Avondale, AZ (Sports Network) - Carl Edwards ended a two-year winless streak in the Sprint Cup Series with a victory in Sunday's Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.
Edwards conserved enough fuel late in the race and then held off Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski during a green-white-checkered finish to claim his 20th career victory in NASCAR's premier series. His last win came in March 2011 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (70 races ago). The series will compete there next weekend.
After taking the checkered flag, Edwards did his long-awaited celebratory backflip from his No. 99 Roush Fenway Ford at the start/finish line and then headed to the grandstands to celebrate with the race fans.
Johnson, who won the Daytona 500 one week ago, beat Hamlin to the finish line by inches to take the second spot. Hamlin was running fourth on the final lap but drove down onto the apron of the track and attempted to pass Johnson and Keselowski for position. He ended up settling for third, while Keselowski, the defending series champion, placed fourth. Dale Earnhardt Jr. led in the late going but faded during the closing laps to take the fifth spot.
Danica Patrick finished 39th after being involved in a hard crash on lap 185. Patrick blew a right-front tire coming out of turn 4 and slammed into the outside wall before she dropped down the track and collected David Ragan. She was not injured but parts and pieces from her car were littered throughout the frontstretch.
Patrick began her rookie season in Sprint Cup by starting on the pole and finishing eighth in the Daytona 500.