On Friday, Edwards paced the Sprint Cup practice session and won the pole for Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 500 Cup race. On Saturday, Edwards posted the fastest speed in both Cup practice sessions. The only thing Edwards didn’t win was the Nationwide pole.
Edwards started second to Joey Logano but quickly went to the front. He led 153 of 200 laps at the one-mile track en route to his fourth victory of the season and the 29th of his career. The victory was Edwards’ fourth at Phoenix and his second straight in the series.
“This is the best car I’ve ever had in the Nationwide Series,” Edwards radioed to crew chief Mike Beam after the race.
Actually, Edwards ran second in Friday’s first Nationwide practice, too. He sat out the second session to concentrate on his qualifying effort in the Cup car. The lack of practice, however, made no difference in Saturday’s race.
“That was (owner) Jack Roush’s call,” Edwards said of the decision to skip the second Nationwide practice. “I thought about it, but I thought, ‘Man, I don’t have the guts to sit out a whole practice,’ and Mike Beam said, ‘Hey, the car’s good,’ and Jack said it was good, so it let me go focus on our (Cup car) and get the pole there.
“I wouldn’t have imagined this thing would be that fast today. A great day for us. Man, it’s just unbelievable how fast this thing is. After three or four laps, I could do whatever I wanted with it. I’m really blessed to have the crew that I have.”
Logano finished third, followed by 2010 series champion Brad Keselowski and Reed Sorenson. Aric Almirola, Colin Braun, Justin Allgaier, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Steve Wallace completed the top 10. Danica Patrick finished 32nd, seven laps down, in her 12th Nationwide start.
Notes: Cole Whitt finished 15th in his series debut. … Kyle Busch cut a tire during the final 56-lap green-flag run and finished 16th in the No. 18 Toyota. That shrank Joe Gibbs Racing’s lead in the owners’ standings to 41 points over the No. 22 Dodge owned by Roger Penske and driven by Keselowski.