As soon as the green flag dropped, Carl Edwards' car was junk. And no, that's not an exaggeration.
Yet somehow, he finished fifth in Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway.
"I cannot believe we finished fifth," Edwards said. "It feels like a win. That's the best we've done with the worst — the most we've done with a car that wasn't capable of winning ever, so I'm really proud of my guys who made good adjustments."
Edwards started second and quickly slipped outside of the top 10 in a matter of laps. A car that qualified well was racing incredibly poorly and eventually went a lap down, even after an extended pit stop for major changes.
"Well, there's two things that happened," Edwards said. "We had the wrong front suspension settings in the car. [Crew chief Bob Osborne] and I together in practice, we prepared the wrong setup, and they dropped the green and I realized we were in deep trouble. So Bob made adjustments to the setup, made some bigger adjustments than we would normally make, and then we were very fortunate with the late race caution and being able to get two tires and have a shot to run up there through the traffic."
After getting the Lucky Dog on Lap 221, Edwards made his way back through the field, but wasn't able to break back into the top 10. When Jeff Gordon blew up to set up a green-white-checker finish, Edwards stopped for two tires and came out in 10th and blasted his way up to fifth in the final two laps.
That dash included passing sixth-place finisher Kevin Harvick, meaning that Edwards now is by himself at the top of the points standings, a point ahead of Harvick.
"But that last pass of Kevin, that meant a lot," Edwards said. "We both knew it, too. We both knew since we were tied whoever finished first would be ahead one point. That was good that we were able to do that. It'll be nice this week for the guys and everybody at the shop to be leading the points, even though it doesn't mean much. We just talked about [Brad Keselowski] being 11 points back. That can change in a heartbeat."