Edwards beats the rain at Texas, clinches spot in final

FORT WORTH, Tx — Carl Edwards took the lead with a crucial speedy pit stop and held on for a virtual must-win at Texas Motor Speedway Sunday night to earn a berth into the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup final. Edwards’ No. 19 Toyota team used an 11.8-second pit stop on Lap 255 to beat leader Martin Truex Jr. off pit road. He held on through two subsequent restarts to claim Joe Gibbs Racing’s first win of the Chase after the four-driver team claimed 11 in the 26-race regular season.

The AAA 500 was halted because of rain with 41 laps left with Joey Logano, another driver needing a win, second, followed by Truex, Chase Elliott, and Chase drivers Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Matt Kenseth. Edwards, who entered the race last of eight title-eligibles, 32 points out of the fourth and final transfer spot, had attempted to pass Truex since Lap 204 as reports of impending rain crackled over team radios. He narrowed the margin to as little as .365 seconds but Truex was able to hold the lead.

"I actually enjoyed it," Edwards said on pit road after NASCAR called the race. "Obviously this is what we had to do. The guys got me off pit road first and that's what won it for me. We've got a shot at the championship at Homestead and that's all we wanted."

Team Penske’s Logano dominated the first half of the race, taking the lead from pole-sitter Austin Dillon on the first green flag lap and holding it for 165 of the first 167. Logano entered the race with 159 laps led in 16 previous Texas starts, 108 of which came in a 2014 spring win.

Truex Jr., who won two first-round playoff races but was eliminated in the second, passed Logano for the lead by pitting a lap earlier on Lap 147. Logano slumped to third as Edwards assumed second. Truex eventually pulled out to as much as a 2.6-second lead before a caution on Lap 254. Defending series champion Kyle Busch struggled early in the race, running 16th on Lap 100, a spot better than his older brother and another former champion, Kurt Busch. The race began after an almost five-hour delay because of rain and an extreme length of time required to dry the 1.5-mile track.


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