Carl Edwards ended a drought by taking the checkered flag at Phoenix International Raceway. He led the final 78 laps in ending his 70-race winless skid, one week after he wrecked five cars at Daytona.

Jimmie Johnson was the runner-up a week after winning the season-opening Daytona 500. Denny Hamlin was third, followed by Brad Keselowski and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

I would say the driver of the race was Denny Hamlin. Hamlin’s No. 11 car went way low through the dogleg the final time around the 1-mile track, allowing him to pass Brad Keselowski for third place and come within a fender of beating Jimmie Johnson for second.

Carl Edwards may have won the race, but no driver made up more ground in Phoenix than Hamlin, who started at the back because of a post-qualifying engine change yet still managed to be a factor at the end.

One week after becoming the first female pole-sitter and first woman to lead laps in the Daytona 500, Danica Patrick crashed out midway through the second Sprint Cup race of the year and finished 39th. She blew a right front tire and slammed hard into an outside wall while running 26th.

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