Carl Edwards won the race and stuck the landing, leading 82 laps on the way to his second consecutive win and fourth of the season. He first took the lead on lap 198 but pit stop and cautions kept cycling the No. 99 out of the top spot. A...
Carl Edwards won the race and stuck the landing, leading 82 laps on the way to his second consecutive win and fourth of the season.
He first took the lead on lap 198 but pit stop and cautions kept cycling the No. 99 out of the top spot. A decision to pit on lap 319 for two tires seemed dicey but Edwards assured his crew that he could get back to the front.
He restarted sixth with 11 to go and within nine laps he had crawled up on Mark Martin's bumper, eventually passing him for the victory.
"This is just awesome," said Edwards. "We were very fortunate to get that caution at the end. We got a real big break there. My hat is off to Mark Martin. He almost won this race. He had the best car. I was doing all I could do to stay in front of him. The tires were the deal."
"If we could get tires, if I didn't hit the bumps wrong and shoot the car up the racetrack, I knew we could get him," he continued. "The car was so fast; these new Office Depot Fords are rocket ships."
Martin was second, "The best car won. It was a great run by the whole team. Great call, it was close. I couldn't beat them tires, man. I tell you, we were trying hard. Our car was good on short runs, we took off on the restart we just came up a little bit short."
Matt Kenseth led a race-high 149 laps, but battled mechanical difficulties and had to settle for third, making it a 1-2-3 finish for Roush Racing.
"We had an alternator go bad and we had to switch batteries," said Kenseth. "We were really good when the sun was out but when the sun started to go down we fell off a bit."
Casey Mears and Jimmie Johnson completed the top five.
"We had a really good car," Mears said. "I just couldn't go for about 15 laps. I was way loose at the beginning of the race. It was a great day for us, and we really needed it. We had a car that could have wont he race if the last caution had not come out. In a way, this feels like a win."
Kenseth started on the front row after Ryan Newman was forced to drop to the rear for implementing a back up car.
Kenseth was still leading when the day's first caution waved at lap 30 for debris. The yellow brought the leaders down pit road with the No.17 Ford emerging first. At lap 37, however, Kenseth's teammate Greg Biffle wheeled to the lead in the No. 16 Ford.
On lap 40, Biffle began to complain of a vibration and finally had to pit under green on lap 49 giving the lead back to Kenseth. Biffle restarted a lap down in 43rd. Biffle was waiting for the caution to get a 'lucky dog' pass onto the lead lap when he was caught in the caution on lap 81.
Biffle lost it coming off turn four spinning across the race track. After service stops, Kenseth remained the leader followed by Tony Stewart and Martin. Kenseth was still out front when green flag pit stops for the leaders commenced on lap 146.
Once everyone cycled through, Kenseth still led the way around TMS. He remained the leader until lap 165 when Mears steered the No. 41 Dodge to the top. A yellow on lap 151, however, ended Mears' reign as Martin beat everyone off pit road.
Carl Edwards then wheeled past Martin on lap 198 and led until lap 239, when Mears once again found the front. Newman, battling to stay on the lead lap, nudged Mears on lap 243 allowing the No. 99 Ford to regain the lead and causing the No. 12 Dodge to spin-out.
The ensuing caution once again brought the leaders to pit road with Martin's crew again getting the No. 6 Ford out first. Martin was the frontrunner until lap 262 when Brian Vickers grabbed that position.
Vickers lead didn't last long, as Edwards powered past Martin and Vickers to the lead at lap 267. Martin was just closing on Edwards on lap 291 when Biffle lost control of the No. 16 Ford bringing out the caution.
Stewart won the war of pit road as the sun began to set on the Dickies 500. With 28 to go, Stewart and Martin engaged in a heated battle for the win, swapping the top spot several times before Martin relented allowing Edwards to pass for second and start digging after the No. 20 Chevy.
The crossover move Stewart put on Martin caused fender damage on the No. 20 Chevy which messed with the handling on the car. That damage allowed Edwards and Martin both to pass Stewart at lap 309 for the 1-2 positions.
On lap 319 a debris yellow fell bringing some of the lead lap cars to pit road. Martin, Kenseth, Mears, Rusty Wallace and Sterling Marling all stayed out grabbing the top five spots with Edwards and Stewart taking two-tires and restarting sixth and seventh.
The field restarted with 11 to go. It took Edwards nine laps to catch Martin and get around. In the end, Edwards was the class of the field as he charted his fourth career win.
Tony Stewart continues to lead the 2005 Chase for the Nextel Cup class. Jimmie Johnson trails by 38 points. Carl Edwards (-77), Greg Biffle (-122), Mark Martin (-123), Matt Kenseth (-135), Ryan Newman (-174), Kurt Busch (- 281), Rusty Wallace (-315) and Jeremy Mayfield (-407) complete the top ten.
There were six cautions for 27 laps and 11 lead changes among 20 drivers.