By David Morgan, NASCAR Editor
In the spring of 2016, Carl Edwards entered Richmond looking for his second win in a row, while his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Kyle Busch, was looking for his third win in the last four races. By the time all was said and done, the win would come down to those two drivers.
Taking the lead from Edwards with 35 laps to go, Busch looked to have a clear path to victory on the 0.75-mile oval, but as his tires began to give up over the closing laps, Edwards made up a significant amount of ground as the laps wound down, pulling up just behind Busch on the final lap.
Entering Turn 3, it was every man for himself as Edwards applied the bumper to Busch’s car, nudging his teammate up the track and paving the way for him to be able to get past Busch and to the finish line first.
With the pass and the win, Edwards became the first driver in history to pull off a last lap pass for the win at Richmond.
“So, going into the white flag Dave (Rogers, crew chief) said something on the radio basically like, ‘Get your butt in gear and go get him,’ said Edwards. “So, I thought, ‘Heck, I’ll drive down there in turn one really far and it looked like Kyle (Busch), his car got real slow that last lap like his tires were just burnt up. He did a really good job keeping me held at bay ‘til then but then we went down the back straightaway and I saw him spin the tires.
“So, going back down the back straight away I thought, ‘I’m going for the bottom. That’s where I’m going.’ He went down there and just parked it and his car was sliding and I was just so much faster I had to give him a little tap and we got by him. I didn’t think I was going to get him hard enough. I thought it would just be a bump and go but we got the win. We both got wins so it’s just racing hard and having fun. I can’t thank XFINITY enough for being here and being a part of this. It’s really cool.”
While Edwards was ecstatic about the win, Busch had a bit of a different tone once he returned to pit road and emerged from his car.
“It was just racing I guess,” said Busch. “We had a great car. The Banfield Pet Hospital Camry was really good today. We were fast. Maybe not as good as Carl (Edwards) was on the long run but we did everything right. We did everything we were supposed to do and put ourselves in the right position. Adam (Stevens, crew chief) made some awesome adjustments to this car. We lost it there the second to last run and were fading a little bit but the guys gave me an awesome pit stop, got me track position and got us out front and we had a shot to win so that’s all that matters.”
Rounding out the top-10 behind Edwards and Busch would be Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr., and Kurt Busch.