After nearly 5 hours of racing and 18 caution periods, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Carl Edwards emerged victorious from the Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Sunday night. Edwards grabbed the lead under a late-race caution and drove away from second place’s Brad Keselowski on the restart to win by .902 seconds at the ‘Lady in Black.’
The win is Edwards’ first at the ‘Too Tough to Tame’ circuit, his second of the NASCAR season and the 25th of his career. It didn’t come easy, however, as Edwards was at one point two laps down after pitting later than the rest of the field on Lap 62. A caution put out by Michael Annett on Lap 89 then set him back once more, however he was able to make up lost ground over the course of the next 200 laps.
Eventually Edwards found himself battling for the lead with pole-sitter Brad Keselowski and Team Chevy’s Kevin Harvick with less than 10 laps remaining. Jeb Burton then spun, putting out a late-race caution and sending the leaders to pit road. A lightning-quick pit stop by Edwards’ Joe Gibbs team allowed him to win the race off pit road, setting him up perfectly for the restart with 8 laps to go.
“A win like this is really special, especially leading into the Chase,” Edwards said. “This is what we needed. We just needed a shot in the arm and needed to have a good night like this. All over, it’s cool.”
“I hope I never forget those last 25 laps. That was really fun, and the restart was fun, but truly racing with Brad and Kevin was a blast. I really had a good time.”
Slotting in behind Edwards for second was Keselowski, with Edwards’ Joe Gibbs teammate Denny Hamlin taking third. Fourth was occupied by Joey Logano, and Kevin Harvick turned up fifth to put Chevrolet in the top five. Other Chevys in the top ten included Kurt Busch in sixth, Dale Earnhardt Jr. in eighth, Martin Truex Jr. in ninth and Kyle Larson in tenth.
NASCAR heads to Richmond next for the Federated Auto Parts 400 – the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular season. Click here for full results from the Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington, and here for a full schedule of next weekend’s NASCAR festivities.
Photo via Toyota Racing