Carl Edwards did what he had hoped to do, leading the opening lap of the Ford 400 and picking up a bonus point for leading a lap. He proceeded to lead the opening 13 laps before the caution flew for a brief rain shower.
While Edwards was leading, there was drama for his championship rival Tony Stewart. The grille of Stewart's Chevrolet was damaged in the opening stint of the race, forcing the team to make multiple pit stops to replace it. Stewart had to restart from the rear of the field as consequence.
The damage to Stewart's grill possibly could have come from the driveshaft of Kurt Busch's car, which broke spectacularly in the race's opening laps and forced Busch to the garage. ESPN's television cameras caught Busch flashing an obscene gesture at someone as he pulled his stricken Dodge behind the wall.
Early on, Martin Truex Jr. and Dale Earnhardt Jr. are showing strength as potential contenders to win the race. Truex hasn't won since 2007 and his seeking his second career win, while Earnhardt is trying to snap a 128-race winless streak dating to June 2008.