Carl Edwards took his No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota to Victory Lane in a rain-shortened AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, after the race’s start was delayed by an almost six-hour rain delay at the beginning of the race. With this win, Edwards becomes the second Chase driver to be added to the Championship Final Four at Homestead, following Jimmie Johnson’s Martinsville win a week ago.
“This is huge. I don’t think it’s sunk in yet,” an ecstatic Edwards said after the race. “This is cool. This team has really worked hard all year and man, it’s just really cool. That’s all we said we needed was a shot and now we’re going to go to Homestead and we’re going to do what we have to do. This was a great test. We came here and knew what we had to do, we performed the way we needed to and I really believe we can do that at Homestead.”
Joey Logano, who had the dominant car of the night, was credited with second-place. Logano, who is also in a must-win situation heading into Homestead, had the fastest car of the night after starting second. Logano led 178 laps on the night and appeared to be the car to beat. But after losing the lead to the 78 of Martin Truex Jr. due to pit strategy on Truex’s part, he never regained the lead.
Logano was disappointed but is looking ahead to next week’s race at Phoenix.
“The team did a very good job on executing when we needed to,” he said. Just, you know, didn’t have enough laps. It seemed like the momentum swung the other way about three or four laps to go before the caution came out when I started catching the 19 pretty rapidly. Unfortunately, it just started raining. That was the end of the race, so…
“You know, it is what it is. We’re going to be close. There’s a lot of cars that are going to be close going into Phoenix. It’s going to be entertaining. It’s going to be probably the closest Phoenix race we’ve ever seen as far as points. It’s going to be a fun one, for sure.”
Truex was credited with third and appeared to be Logano’s biggest challenger of the night, as he led 66 laps. Fourth-place went to Chase Elliott, who despite suffering from flu-like symptoms, managed to run an impressive race and was the top-finishing rookie. Fifth-place went to Kyle Busch, who had a strong run to the front after fading back due to hitting a piece of debris, which punched a hole in the front of his M&M’s Camry.
Rounding out the top-10 was Kevin Harvick in sixth, Matt Kenseth in seventh, Kasey Kahne in eighth, Denny Hamlin in ninth, and Ryan Newman in 10th. Chase standings heading into Phoenix have the 48 of Johnson and the 19 of Edwards first and second, respectively, with Logano in third and Kyle Busch in fourth. Kenseth, Hamlin, Harvick, and Kurt Busch are in fifth through eighth place.
Edwards took the lead on lap 258 following a strong pit stop during a caution on lap 257. He never relinquished the lead, and ultimately led 36 laps. This is his third win of 2016, and his 18th top-10 finish of 2016. This is also his fourth win at Texas, winning there in 2005 and also sweeping both 2008 races.
The Sprint Cup Series heads to Phoenix International Raceway next Sunday, where they will round out the Final Four for Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race will air at 3:30 p..m. ET, Sunday, November 13 on NBC.