AVONDALE, Ariz. — Carl Edwards climbed from his car, stood on the door, and landed a backflip near the finish line. He then hopped up on the wall in front of the grandstand, grabbed the checkered flag, and waded into the crowd, trading high-fives with fans.
After a miserable week at Daytona, Edwards had plenty to celebrate.
That it came at Phoenix International Raceway only seemed fitting.
Coming through on his promise to dominate after his Daytona disaster, Edwards pulled away on a late restart and snapped a 70-race winless streak Sunday, the second long drought he’s ended at Phoenix.
‘‘This win feels as good or better as any win I’ve ever had,’’ Edwards said.
Edwards had a rough 2012 season, missing the Chase for the championship. His downward spiral continued at Daytona, where he wrecked five cars. On his way out of Florida, Edwards said he was ready to dominate and win at Phoenix.
He did just that, leading the final 78 laps on the 312-lap race around PIR’s odd-shaped oval in the first non-restrictor-plate race with NASCAR’s new Gen-6 car.
Edwards got a good push from defending Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski on the restart with two laps left and pulled away from there, winning for the first time since Las Vegas in 2011.
‘‘I’m sure it’s a relief for someone like Carl,’’ said Denny Hamlin, who finished third and had a long winless streak end at Phoenix last year. ‘‘He’s now relevant again, he really is, and it’s a good sign for their race team for things to come.’’
The big duel came behind Edwards. Despite struggling with his car most of the day, Hamlin made a bold move on the last lap with a pass on the apron below the dogleg. He popped up alongside Daytona 500 winner Jimmie Johnson and the two drag-raced to the finish, where Johnson edged him by a few inches.
Keselowski, who was outside Johnson during Hamlin’s move, finished fourth and Dale Earnhardt Jr. ended up fifth.
Inside his car, Mark Martin failed in his bid to become the oldest Sprint Cup winner.
The 54-year-old became the second-oldest driver to start on the pole in a Sprint Cup car, a few months short of Harry Gant’s mark. Martin led the first 49 laps and 26 more later on, but couldn’t sustain it, finishing 21st.
‘‘Obviously, it’s a disappointing result for a great effort on the weekend,’’ Martin said. ‘‘The car was pretty fast, but we had multiple problems today.’’
So did Danica Patrick, who had a rough follow-up to her breakthrough week at the Daytona 500. Patrick became the first woman to win a pole and lead green-flag laps during NASCAR’s season opener, sending her popularity to a new level.
But she couldn’t stay with the leaders at Phoenix, ending her day with one of the hardest hits of her career.
It happened with about 100 laps left, when the right front tire on Patrick’s No. 10 Chevrolet went down and slammed her into the wall. Patrick’s car careened back into David Ragan, flipping her hood over the windshield, and shredding the left front fender as protective foam from the driver’s side door flew onto the track.
She came to a stop along the inside wall with a trail of debris covering about half the home straightaway behind her. She climbed from the car and was quickly cleared by the medical center.