Skip to content

Carl Edwards wins Food City 500 at Bristol

Mar 16, 2014, 9:34 PM EDT

Food City 500 Getty Images

Carl Edwards and Roush Fenway Racing rolled the dice on strategy last weekend at Las Vegas and got rewarded with a Top 5 finish. Tonight at Bristol, another gamble has put them in Victory Lane.

With the caution flag flying at 75 laps to go in the Food City 500, Edwards was one of several drivers that opted to stay out on track while the leaders pitted. He inherited the point as a result and wouldn’t relinquish it again as he went on to become the fourth different winner in as many races this Sprint Cup season.

A multi-car incident involving Kevin Harvick, Jamie McMurray and Brad Keselowski with 50 laps to go bunched up the field for what was the final restart of the night with 39 laps left. Edwards and Aric Almirola led the field back to the green, but Edwards quickly pulled away and left Almirola to fight Ricky Stenhouse Jr. for second.

“Aric and those guys were really fast. I don’t know if I could’ve gotten by them [without the call],” Edwards said to Fox Sports after the race. “That was a gutsy call.”

But Edwards and the rest of the field would have to deal with one more strange twist in a race that had its start delayed by rain for two hours, endured a three-hour, 19-minute red flag for more rain, and saw several of its leaders (including Harvick) find various calamities.

With three laps left, the caution lights over the half-mile oval came on. But there was no immediate explanation for why.

Then, as confusion set in, a cloud burst occurred over the track and the rain fell once more. NASCAR apparently decided enough was enough, and Edwards rolled across the stripe first under the yellow and checkered flags.

Afterwards, the sanctioning body provided an explanation for the caution light episode.

But later in the night, NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton revealed the truth: One of the people in the flag stand over the start/finish line leaned on the switch that was the manual override for the light system.

“It appears that in, not all, but most of the flag stands have a manual override for the caution lights, and due to the weather and due to other things, there’s an area that it couldn’t have been — it wasn’t secured properly, and the flag person leaned against the switch and turned the caution lights on,” Pemberton said.

“We tried to turn them off, and we realized that the override switch was on and they were hung on caution. It was a stupid error.”

No matter for Ford, which enjoyed a banner night at Bristol with Edwards winning, his Roush Fenway Racing teammate Stenhouse finishing second, and Almirola finishing in third.

Stenhouse credited a car capable of running multiple lines – in particular, the bottom groove – for his stout performance.

“We focused on that a lot during practice because if you look back at these races, the cars that are up front every race here at Bristol are able to run the bottom when they need to,” he said in post-race.

In his own thoughts, Almirola indicated that his car’s issues in short runs played a part in him being unable to hang with Edwards in the final laps.

“Our car was really good on the long runs, but we were way too tight on the short runs,” he said to Fox. “It seemed like it kept getting better and better the longer it went…I was hoping it would stay green and maybe we would have had a shot to win, but I’m really happy with everybody on this team.”

Almirola’s teammate at Richard Petty Motorsports, Marcos Ambrose, also finished fifth behind Tony Stewart, who took his Chevy to a fourth-place result after needing a provisional to make the field on Friday.

FULL RESULTS (PDF)

Latest Posts
  1. Starting grid for the 2015 Bahrain Grand Prix

    Apr 19, 2015, 9:30 AM EDT

    Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Nico Rosberg AP

    Lewis Hamilton will lead the grid away in Bahrain on Sunday ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg.

  2. Off The Grid: Melbourne premieres 1:30pm ET on NBCSN (VIDEO)

    Apr 19, 2015, 8:45 AM EDT

    Australian F1 Grand Prix - Previews Getty Images

    Watch a sneak preview of today’s episode as we hear from local racer Daniel Ricciardo on his home race weekend.

  3. Hamilton unsure what to make of Ferrari threat

    Apr 19, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT

    Mideast Bahrain F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    Starting from pole position, Hamilton goes in search of his third win of the season in Bahrain.

  4. Beretta scores World Challenge pole at Long Beach

    Apr 18, 2015, 10:00 PM EDT

    Photo: PWC Photo: PWC

    Beretta’s Ferrari to start up front for Round 5 of season.

