Just as crew chief Mike Beam predicted he would, however, Edwards caught Stenhouse in the closing laps, passed his teammate on Lap 117 of 125 and pulled away to win his fourth NASCAR Nationwide Series race of the season and the 33rd of his career.
“Ricky drove his heart out—that guy is unbelievable,” Edwards said in victory lane. “I didn’t think I was going to be able to get him, but it was like his car got tightened up. Man, he did a good job. … I thought Ricky was setting sail.
“I didn’t think I was going to be able to catch him. His car, I don’t think, was balanced as well as mine was, and he was somehow making it go that fast. So he’s someone I’m a little nervous about for the future.”
Stenhouse held on to second place, crossing the finish line 1.669 seconds behind Edwards, and took the lead in the series standings by two points over eighth-place finisher Elliott Sadler. Kyle Busch won a heated battle against polesitter Paul Menard for the third position, with Menard rolling across the stripe in fourth and Trevor Bayne fifth.
To Stenhouse, whose car picked up a push after about 15 green-flag laps, the race was instructive. Going forward, Stenhouse plans to place more emphasis on practice.
“We’re right there where we need to be—we’ve just got to cap it off,” said Stenhouse, 23, who picked up his first Nationwide win last month at Iowa. “We’ve got to get a little bit better. I think Carl’s a little bit better at practice, getting his car where it needs to be.
“It takes us a little bit to get it going throughout the race, so we’re going to have to work on that. I think that’s something I’m going to have to do. It’s frustrating running second, but to have Ford running 1-2 up here in Michigan is a good deal for us.”
Edwards had stretched his lead to one second over Stenhouse when NASCAR called a caution on Lap 93 after Aric Almirola spun in Turn 2. Mark Martin, however, was on pit road when the caution flag came out and inherited the top spot when the rest of the lead-lap cars came to the pits under caution.
After the restart on Lap 101, Edwards quickly dispatched Martin, with Busch following into second position. But Stenhouse soon grabbed second from Busch and quickly tracked down Edwards, passing him for the lead on Lap 104.