Carl Edwards made his 300th NASCAR Sprint Cup start at Phoenix on Sunday, but it was the finish that turned out to be very interesting. Edwards was 16th with eight laps to go but he was able to avoid two multi-car accidents in the closing laps to finish 11th.
Edwards started the race in 13th place in his Fastenal Ford. He struggled with the handling throughout the race and the Blue Team made adjustments on every pit stop. He had fallen back to 20th after the first 100 laps and was actually passed by the leader just as the caution came out on lap 168 which made him the lucky dog.
Edwards was able to stay on the lead lap for the remainder of the race which helped him gain valuable track position in the end. The team made its final pit stop on lap 302 and Edwards returned to the track in 16th place for the restart with eight laps to go.
Just before the white flag was displayed Jeff Gordon got into Clint Bowyer which took out a few other cars in the process. The melee brought out a red flag with two to go while NASCAR cleaned up the track, and the Gordon and Bowyer pit crews took to fighting the garage. Once the messes were cleaned up on the track and in the garage the race resumed for a green-white-checker finish.
Edwards was 12th with two laps remaining and the wrecking was not over yet. Another multi-car accident occurred coming to the checkered flag. Edwards was able to work his way through the carnage to finish the race in 11th place with the Fastenal Ford in one piece.
Kevin Harvick won the race followed by Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne and Ryan Newman. Brad Keselowski, Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch, Paul Menard and Mark Martin rounded out the top 10.
“We were very fortunate to finish 11th because we just struggled all day,” Edwards said. “We hung on really hard to stay on the lead lap and that kind of saved our day. There at the end, I’ve never seen a finish like that – ever. It was just chaos.”