Carl Edwards made NASCAR history at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday, winning the Golden Corral 500 ¿ his first NEXTEL Cup win ¿ just a day after capturing his first Busch Series win in Saturday¿s Aaron¿s 312.
After celebrating with his now-famous backflip, Edwards continued to charm the world with his aw-shucks charm.
¿This is beyond my wildest dreams, and I¿m enjoying every minute of it,¿ Edwards said. ¿About two and a half years ago, I was working on my dirt car in my garage at home; this is pretty cool. It¿s unbelievable.¿
Edwards was a strong competitor throughout the day, starting fourth and staying in the top 10 throughout the 325-lap race. But it wasn¿t until the final feet of the final lap that Edwards earned his first career NEXTEL Cup win, banging door-to-door with Jimmie Johnson.
At the checkered flag, it was a typical Atlanta photo finish, as .028 seconds separated the two cars. It was Atlanta¿s fourth photo finish in five years. In 2000, Dale Earnhardt beat Bobby Labonte to the line by .010 seconds. The next year, Kevin Harvick bested Jeff Gordon by .006 seconds. And then on Friday, Ron Hornaday outlasted Labonte by .008 seconds in the World Financial Group 200 Craftsman Truck race.
¿Jimmie Johnson is an amazing competitor,¿ Edwards said. ¿I¿ve never driven that hard in my life.¿
When Edwards crossed the finish line, not only did he score a victory at the fastest track on the NASCAR circuit, but also a spot in the Atlanta Motor Speedway history book. Edwards is the first driver to sweep both the NEXTEL Cup and Busch series in a single weekend.
¿I was just on a mission to win races, and I can¿t believe we won two this weekend,¿ Edwards said. ¿I¿m the luckiest guy in the world.¿
Johnson led laps 300 to 324 and seemed to be in clear control until the final two laps, when Edwards was closing quickly. Then he turned his attention to full-throttle blocking.
¿The whole day was a lot of fun,¿ Johnson said. ¿But at the end the No. 99 (Edwards) was really strong. When I came off of Turn 4, all I could see was windshield, so I knew he was coming.¿
Only his first full season in the NEXTEL Cup series, Edwards has already proven himself a worthy competitor.