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Edwards snaps winless streak with Michigan victory

Carl Edwards makes a pit stop during the Citizens Bank 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Edwards won the race.
Carl Edwards makes a pit stop during the Citizens Bank 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Edwards won the race.

BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Carl Edwards snapped a 52-race Nextel Cup winless streak Sunday by holding off Martin Truex Jr. at Michigan International Speedway.

"Is it really over?" Edwards excitedly asked his crew as he closed in on the finish line.

It was, as Edwards handily beat Truex to the line to grab his first win since Nov. 11, 2005, at Texas. He celebrated his fifth career Nextel Cup win with his trademark backflip off the window ledge of his car.

He then gleefully took a pair of scissors to team member Tom Giacchi's shaggy beard, clipping off a chunk of hair that had been growing since the two vowed in late 2005 that Giacchi wouldn't shave until Edwards' next win.

The victory gave car owner Jack Roush his second win of the season -- first since Matt Kenseth won Feb. 25 at California -- and temporarily snapped Hendrick Motorsports' season-long domination. Hendrick cars have won 10 of the 15 races this season.

Roush, who lives in nearby Livonia, makes winning at Michigan a priority for all his drivers and he celebrated twice this weekend -- Travis Kvapil also won the Truck Series race Saturday.

Edwards' victory was only the second of the year for Ford, and it snapped a 13-race winning streak for Chevrolet. No other manufacturer has won a race this season.

Truex, who had his first victory two weeks ago at Dover, finished second after overcoming a spin on the backstretch 100 laps into the race. Truex, who led 54 laps before the early spin, hasn't finished lower than third the past three races and has climbed to 10th in the series standings.

He had plenty of praise for his Dale Earnhardt Inc. team after the race.

"It was a great day for us," he said. "The team did another awesome job. I think it was the best pit stops we've ever had on pit road. Awesome race car, and probably the best engine I've ever had. Guys are doing great, man, and I'm loving life right now."

Two-time series champion Tony Stewart, winless this season, was third. Stewart had a strong car in practice Saturday, but an accident with David Gilliland caused heavy damage and he wasn't sure how good his car would be during the race.

He was supposed to start 41st, but deliberately hung back at the green flag to fall into 43rd place at the start.

"With what happened (in practice) and where we qualified, it was two strikes against us," Stewart said. "I made sure I went across the start-finish line in 43rd, so wherever we ended up I could say we went from dead last. From 43rd to third is a pretty good day."

Casey Mears, on a roll since his first career win on May 27, was fourth and the highest finishing Hendrick driver.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was fifth to give DEI two cars in the top five, and the showing moved him into Chase for the championship contention. He's 12th in the standings -- where he was before a 100-point penalty last month knocked him down to 14th -- and is trying to end his time at DEI on top.

Earnhardt, who agreed to a five-year deal this week to drive for Hendrick Motorsports starting next season, congratulated Truex, his teammate.

"Martin did good, he did such a good job today. That team has found something -- I might sneak over there and find out what it is," Earnhardt said. "We had a good car. We were as good as anybody at the end of the race, just ran out of laps."

Kyle Busch, who is losing his ride at Hendrick to make room for Earnhardt, was sixth and was followed by Kevin Harvick, Jamie McMurray and series points leader Jeff Gordon, who was ninth and the last driver on the lead lap.

Michael Waltrip, racing for just the third time this season, was a surprising 10th and even led one lap. He was with the leaders most of the race, and was lapped with one lap to go.

"It's just a great, great feeling to run that well," said Waltrip, who has failed to qualify 12 times this season.

"Overall, I'm very pleased. My guys are rusty, but you'd never know it. It was a hot day and I hadn't got to race this much, but I felt just as good at the end as I did in the beginning.

"When the checkered fell then I felt hot, tired and glad it was over."

Defending series champion Jimmie Johnson had been running in third, but ran out of gas seven laps from the finish and wound up 19th.

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