  5. Newgarden puts CFH into Fast Six for first time; seeks elusive Long Beach result

    Apr 18, 2015, 9:15 PM EDT

    JosefLBgrid Getty Images

    Newgarden qualifies sixth for Long Beach race, best outside IndyCar’s established “power trio.”

  6. Penske qualifying dominance continues in Long Beach

    Apr 18, 2015, 9:05 PM EDT

    Photo: INDYCAR Photo: INDYCAR

    With 1-2-5 in qualifying at Long Beach, Team Penske’s hot streak on Saturdays continues to open 2015.

  7. Taylor brothers, BMW take Long Beach TUDOR Championship wins

    Apr 18, 2015, 8:49 PM EDT

    Photo: IMSA Photo: IMSA

    Polesitting entries bring it home Saturday at Long Beach for the TUDOR Championship.

  8. Dixon takes first step to erasing Long Beach kryptonite with P3 in qualifying

    Apr 18, 2015, 8:15 PM EDT

    DixonLBquals Getty Images

    Scott Dixon hopes for success at Long Beach, a track he considers a “thorn in the side.”

  9. Hunter-Reay upholds Honda’s honor, qualifies fourth at Long Beach

    Apr 18, 2015, 8:05 PM EDT

    RHRp4 Getty Images

    Ryan Hunter-Reay begins rebound from NOLA wreck by qualifying fourth in Long Beach.

  10. Townsend Bell confirmed in DRR/Kingdom Racing entry for Indy 500

    Apr 18, 2015, 6:44 PM EDT

    Photo: INDYCAR AP

    NBCSN IndyCar analyst Townsend Bell returns to the Indianapolis 500 with Dreyer & Reinbold/Kingdom Racing.

  11. Castroneves secures pole in IndyCar qualifying at Long Beach

    Apr 18, 2015, 6:19 PM EDT

    HelioPoe Getty Images

    Helio Castroneves brings Team Penske its third consecutive pole to start the season.

  12. WATCH: IndyCar qualifying from Long Beach

    Apr 18, 2015, 5:52 PM EDT

    Ryan Hunter-Reay, Sebastien Bourdais Ryan Hunter-Reay, Sebastien Bourdais

    IndyCar qualifying about to go on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra.

  13. Jack Harvey wins last second pole for Indy Lights race in Long Beach

    Apr 18, 2015, 5:28 PM EDT

    Photo: Indy Lights Photo: Indy Lights

    Jack Harvey will start from the pole for Sunday’s Indy Lights race in Long Beach.

  14. GP2: Vandoorne fights back to claim Bahrain feature race win

    Apr 18, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT

    _G7C7421

    American driver Alexander Rossi performs admirably to finish third, having lost the lead of the race with two laps remaining.

  15. Alonso: Reaching Q2 a nice surprise for McLaren

    Apr 18, 2015, 4:00 PM EDT

    Mideast Bahrain F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    Jenson Button was less fortunate in qualifying, though, as a problem on his car sidelined him without setting a lap time.

  16. Carlos Sainz Jr shines as top rookie in Bahrain qualifying

    Apr 18, 2015, 3:15 PM EDT

    AUTO-PRIX-BHR-F1 Getty Images

    Despite expecting to struggle in Bahrain, Sainz will start the race from ninth place on Sunday.

  17. Grosjean disappointed with P10 in Bahrain GP qualifying

    Apr 18, 2015, 2:40 PM EDT

    Grosjean 184 Getty Images

    Grosjean believes he could have qualified higher up the grid, but is pleased to have maintained his 100% Q3 record in 2015.

  18. Simon Pagenaud fastest in IndyCar’s final Long Beach practice

    Apr 18, 2015, 2:12 PM EDT

    Simon Pagenaud Simon Pagenaud

    Simon Pagenaud led IndyCar’s final practice session in Long Beach.

  19. Daniil Kvyat puzzled by Q1 elimination in Bahrain

    Apr 18, 2015, 2:07 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain - Qualifying Getty Images

    Daniel Ricciardo fares far better in the sister Red Bull, qualifying seventh in Bahrain.

  20. Webber hits out at tire-focused single seater series

    Apr 18, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT

    Australian F1 Grand Prix Getty Images

    Former Red Bull driver believes that the focus should not be on tire management, but instead on driver ability and pace.