March 20 in NASCAR History: Carl Edwards’ dramatic first Cup Series win

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The NASCAR world got introduced to Carl Edwards in a big way in March 2005.

In the span of 24 hours, March 19-20, Edwards claimed his first career wins in both the Cup and Xfinity Series.

The wins came in his 17th and and seventh career starts in each series during a race weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The finish in the Cup race was true to form for Atlanta, which was a regular host of dramatic photo finishes in the early 2000s, long before its track surface was worn down into a driver favorite.

The final 44 laps saw Edwards, driving Roush Fenway Racing’s No. 99 Ford, dueling with future seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson.

(Photo by Bill Gutweiler/Sporting News via Getty Images via Getty Images)

Johnson controlled the lead for 39 laps in that stretch while Edwards led the remaining five, including the final one.

Using the high line, Edwards chased down Johnson before pouncing in Turn 4 as they came to the checkered flag.

Edwards and Johnson slammed doors as they came through the tri-oval, and Edwards pulled ahead at the final moment to win by .028 seconds.

With the crowd in a frenzy, Edwards capped it off by performing his trademark celebratory backflip from the top of his car.

It was an image fans would get to see 27 more times from Edwards in the Cup Series, including the following October as he completed a sweep of the Atlanta races. Edwards was the first driver to sweep the Cup and Xfinity races at Atlanta in one weekend.

“Let me tell you Jimmie Johnson is an amazing competitor,” Edwards told Fox in victory lane. “I’m telling you I’ve never driven that hard in my life.”