News & Multimedia

Edwards Claims First Road Course Win at Sonoma

A well-timed caution helped get Carl Edwards to the front of the field, and the driver of the No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford did the rest.

Edwards passed Marcos Ambrose for the lead moments after a restart on Lap 86 and subsequently held off a charging Jeff Gordon to win Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway.

The victory was Edwards' second of the season -- guaranteeing him a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, provided he finishes in the top 30 in points after race No. 26 and attempts to qualify for every race. It was the 23rd win of his career, and first Sprint Cup win on a road course.

Gordon finished second, .591 seconds behind Edwards. The runner-up result was Gordon's fifth at Sonoma, matching his number of victories at the 1.99-mile road course.

The triumph had special meaning for Edwards precisely because it was Gordon who was chasing him to the finish line.

"That's a moment I'll never forget, to be standing in Victory Lane and to have held off Jeff Gordon, with all the success he's had here and in our sport," Edwards said after climbing from his car. "It's just really, really special.

"I'm living proof right here that, whatever it is you're doing, just keep doing it, and don't ever give up, because somehow things can work out. I'm just very fortunate."

Long before he made his Sprint Cup debut in 2004, Edwards had watched Gordon dominate road races at the tricky, technical track in wine country.

"Literally, I'm a fan of this sport, and I grew up watching Jeff Gordon go through those esses and watching how he drove his car, so to be able to hold him off like that means a lot," Edwards said.

"I'm glad there wasn't one or two more laps in the race, because I don't know if it would have worked that way, but it definitely meant a lot to have Jeff Gordon in my mirror."

Dale Earnhardt Jr. ran third, his best-ever road course result, followed by pole winner Jamie McMurray and Paul Menard. Kasey Kahne, Jimmie Johnson, Marcos Ambrose, Greg Biffle and Clint Bowyer completed the top 10.

Bowyer and Ambrose led the field to green on Lap 80, after Matt Kenseth's brutal contact with the tire barriers in the esses brought out the fourth caution of the afternoon.

Kenseth's No. 20 Toyota spun out of control from contact with Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s No. 88 Chevrolet, which bounced off the curbing and into the side of Kenseth's car.

"My bad -- I hit the curb and ran into him," Earnhardt said on his radio.

What happened before the previous caution, however, was the crux of the race. Edwards, Ambrose and Bowyer all came to pit road right before NASCAR called a caution for debris in Turn 10 on Lap 71. That enabled them to stay out under the yellow and propelled them to the front of the field.

Edwards was able to stay there, despite heavy pressure from Gordon in the closing laps.

In fact, Gordon said a mistake in Turn 4 six laps before the finish may have cost him the race.

"Gosh, I wish I could have had those last five or six laps to do over again," Gordon said. "I started overdriving it a little bit trying to catch him and making a few mistakes, and I made one in particular that really cost me.

"I think if I had just stayed smooth and stuck with it -- looked like his car really started falling off those last couple laps, and I might have had a shot at least putting more pressure on Carl to force him to make a mistake or maybe get a run inside of him."

There were significant fireworks, however, before that final run. Bowyer started losing positions after the restart on Lap 80 as Edwards surged into second place. Johnson passed the No. 15 Toyota entering Turn 11 on Lap 81, and Bowyer, who had a tire going down, spun after contact from the front bumper of McMurray's Chevy.

With nowhere to go on the inside of the corner, Kevin Harvick slammed into Bowyer. Harvick had one of the fastest cars on Sunday but had gotten mired in traffic because of a slow stop on pit road before a restart on Lap 75.

The wreck dropped Harvick to 20th at the finish, but Bowyer rallied for his 10th-place result.

Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
Edwards Claims First Road Course Win at Sonoma
 
Edwards Claims First Road Course Win at Sonoma
The victory was Edwards' second of the season -- guaranteeing him a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, provided he finishes in the top 30 in points after race No. 26 and attempts to qualify for every race. It was the 23rd win of his career, and first Sprint Cup win on a road course.
Read More
Related Media
Kasey Kahne
 
Kahne Stakes Claim To Keep Hendrick Ride with Dramatic Victory in Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400
At the end of a physically and emotionally draining Sunday, in a crash-filled race that took 6 hours, 14 minutes to finish and included three red flags, Kahne drove with determination until dark and departed minutes before sunset with a much-needed confidence boost to win the Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400.
Read More
2018 Indy Car
 
Fans Can Watch Testing of New IndyCar Aero Kit Tuesday, July 25 at IMS
Fans are welcome to watch the inaugural test of the Dallara universal aero kit to be used by all Verizon IndyCar Series teams starting in the 2018 season on Tuesday, July 25 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Read More
Kasey Kahne
 
Race Fans: Renew Your Tickets Now for New Era of Big Machine Brickyard 400 To Lock In 2017 Prices
Race fans can renew their tickets now for the 2018 Big Machine Brickyard 400 and Lilly Diabetes 250 – at 2017 prices – as the annual NASCAR race weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway enters an exciting new era next year.
Read More
Kasey Kahne
 
Kahne Uses Late Move To Win Wild Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400
Kahne passed Brad Keselowski on the final restart in overtime to win the 24th annual Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400 on Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The epic race started at 2:44 p.m. and finished at 8:58 p.m., just eight minutes before sundown. The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race was halted three times for red flags for a total of two hours, 31 minutes, including a rain delay of one hour, 47 minutes after the first 12 laps were completed.
Read More
William Byron
 
Teen Byron Holds Off Menard for Historic, Exciting Victory in Lilly Diabetes 250
Byron, 19, from Charlotte, North Carolina, edged Menard by .108 of a second in his No. 9 Liberty University Chevrolet fielded by JR Motorsports, owned by NASCAR superstar Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 2,700
Reserve one of our hospitality suites for your next event!
To start planning your event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway please fill out our Information Request Form or contact IMS Sales Department at (317) 492-8739 or email at hospitalitysales@brickyard.com.
Latest Tweets
It's Pole day on @CrownRoyal Armed Forces Weekend & we can't wait to see you! Check out details on the day: https://t.co/yKQ6Db3YRK
May 21