Rain Helps Carl Edwards Win the Race in Texas, and a Ticket To NASCAR Homestead-Miami Finale

AAA Texas 500 ends 40 laps short of the scheduled finish.

Jerry Markland for Getty Images

Rain delayed the actual start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup AAA Texas 500 Sunday – they ran some laps under caution before they turned the field loose – and rain ended the race at about 11:10 p.m. ET, with Carl Edwards the lucky driver who was out front when the race ended 40 laps short.

Not that Edwards, driver of the number 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota didn’t deserve it, but Penske driver Joey Logano, in a Ford, was on his tail.

Impressive run for Edwards, because he came to the Texas Motor Speedway eighth out of the eight finalists for the season championship. Only four of the eight drivers will run for the title at Homestead-Miami Speedway in two weeks, with next week’s race in Phoenix being the decider for those final four.

There are two ways to make that field of four – win a race, or outpoint the drivers who didn’t win a race. Last week Hendrick Chevrolet driver Jimmie Johnson punched his ticket for the championship run with a win at Martinsville, and tonight he was joined by Edwards. Presently Logano is third in points, just ahead of Kyle Busch. If it stays that way, it would be a Chevrolet, a Toyota, a Ford and another Toyota running for the championship.

But only Edwards and Johnson are guaranteed a spot. Fifth through eighth are Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick and a distant Kurt Busch all have a shot, but Kurt Busch pretty much needs to win Phoenix, and Kenseth, Hamlin and Harvick all need stellar performances next week to advance.

Edwards, who hasn’t won since April, said the Joe Gibbs team – Edwards, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch – will present “a unified front,” especially after a Joe Gibbs-and-drivers-only meeting at the track this weekend. “I have the best teammates in the business,” he said. “I’m a better driver because of those three guys.”

Edwards said he supports those three teammates, but he doesn’t plan to do anything unusual to help them make the chase. Not surprising: At Roush, Edwards was never particularly known as a team player, and he still isn’t, but there’s a very good chance that the final four at Homestead will be Jimmie Johnson and three Gibbs drivers.

“Next week will be a battle,” Gibbs said. “I think the fans are going to love it.”