HAMPTON, Ga. (AP) — Carl Edwards looked dominant when he led the first 43 laps from the pole.
He looked even stronger when he came back to win from the back of the lead lap.
The Columbia, Mo. native recovered after a pit-stop penalty early in the race and held off Kyle Busch to win the Nationwide Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday night.
Edwards was penalized for having an air hose move out of his team’s allotted space during a pit stop. He had to move from the lead to 15th at the rear of the lead lap.
He said he wasn’t about to criticize his pit crew because he has had his share of pit-row mistakes that led to penalties.
“Most of the ones I’ve had lately were when I sped,” Edwards said. “When I heard (about the penalty), I thought I had sped again.”
Edwards acknowledged having to move from the lead to 15th at first “kind of takes the wind off your sails.”
He said he tried to turn the penalty into a positive.
“I just tried to look at it as a challenge and something fun,” he said.
“When my car went back in the field I think I learned more about my car than when I was up front.”
Crew chief Mike Beam said “it was nerve-racking there for a while” after the penalty.
“Luckily, there were only about 14 cars on the lead lap, so I knew we had enough time to make it up,” Beam said. “I just thought if we kept our heads straight we could work back to the front.
“Edwards’ win was his sixth of the season and 35th of his career on the Nationwide Series. He has 19 top-10 finishes this year.
There were 21 lead changes, one away from the race record.
Copyright Associated Press