Carl Edwards continued his NASCAR Nationwide Series celebratory flip fest at Phoenix International Raceway where he rolled to his second consecutive victory by an overwhelming 5.210 seconds margin over Kevin Harvick after leading 153 of 200 race laps.
Edwards started second in No. 60 Roush Fenway car next to pole award winner Joey Logano in the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing machine before powering to the lead for the third and final time on Lap 145 when he passed Kyle Busch in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing ride.
Following his 29th career NNS victory, the 2007 series champion Edwards remains on pace to earn his third straight and fourth career runner-up championship finish. He has banked four victories and a total of 19 top-five and 26 top-10 finishes through 34 starts this season.
"This is the best car I've ever had in the Nationwide Series," Edwards relayed over the radio to Crew Chief Mike Beam after the race.
The No. 60 rolled off the hauler so strong that the team did not participate in the second NNS practice session to allow Edwards to focus on NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying. The move paid an extra dividend when he seized the pole award for Sunday's race with a 136.389-mph (26.395 seconds) lap.
"That was Jack Roush's call (to bypass practice). I thought about it, but I thought, 'Man, I don't have the guts to sit out a whole practice.' 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, 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," Edwards said.
Harvick remains sixth in the standings after registering his 16th top-five and 15th top-10 finish of the season.
"The car was really good today, but Carl's car was really good, too. We just got too far behind him as we came through traffic on that restart. The guys had a little trouble on pit road, but did a great job rebounding, which is what you've got to do. Other than that, we had a solid day. You always want to win, but hopefully we can save that for Sunday," Harvick said after taking his 13th top-five NNS finish one the one-mile Phoenix International Raceway oval.
Three-time Kentucky Speedway NNS race and pole award winner Logano finished third and moved from ninth to seventh in the series standings with his 15th top-five and 23rd top-10 showing in his 24th NNS start of the season.
"At the beginning of the race, the car was so, so. I knew Carl was faster and I knew we had work to do. We worked on our car and got it better on the short run, but not as fast as the No. 60. Carl was just really fast. We did everything we could to our car, but just didn't have the speed in it we needed to and we came up a little short," Logano said.
2010 series champion Brad Keselowski nailed down fourth and Reed Sorenson completed the race top five.
The series season finale is Nov. 20 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Race coverage begins at 4:00 p.m., on ESPN2, Motor Racing Network Radio and Sirius XM 128.
Story by Mike Schmaltz