BRISTOL, Tenn. — If two rain delays totaling more than five hours weren't enough, the water-logged race at Bristol Motor Speedway had a battery fly out of a car and spread a toilet paper-looking substance all over the track.
And that wasn't even the strangest occurrence Sunday.
Moments before Carl Edwards closed in on what should have been the white flag lap, the caution lights were accidentally turned on from the flag stand. As NASCAR tried to figure out what was going on, the sky opened up and prevented the race from resuming.
Edwards was awarded the win under caution — a victory he was headed to before the mishap — and celebrated his third career win at Bristol with his trademark backflip on the slick concrete.
"Oh, man, I thought, 'This is stupid. I shouldn't do this. ... It's awfully glossy. It might be slick,'" he said. "I didn't want to stick it perfectly and have my feet go that way and break my arm on the concrete. That would have been terrible. I was actually really nervous about that."
NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said a person in the flag stand leaned on the manual override switch and that turned on the caution lights. Six seconds after the lights were turned on, the flag man waved the yellow flag.
Pemberton said that the flag man can wave the caution flag without a call from series officials in the tower if they see a proper reason.
"We were scanning cars and spotters, and there's some of us in the tower that only heard it after the teams were talking about it because we were looking at other things around the racetrack," Pemberton said.
Said Edwards: "No harm, no foul, let's act like it just didn't happen."
The victory makes Edwards the fourth winner in four races this season and, under NASCAR's new rules, is supposed to get him into the 16-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.
"Just to have a win this early, man, it is a huge relief," he said.