(May 21, 2011)
CONCORD, N.C. — Carl Edwards led every lap of the final 10-lap segment and pulled away from Kyle Busch to win his first Sprint All-Star Race and the $1-million prize that goes with it.
First out of the pits for a restart on Lap 91 of 100—after a mandatory four-tire stop—Edwards finished .443 seconds ahead of Busch to become the eighth different winner of the All-Star Race in the last eight years.
David Reutimann ran third, followed by Tony Stewart and Greg Biffle. Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin, David Ragan, Kevin Harvick and Ryan Newman completed the top 10.
Biffle passed Busch on Lap 4 and held the top spot throughout the remainder of the first 50-lap segment. All cars were required to make green-flag pit stops for four tires after completing Lap 25, but that didn’t affect the running order.
Biffle was first off pit road, followed by Edwards and Busch, and that’s the way they ran when NASCAR threw the halftime caution after Lap 50. After a two-tire call, Edwards was first off pit road and led the field to the green flag to start the second segment, a 20-lap run.
Edwards had pulled away from the action behind him when Kasey Kahne’s collision with the Turn 1 wall brought out the second caution. Eight cars from 11th on back, including Dale Earnhardt, Clint Bowyer and Harvick, came to the pits under caution, setting up divergent strategies as the race progressed toward its conclusion.
Jimmie Johnson took the lead after the restart on Lap 63, but Edwards regained the top position with a pass of Johnson on Lap 69 and held the point when NASCAR threw the scheduled caution after Lap 70 to end the second segment.
Again strategies diverged, as Edwards, Busch, Jeff Gordon, Biffle, Stewart and Hamlin remained on the track while Johnson led a larger group of cars to the pits under the yellow.
Edwards restarted in the lead on Lap 71, only to see Busch and Gordon surge past him on the restart. Johnson fell back after a two-tire stop and returned to the pits on Lap 76, after Regan Smith’s spin off Turn 2 caused the fourth caution.
Busch pulled away after a restart on Lap 79, but Edwards gradually tracked him down, clearing Busch for lead in Turn 3 on Lap 86. Edwards held the top spot, with Busch, Biffle, Stewart and Hamlin behind him when NASCAR called the scheduled caution after 90 laps, signaling a 10-minute break before the final 10-lap dash.