Edwards Wins Rain-Shortened Race at Texas to Earn Championship Four Bid

Mother Nature is seldom a NASCAR fan. And recently, she hasn’t been a Carl Edwards fan. Just last year, rain forced the early end of the Phoenix race, keeping the No. 19 out of the Championship Four by a mere five points. But this Sunday at Texas, Carl got karma.

In a race that was delayed over five hours due to a rain shower passing through the Fort Worth area just after the national anthem, Edwards emerged victorious, earning his third win of the season, the 28th of his career and first at Texas Motor Speedway since 2008.

The race only ran 293 of the 334 scheduled laps due to precipitation hitting the 1.5-mile quad-oval around 11 p.m. Due to the track surface taking upwards of three hours to dry, NASCAR opted to call the race official, thus ending it prematurely.

Edwards took the lead after his No. 19 pit crew got him out ahead of Martin Truex Jr. on lap 258, and he never looked back. He will look to win his first career Sprint Cup championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20 in two weeks’ time.

This is huge. I don’t think it’s sunk in yet,” Edwards told NBCSN in victory lane. “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 was the dominant car early on, leading 178 laps, but finished second. “Second stings,” Logano told reporters following his runner-up finish. “That’s our goal every week, is to win. Anything short of that is a failure. I feel like we were so close to that today.”

Truex Jr. came home third, with Chase Elliott (who battled flu-like symptoms) in fourth and Kyle Busch rounding out the top five. After crashing in practice and qualifying 26th, the No. 18 team overcame fixing a hole in the nose of the car to rebound for a well-deserved top five.

Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin and Ryan Newman rounded out the top ten, with Jimmie Johnson and Ryan Blaney coming home 11th and 12th. Kurt Busch finished in 20th and is in a virtual must-win scenario next week at Phoenix, as he sits last in the Chase standings, 35 points behind the cut line.

His Stewart-Haas Racing teammate, Harvick, also sits below the cut line heading into his best track, Phoenix, where he has won six of the last eight races.

However, he may have an unexpected obstacle to overcome next weekend. Austin Dillon finished 37th after contact with the No. 4 sent him into the wall. Harvick said it “wasn’t intentional,” on his team radio and apologized to the No. 3 post-race on NBCSN.

But Dillon didn’t care, saying “he was just mad that a silver spoon kid was out-running him,” to NBCSN. That reference comes from when Harvick and Austin’s brother Ty got into an altercation at Martinsville in a Truck race and Harvick called the Dillon brothers “silver spooned,” due to the fact that their grandfather, Richard Childress, owns their race team.

The Sprint Cup Series, along with both the XFINITY & Camping World Truck Series, heads west to Phoenix International Raceway for the second-to-last race of the season. The Can-Am 500 will take place Sunday Nov. 13 at 2 p.m. ET on NBC. All eyes will be on Harvick and the No. 4 team, as they look to deliver yet again with their backs against the wall.

NOTES: Kyle Larson won Saturday’s XFINITY Series O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge. Elliott Sadler and Daniel Suarez sit comfortably at the top of the standings, with Darrell Wallace Jr., Brendan Gaughan, Justin Allgaier and Ryan Reed below the cut line.

Johnny Sauter also won the Striping Technologies 300 in the NCWTS. He had already clinched a spot in the Championship Four by winning at Martinsville. Ben Kennedy and Timothy Peters are currently below the cut line, with William Byron, Christopher Bell and Matt Crafton barely hanging on above it.