JOLIET, Ill. -- With the finish line coming fast on the final lap, Justin Allgaier saw Carl Edwards' car start to wobble as it ran out of fuel. And that's when Allgaier knew he would be able to get around him.
Allgaier made his move for the lead coming into the third turn and once he got by, his tank was empty, too. Somehow the momentum from having just a little bit more fuel allowed Allgaier to coast to the finish line Saturday night with Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne closing fast on both cars.
It was the only time Allgaier led all night at his hometown track, the Chicagoland Speedway. What a way to get his second career victory in the Nationwide Series, by winning the STP 300.
"I didn't know if we had enough time to get by him or not," said Allgaier, a native of Riverton. "He started wiggling pretty good and I knew he must have been out, so I got a big grin on my face ear-to-ear and turned left and as soon as I got even with him, mine ran out of fuel. I had just a little bit more momentum. I had probably an extra 100 feet of being on the throttle and not having the gas go."
Edwards, the points leader in the Sprint Cup series, thought he had enough fuel left to make it.
"With about five or six to go Justin really started coming so I just laid it down and started going," Edwards said.
Edwards said his initial reaction was to try to block Allgaier but then realized that might cause a wreck.
"As he went by me, he ran out of fuel, too, so if I could have gone just a little farther, literally 100 feet farther or 150 feet, I think we would have won the race," Edwards said. "They deserved it. They played the strategy better. But man that was tough to roll across that line with the engine shut off and just watch the car in front of you rolling, too. Another second of fuel it would have been a different story."
And what a story Bayne was in his first race since April 23 following a mysterious illness. He just couldn't quite catch Allgaier and Edwards, even after they ran out of gas.
"You know sitting there I was thinking as we were catching them at the line when they were out of gas, I'm like `Man, I should have started going six laps earlier," Bayne said.
"It was an awesome day for us, good recovery here."
Bayne spent time at the Mayo Clinic, doctors weren't sure of the causes of the inflammatory condition. Symptoms included impaired vision, fatigue, nausea and initially some numbness in his arm. But he was plenty good Saturday night after starting 31st and working his way up. And then he nearly won the race.
"Like we never left off," he said. "I'm really thankful to be back, where I could be sitting there in the hospital with a patch on my eye seeing two of you," he said. "I'm just thankful to be back and have everything OK."
Rain washed out qualifying and Bayne started 31st based on practice times. He quickly moved up 15 spots in the first 12 laps, passing Danica Patrick on the way. And by lap 20, he was all the way in 12th and then reached 10th on lap 23. On lap 57, the budding star had climbed all the way to sixth, showing that he had lost nothing during his long layoff from racing.
Bayne got to fifth on the 125th lap and then to fourth two laps later after a restart.
Patrick, in her first race since March 19, finished 10th. She started the race in the 16th position.
"To get that finish at a race that I haven't been in a car for a long time was a real positive," she said.
Whether she'll make the jump to NASCAR on a pretty-much full-time basis has been the big question. Patrick has made it known how much she enjoys competing at the Indianapolis 500 where she finished 10th last weekend.
Edwards, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Joe Nemechek earlier in the day were in Kansas City to qualify for Sunday's sprint cup race and then made a little less than an hour flight to compete in the Nationwide race.
Edwards took the lead on the 10th lap from pole sitter Aric Almirola and was ahead for 77 of the first 100 laps.
Sadler passed Edwards on the 152nd lap before Edwards took it back on the 175th. Edwards led for 144 laps on the 1.5-mile oval.
There were 21 lead changes and 12 drivers led, a Chicagoland Speedway record for a Nationwide race.