(BRISTOL, Tenn.) — After enduring more than five hours of rain delays, Carl Edwards won his first race of 2014 season, taking the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday. The race was delayed for almost two hours before starting and was red-flagged at Lap 124. Following a three-plus hour delay, racing resumed.
A risky move ended up paying off for Edwards during the latter stages of the race. With 77 laps remaining, a caution flag came out. Crew chief Jimmy Fennig told Edwards to stay out of the course when pit road opened.
“I thought when Jimmy said we’re going to stay out, I thought, ‘Well, that’s a good idea,'” Edwards said following the win. “And then nobody stayed out around us, and I thought, ‘Oh boy, that might not be the greatest thing.’ It turned out to be perfect.”
There was a bit of controversy when the caution lights inadvertently came on before the final lap. NASCAR said after that someone in the flag stand accidentally triggered the lights. With the rain starting again, the race was declared over after Edwards coasted over the finish line.
Edwards now has a better chance to qualify for the “Chase for the Cup”, NASCAR’s postseason, and is the fourth driver to win a single race through the first four weeks of the year.
“We’re in the Chase and we’re going to go win this championship,” said Edwards.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
Jill Martin, CNN