GLADEVILLE, Tenn. — Carl Edwards was coming in for his post-race news conference when a race official remarked that he now has enough guitars to start a band.
Edwards, a Columbia native, certainly hit all the right notes Saturday to capture his fifth career victory at Nashville Superspeedway, holding off Kyle Busch to win the Nashville 300 and receive another of the guitars given to winners at the track.
Columbia native Carl Edwards leads NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series, which was idle this weekend. He has 295 points and is trailed in the standings by Jimmie Johnson (5 points back) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (19 points back).
"We'll need a drummer," Edwards joked.
Edwards set the pace for much of the Nationwide race at the track, where he has won four Nationwide events and one Trucks Series race. He led 148 of the 225 laps and passed Busch on lap 191 to take the lead for good. On the final lap, Edwards weaved past a slower car and held Busch at bay as he took the checkered flag.
Edwards said the finish was more of a struggle than it appeared.
"Early in the race, our car was really superior," he said. "I could kind of stretch out a lead whenever I wanted to, but at the end of the race, I was really pedaling for all I had. The guys in the 18 (Busch) ... did a good job of adjusting their car.
"It was kind of exciting at the beginning of the race. I thought we were going to run off with this thing, it's going to be easy, but (at the end) that was white-knuckling, driving as hard as I could drive, racing him and Brad (Keselowski)."
Keselowski, a two-time winner in Nashville, finished third, edging polesitter Joey Logano in fourth and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in fifth.
Edwards finished his victory with his trademark back flip and a brief trip to the edge of the grandstands to acknowledge cheering fans. It was Edwards' 31st Nationwide win overall and second of the season, having won two weeks ago at Texas.
Edwards plans to auction the trophy guitar on eBay with the proceeds going to the family of Roush-Fenway Racing employee Jonathan Bunting, who died earlier this week in North Carolina.
Edwards' victory kept Busch from pulling off the first back-to-back wins at the track. Busch had dominated in winning the Trucks race Friday night.
"It was a good race for us. (The car) was fast, just not fast enough. It was off just a little bit in every area, and we could only muster a second today," Busch said.