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2011 Daytona 500: Carl Edwards Places Second, Leads Sprint Cup Points Standings

Carl Edwards placed second behind 20-year-old Trevor Bayne in the 2011 Daytona 500, but he’s taken the lead in the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings anyway—with Bayne taking points in the Nationwide Series, he tops the points standings at 42 following his second-place finish. Bayne, just a day after turning 20, barely managed to hold Edwards off on the race’s final lap. (He’s the youngest by an astounding five years to win the race; Jeff Gordon was 25 in 1997.)

After a number of crashes early the race ended in something of a toss-up. Other points standings winners include David Gililand and Bobby Labonte, who net 41; Kurt Busch, who picks up 40; Juan Montoya, who places fifth, with 39; and Tony Stewart and Regan Smith, who have 37.

Edwards’s highest finish in the Daytona 500 before this afternoon was ninth, in last year’s race; in the past he’s placed anywhere between 12th and 43d in the Daytona 500 of stock-car racing. His newfound maturity, according to Sports Illustrated, could mean that this is the first of many strong finishes in the 2011 season.