Carl Edwards used the chrome bumper on the final lap to score the victory at Richmond.
The driver of the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota led 151 of the 400 laps and bumped teammate Kyle Busch out of the way exiting turn 4 to win the Toyota Owners 400. It’s his 27th career victory in the Sprint Cup Series and second at Richmond International Raceway.
“Kyle’s an amazing teammate and it’s like he got really slow there at the end,” Edwards said. “Something happened that last lap. It was like his rear tires went off or something. He went down into (turn) one and I drove 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 three and four 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 just an awesome day.
“Man, I didn’t think we had anything. Kyle was so good there for that run. I was doing everything I could. He never spun his tires and if Dave (Rogers, crew chief) hadn’t screamed at me to just go get him that last lap I don’t know if I would’ve drove it in there that well. Just a team effort.
“It’s an afternoon race which made it a lot of fun to drive and a bunch of families here. Just very cool…it’s a big win for us.”
Busch wound up in the runner-up spot after leading 78 laps in his No. 18 JGR Toyota.
“It was just racing I guess,” Busch said of being bumped by Edwards. “We had a great car.
“We were fast. Maybe not as good as Carl was on the long run but we did everything right. We did everything we were supposed to do and put ourselves in the right position. Adam (Stevens, crew chief) made some awesome adjustments to this car. We lost it there the second to last run and were fading a little bit but the guys gave me an awesome pit stop, got me track position and got us out front and we had a shot to win so that’s all that matters.”
Jimmie Johnson led 44 laps on his way to rounding out the podium in his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.
“I think this tire was perfect for what we’ve been asking for,” Johnson said. “We had multiple lanes that laid the rubber in the race track and we didn’t have all those marbles build-up on the outside, where it really limited your opportunities up high. It was fun. The cars were slipping and sliding; there was a ton of fall off. I enjoyed the long runs. I really like sizing up guys that I’m racing with and seeing how that works out. And then, at the end, we had a bunch of short runs.
“We kind of lost our way in the middle part of the race, but we had good pit stops and some great adjustments at the end got us into the top-three.”
Kasey Kahne posted his first top-five finish of the season with a fourth-place finish in his No. 5 HMS Chevrolet.
“The Mountain Dew Chevrolet was great the whole race,” Kahne said. “The pit stops were awesome and just the communication with Keith (Rodden, crew chief) and the team all weekend long; same as last week and same as the weekend before in Texas. It’s been solid and we’re heading in the right direction. It’s been really nice. We got a good restart there at the end. I had pretty good starts all day. I screwed one up and other than that, we had good restarts. It feels good.”
Kevin Harvick led 63 laps on his way to rounding out the top-five in his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet.
“We started really loose to start the race and got into the wall there and we had to make some more adjustments after I self-adjusted it (laughs),” Harvick said. “And then, we had a couple of really good runs there in the middle of the race. As we started adjusting on it, we never could get the rear drive to go along with the turns. It’s kind of a balance of where the turn is good enough and you can still manage the drive, but everybody tried everything we could. We threw a lot at it and just never could find that magic balance for the car that we had there in the middle of the race.”
Denny Hamlin led one lap on his way to a sixth-place finish in his No. 11 JGR Toyota. Matt Kenseth led two laps on his way to a seventh-place finish in his No. 20 JGR Toyota.
“I thought the track was okay,” Kenseth said of the multiple grooves. “There was a little bit more room than there typically was. I never really went for it real far. I got back to about seventh, where we are, and that’s about what I was at the beginning when we had our problems so I could never quite get up there with the best cars. But, it was nice it widened out a little bit.”
Joey Logano finished eighth in his No. 22 Team Penske Ford.
“I needed to find a different lane,” Logano said. “Every lane I found didn’t work. At the end, it started to and I felt like maybe a couple of more restarts and good pit-stops we could have track positioned ourselves to be closer to the front and maybe squeak out a top-five at the end. Taking a car from being the 35th-place car to a top-five car throughout a race is quite impressive for what my team was able to do today. It was great teamwork. Everyone kept working hard and those are great opportunities to implode internally as a race team and completely throw away a whole race and start yelling and screaming at each other but there was not one moment of that today from my team. Everyone was very methodical about the changes and we tried things that didn’t work so we went the other way and it started to work for us. I am proud of the effort from my team today. We need to make the cars a little faster, but I am proud of the effort.”
Martin Truex Jr. finished ninth in his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota. Kurt Busch led 55 laps on his way to rounding out the top-10 in his No. 41 SHR Chevrolet.
The race lasted three hours, five minutes and 26 seconds at an average speed of 97.070 mph. There were 23 lead changes among eight different drivers and eight cautions for 49 laps.
Edwards leaves Richmond with a seven-point lead over Harvick.