Carl Edwards prevailed at Richmond International Raceway Sunday, winning the Toyota Owners 400 after making a daring last lap pass on his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch. Hendrick Motorsports’ Jimmie Johnson, meanwhile, was the highest finishing Team Chevy driver after coming home third.
The 400-lap race saw 23 different lead changes, the most in any NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race since 2007. Busch ran strong all day, but took the lead late in the race following a restart on Lap 365. The reigning Sprint Cup champ stayed out front for the remaining laps, however Edwards began to slowly close in and by the second to last lap looked close enough to pass.
After driving deep into Turn 1 to close in on Busch on the final lap, Edwards made his move in Turn 3, nudging Busch up the track to take the lead. Edwards then led Busch as they exited Turn 4 and beat him across the finish line, taking his second straight Sprint Cup Series victory and the fourth straight for JGR.
Post-race, Edwards explained that since both he and Busch have won races so far this year, he was willing to race his teammate more aggressively as he wouldn’t be putting him out of a Chase position. Edwards also felt as though Busch lost a lot of speed on the final circuit of the 1-mile Richmond track, making his pass for the win rather simple.
“Kyle’s an amazing teammate, and it’s like he got really slow there at the end,” Edwards told NASCAR.com. “Something happened that last lap. It was like his rear tires went off or something. He went down into (Turn) 1 and I dove it in and I got to him and I thought, ‘Man, I’ve got something.’
“And he went to get down to the bottom and park it in (Turns) 3 and 4, and I had already decided to go down there, so I thought, ‘Man, I’m going to give him a little nudge.’ And we both have got wins, and we’re racing for fun getting these trophies and (it was) just an awesome day.”
Rounding out the top five was Kasey Kahne in fourth and Kevin Harvick in fifth. Apart from Johnson, Kahne and Busch, the only other Chevy in the top ten was Kurt Busch in tenth. Tony Stewart, who enjoyed his first race back at Richmond after being sidelined with an injury, finished 19th.