NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
 
               === Edwards wins at Bristol in bizarre finish ===
 
 Bristol,  TN (SportsNetwork.com)  - In a race that featured five hours of rain
 delays  and concluded with a confusing caution and the skies opening up again,
 Carl Edwards won Sunday's Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
 
 Edwards  grabbed  the lead with 78  laps to go when  he opted not to pit while
 most  of the  other front runners came in  for new tires. He then held off the
 field following a restart with less than 40 laps remaining. Edwards had a more
 than two-second lead over second-place runner and Roush Fenway Racing teammate
 Ricky  Stenhouse Jr.  with just  over two  laps left  when the  caution lights
 around  this 0.533-mile,  high-banked oval  came  on for  no apparent  reason.
 Moments  later, heavy  rain fell on the track, forcing NASCAR officials to end
 the race under caution.
 
 Shortly  after the  race concluded, NASCAR vice president of competition Robin
 Pemberton  explained what  triggered the final caution at the end of the race,
 saying,  "It appears that  in the flag stand one of the flag people had leaned
 on  the switch that is the manual override for the caution lights, and so that
 happened."
 
 Pemberton  also  said, "When the  flag stand  realized that the caution lights
 were  illuminated, the  flag man threw the flag, and then after that happened,
 we  froze the  field from the tower. It  appears that in, not all, but most of
 the  flag stands have a manual override for the caution lights, and due to the
 weather and due to other things, there's an area that it couldn't have been --
 it  wasn't secured properly, and the flag person leaned against the switch and
 turned the caution lights on.
 
 "We  tried to  turn them off, and  we realized that the override switch was on
 and they were hung on caution. It was a stupid error."
 
 The  rain prevented any attempt at a green-white-checkered finish. The caution
 came before the final lap.
 
 Edwards  claimed  his 22nd career win  in the Sprint Cup Series, including his
 third  at  Bristol. His previous  victories here  occurred in the August night
 race (2007 and '08).
 
 Edwards  also became the  fourth different driver to win in as many races this
 season. He joins Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Daytona 500), Kevin Harvick (Phoenix) and
 Brad  Keselowski (Las  Vegas) as  those drivers  who have  all but  guaranteed
 themselves a berth in this year's Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.
 
 "I  guess I'm  part of a group of guys  that can go have some fun and focus on
 the  final 10  races to get to  this championship," Edwards said. "I've been a
 little bit jealous of those guys who have wins this early in the season. I was
 thinking,  'I  can't imagine what  it must be  like to be  able to come to the
 racetrack  like this and  have all that pressure off of you.' So now we'll get
 to go have some fun. I'm really excited about the next 22 races."
 
 Stenhouse,  who was the rookie of the year in Sprint Cup last year, finished a
 career-best  second.  Stenhouse, Aric  Almirola  and  Denny Hamlin,  the  pole
 sitter, also did not pit during the final round of stops.
 
 "We  stayed out  there and kept our  track position and ended up second, so it
 was  cool  to have a one-two  finish for Roush Fenway this weekend," Stenhouse
 said.
 
 Almirola's third-place run was his best finish in the series as well.
 
 "It's  frustrating because I had one shot to race Carl for the lead, and these
 races  are so  hard to win," Almirola  said. "I'm not disappointed at all with
 third,  but  when you  see it and  you can  taste it and  it's that close, you
 wonder what could have went different."
 
 Tony  Stewart  was fourth, and  Marcos Ambrose,  who is Almirola's teammate at
 Richard Petty Motorsports, crossed the line in fifth.
 
 Ford claimed four of the top-five finishing positions.
 
 "Huge  day for Ford," Edwards said. "People were talking a lot about how Fords
 are  running so great on Friday, and it wasn't our Fords. It was not our Roush
 Fenway  Fords.  We've been struggling  lately, and for us  to come out of here
 with a win and to run so well with a number of the Fords out of our shop, that
 was big."
 
 Matt  Kenseth, who won  at Bristol last August, led the most laps with 165. He
 was  leading the  way when the race  was stopped after 124 laps were completed
 because  of  inclement weather.  The second  rain delay lasted  3 hours and 19
 minutes,  and the event  resumed under the lights at 7:15 p.m. local time. The
 start  of the race came roughly 1 hour and 45 minutes after its scheduled time
 of 1:15 p.m.
 
 On  lap 156, Cole  Whitt and Danica Patrick got together and made contact with
 the wall. After the caution lights came on, Timmy Hill did not slow enough and
 drilled  into  the back  of Kenseth, who  was running second  at the time. The
 front  end of Hill's car was severely damaged, while Kenseth sustained minimal
 damage  to rear  of his vehicle, forcing  him to pit multiple times during the
 caution and dropping him to 29th in the field.
 
 "This  place,  things happen really  quick," Hill said.  "I saw the 26 [Whitt]
 spin  down in turns  1 and 2, but by the time I got the communication info, it
 was  too late. I  was on the brakes hard, and everybody was checking up. I got
 right into the back of the 20 [Kenseth]. It was just a late call, and I didn't
 have any reaction time. It's all on me."
 
 Kenseth  rebounded  nicely and grabbed  the lead again  after a restart on lap
 285.  While running in  third with just under 100 laps to go, Kenseth slid two
 separate  times  and brushed  the wall.  He had  dropped to  13th and ended up
 finishing in that position.
 
 Hamlin finished sixth, followed by Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne, who won this race
 one year ago, Brian Vickers and rookie Kyle Larson.
 
 After  placing either  first or  second in  the first  three races,  Earnhardt
 finished 24th, one lap behind. Keselowski moved into the points lead following
 his 14th-place run, while Earnhardt trails Keselowski by 10 points.
 
 03/17 00:11:53 ET

TEST CONTENT