Carl Edwards claimed his first NASCAR Nationwide Series victory of the season at the Milwaukee Mile on Saturday night.
After starting form the back of the field, the former series champion passed Kyle Busch with 45 laps to go and dominated the rest of the event.
Edwards' long journey to his first NASCAR victory of the season started on the west coast of the United States where he practiced his Sprint Cup Series car in preparation for Sunday's race at Sonoma.
Once his Cup duties were over after noon, he flew 1,858 miles to Milwaukee, took a helicopter to the track and jumped in his Nationwide Series car, which had been set up in practice by Colin Braun, who qualified it 11th.
From the back of the pack Edwards drove systematically up to the front until catching Busch, who had also taken the green flag from the rear, having followed a similar journey from California.
On lap 206 the Roush Fenway driver dived up the inside of his title rival and there was little the Joe Gibbs racer was able to do to prevent Edwards from taking the lead and pulling away.
Last year at Milwaukee Edwards took the first of a total seven Nationwide Series victories during the season, something he expects to be able to repeat.
"I'm not going to lie, that felt really good," said Edwards of finally getting his first win of the season and beating the most dominant driver of the year. "It's been a while since we won a race. We started up here last season and it's just almost too good to be true. Hopefully, the rest of the season goes like the rest of last season did."
Busch ended up disappointed with second place, despite having a good day in terms of his championship hopes. The 24-year-old claimed the lead for the first time during the first caution period of the day when all the leaders pitted for fuel and tires.
After that he led for 80 laps, and eventually went on to make it eight consecutive races with the most laps spent at the front of the pack. However he struggled with the balance of his car following his last stop, even dropping down to third behind Edwards' teammate Erik Darnell.
The pair had a close battle in the closing stages, which Busch was able to resolve in his favor eventually.
"This is just what we do, we come here to finish second," Busch said. "We had no battle today. [Edwards] just drove by me. The car was fine but just not good enough. Unfortunately we didn't win tonight. We'll go on next week."
Darnell not only lost second but also third place in the end, when Brad Keselowski overtook him on the last lap. He had dominated most of the first part of the race after starting from pole and although he looked capable of a better result, a fourth-place finish was still good in what was just his sixth Nationwide Series start.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was also strong in the third Roush Fenway Ford, leading a total of 49 laps, most of them in the first half of the race. The 21-year-old scored his first top five in just his fourth start in the series.
Edwards' win allowed him to narrow the gap to Busch in the championship just slightly down to 127 points.RESULTS:
Pos Driver Car Laps
1. Carl Edwards Ford 250
2. Kyle Busch Toyota 250
3. Brad Keselowski Chevrolet 250
4. Erik Darnell Ford 250
5. Ricky Stenhouse Jr Ford 250
6. Steve Wallace Chevrolet 250
7. Mike Bliss Chevrolet 250
8. Stephen Leicht Chevrolet 250
9. Ron Hornaday Chevrolet 250
10. Jason Leffler Toyota 250
11. Aric Almirola Chevrolet 250
12. Trevor Bayne Toyota 249
13. Brendan Gaughan Chevrolet 249
14. Michael McDowell Toyota 249
15. Peyton Sellers Chevrolet 249
16. Scott Lagasse Jr Toyota 249
17. Justin Allgaier Dodge 249
18. Scott Wimmer Chevrolet 249
19. Bobby Hamilton Jr Dodge 249
20. Jason Keller Ford 248
21. Tony Raines Chevrolet 248
22. Burney Lamar Toyota 248
23. Shelby Howard Chevrolet 248
24. Brad Coleman Toyota 247
25. Casey Atwood Chevrolet 247
26. Ken Butler III Chevrolet 247
27. Danny O'Quinn Jr Chevrolet 247
28. Michael Annett Toyota 246
29. Travis Kittleson Chevrolet 245
30. Brandon Whitt Ford 245
31. Brian Keselowski Dodge 243
32. Eric McClure Ford 237
33. Kenny Wallace Chevrolet 224
34. Mike Harmon Chevrolet 213
35. Mark Green Chevrolet 30
36. Kelly Bires Toyota 16
37. JC Stout Chevrolet 10
38. Chad Blount Chevrolet 8
39. Terry Cook Chevrolet 5
40. Derrike Cope Dodge 4
41. Dennis Setzer Dodge 4
42. Kertus Davis Chevrolet 3
43. Johnny Chapman Chevrolet 2