NASCAR's warriors battled the high banks, the challenges and each other in Sunday's Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway clashing on the legendary high banks of the Last Great Colosseum.

When the checkered waved under the lights of the famed bullring, it was Carl Edwards flipping his way to victory.

"It's just an awesome night," said the three-time Bristol winner. "We're in the Chase, and we're gonna go win this championship. I just can't believe we turned things around. We were terrible on Saturday, so I'm just glad we turned it around."

Finishing ahead of Rookie-of-the-Year candidate Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Aric Almirola, the Ford Fusion driver admitted concern when a track light malfunction brought out the caution in the closing laps.

"I knew what Ricky was thinking. It was going to be a battle (if it went back green)," said Edwards. "I have a feeling the way I envisioned it in my mind knowing Ricky, probably neither one of us would have made it back to the start-finish line. It could have been that ugly. Aric [Almirola] probably would have been in a really good spot."

Almirola followed Stenhouse Jr. across the stripe to round out the top three and record his career-best Bristol finish.

"It was a great day for us and I'm not disappointed at all with third, but when you see it and you can taste it and it's that close, you wonder what could've gone different," Almirola said in his post-race remarks. "If our car would have taken off a little bit better, things might have gone different, but, all in all, it was a great day."

Tony Stewart finished fourth in his return to Bristol and Marcos Ambrose rounded out the top five.