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NASCAR SUNDAY: Edwards passes Ambrose on last lap to win Montreal

MONTREAL - Carl Edwards was as shocked as anyone.

"I can't believe I won the race," Edwards said Sunday after making a stunning pass of Marcos Ambrose on the final turn of the Nationwide race at Montreal. "I just figured he'd take off and run away with it. I guess that goes to show you never give up."

It was another lost opportunity at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for Ambrose, who has had a chance to win all three Nationwide races conducted on the street circuit since NASCAR began racing here in 2007.

The despair was real on a day that started in sunshine and turned to gloom.

"I just made a mistake at the end there and lost the race," Ambrose said. "I feel pretty devastated."

Edwards couldn't believe what happened because Ambrose led 60 laps over the 14-turn, 2.7-mile course - including 31 in a row before the rain moved in for the second straight year.

Still, the hard-charging Tasmanian figured to be a lock since he grew up racing in the rain. But after overcoming restart after restart in the crash-filled event, Ambrose slipped up at the wrong time.

Edwards won a two-lap sprint to the finish on a track that was both wet and dry in spots from a light rain, making up more than a second on the final lap. Edwards began to close fast on Ambrose entering turn 10, a right-handed hairpin, and that gave Edwards renewed hope.

"I drove a little bit deeper than him and I caught him, and that surprised me," Edwards said. "I didn't think I'd catch him in that corner, but I had the benefit of watching his car. He was kind of out there flying. Once I got to him, we came off turn 10, he was spinning the tires, and I thought I might have him."

Seconds later, Ambrose slid sideways after hitting the rumble strips in turn 14. Edwards slipped past and outraced him down the final straightaway.

"That was an amazing gift," Edwards said. "Marcos just made that one mistake that gave me a chance to get by. The difference was the tires and the way the track was changing. As soon as it gets dry, there's so much more grip, and there were places out there I saw that had a little more grip. Maybe I could just see better through my windshield."

Ambrose survived three other restarts in the final 12 laps of the race, which was plagued by 11 cautions. The race went two extra laps and lasted 3 hours, 49 minutes, 19 seconds, the longest in Nationwide Series history. The Gateway 300 in 1997 lasted 3:48.25.

Ambrose was out to right what went wrong in the previous two Nationwide races at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. In 2007 he led 37 laps and was challenging for the win before he was spun out by Robby Gordon and finished seventh.

Last year in the rain, Ambrose led 27 laps but was caught speeding on pit road late in the race and Ron Fellows won the rain-shortened event, the first points race in NASCAR history to be run on rain tires.

It was the third win of the year and 23rd in his Nationwide career for Edwards, who moved within 192 points of series leader Kyle Busch.

NASCAR Canadian Tire Series star Andrew Ranger was third. Former Formula One star Jacques Villeneuve finished fourth on the track named for his father, and Brad Keselowski was fifth. Busch went from fourth to 10th on the final two laps.

Ambrose started from the pole, but everything changed when the rain moved in. The race was halted at the end of lap 61 so the teams could switch to rain tires, slap on windshield wipers, and hook up brake lights.

The race resumed on lap 64 with the street course damp but with no standing water like a year ago. Ambrose quickly cleared the second-place car of Ranger. Edwards then tangled with Ranger and Busch slipped past both for second, with Edwards and Ranger right behind.

Ambrose had a 2.8-second lead after the first time around, but the ninth caution of the race, for debris, erased that margin on the next lap.

Ambrose again assumed control when the race went green on lap 68, but several cars spun out before the 31 cars remaining in the race made a complete trip around. That brought out caution No. 10, six more than last year's race and twice as many as 2007.

Ambrose easily drew clear on the restart on lap 71 and Ranger passed Busch for second. But Steven Wallace set up the two-lap dash to the finish when he made contact with Victor Gonzalez Jr. and slid sideways into a big pack of cars in the second turn to bring out the race-changing final caution.