to battle Brad Keselowski for the runner-up spot.

With fuel still a concern on his No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, Edwards eventually gave up the spot to Keselowski, who would go on to win the race when Earnhardt ran out of fuel on the final lap. Edwards would ultimately fall two more spots in the last 15-20 laps or so to his final result.

“We probably didn’t deserve to finish fifth, so I’m pretty happy with that finish,” he said afterwards. “The guys did a great job with strategy.”

Edwards also paid his respects to William Clay Ford, the director emeritus of Ford Motor Company, who died earlier this morning of pneumonia at the age of 88.

“With the loss of Mr. Ford this weekend – if we couldn’t be in victory lane I’m really proud that a Ford was in victory lane both days,” he said. “Brad did a great job.”

Video from NASCAR America

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