Normally a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver would be upset after starting on the pole for a race, dominating it through the first half, and then having to fight to come back just to finish seventh after a pit-road mistake not of his own doing.
But Carl Edwards appeared to be all smiles after Saturday night's Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, even though he went through all of the above.
The No. 19 Joe Gibb Racing Toyota of Edwards was the fastest car through much of the first half of the race, leading 124 of the first 223 laps before the critical stop that dramatically altered his night. Edwards' race suddenly become much more challenging when his pit crew failed to tighten the lug nights on his right-front tire during a stop, forcing him to come back in under green for another subsequent unscheduled stop on Lap 225.
He went a lap down in the process and Edwards' promising chances for his first victory of the season disappeared in an instant, although he kept on grinding the rest of the night and worked his way all the way up to a respectable seventh by the finish. He fell all the way back to 18th, the last car on the lead lap, after the pit-road incident.
Yet afterward, a smiling Edwards was fully supportive of his pit crew despite the miscue.
"That was the issue. But my guys on pit road, they live on the edge. That's what they do," Edwards told FOX Sports immediately after the race. "They're the fastest on pit road. I don't know if something got stuck behind it (the loose lug nut) or an (equipment) malfunction or what, because those guys never make mistakes.
"But it actually was kind of fun coming back up through there. ... The first half of the race, I wanted it to be shorter; the last half of the race, I wanted it to be longer."