NATIONWIDE Hefty Odor Blocker 200

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Edwards wins Nationwide race in Phoenix

Nov 9, 2008 - 2:34 AM PHOENIX (Ticker) -- Carl Edwards did everything he could Saturday to close in on a second straight Nationwide Series championship.

Edwards held off Denny Hamlin on a green-white-checkered finish to win the Hefty Odor Block 200 at Phoenix International Raceway.

With his career-best sixth win of the season, Edwards pulled within 56 points of Clint Bowyer with one race left. Edward's last chance to pass Bowyer in the standings is next week at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

"If we run like we've been running and we perform as well as we have and (crew chief) Drew (Blickensderfer) makes the decisions that he's been making, we can close 56 points without Clint having trouble," Edwards said. "They just have to have a little bit of an off day."

Edwards picked up some much-needed bonus points by leading the most laps. He led 78 of the 201 laps at the 1-mile tri-oval.

"We needed this today," Edwards said. "We needed to win this race. We needed to lead the most laps. I'm really proud of how my guys performed."

The 29-year-old Edwards, who now has 19 career Nationwide Series victories, dominated the second half of the race. After a late caution cost him his commanding lead, Edwards managed to hold off a hard-charging Hamlin over the last two laps.

"We were beside him at the finish," Hamlin said. "I was pretty confident. You have to pass every car smooth after the restart. You have to have every opening and everything. We had an opportunity and came up short. It was still a great run."

While Edwards was dominant, Bowyer had crashed and raced with a damaged front end. He still came away with a fourth-place finish.

Kevin Harvick finished third behind Hamlin and Kyle Busch rounded out the top five.

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