RICHMOND, Va. - Clint Bowyer had already assured his spot in the Chase for NASCAR's biggest championship, and he looked as if he was about to pad his lead in another one.
Carl Edwards had another idea Sunday night.
Passing Bowyer for the lead with 28 laps to go then pulling away through three restarts the rest of the way, Edwards won for the fourth time this season in the Nationwide Series and cut slightly into Bowyer's prohibitive points lead.
The last restart came with eight laps to go and teammates Scott Wimmer and Bowyer separating Edwards from the fast car of Denny Hamlin, but Edwards easily pulled away.
"I didn't know it was going to be that good," he said of the finish, commending his team's pit work. "They struggled a bit, and then they came back and they were awesome at the end."
Wimmer finished second, Bowyer third and Hamlin was fourth, while Edwards, despite having driven 400 laps in sunshine and 250 more at night, did his traditional back flip to celebrate.
The victory, combined with a bad night for Brad Keselowski, allowed Edwards to climb into second in the points race, but he's still 207 behind Bowyer with just seven races remaining.
Keselowski, who finished 21st, is third, 279 points behind the leader.
For most of the night, Bowyer was running away virtually unchallenged. He took the lead from young sensation Joey Logano after seven laps of the Emerson 250 and dominated thereafter until a slight wiggle on the 228th lap allowed Edwards to slip past him for the lead.
It was the only time he was passed for the lead, and the only one that counted.
"I just got too loose, but I'm not going to let that ruin my day," Bowyer said.
Only hours earlier, he locked down the fifth seed in NASCAR'S 10-race Sprint Cup playoffs with a 12th-place run in the postponed Cup race at Richmond International Raceway.
The race wrapped up a long day of racing at the track, with the Cup race beginning at 1 p.m. and lasting about 3 hours, 15 minutes. Officials then cleared the grandstands before reopening them to Nationwide ticket-holders for the 7 p.m. start. Only about 15,000 came.
The race marked the series debut of prominent Sprint Cup team owner Richard Childress' grandson, Austin Dillon. He started 31st, spun out after 96 laps and finished 26th.