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
Luca Filippi
 
Filippi Joins CFH Racing For Road/Street Courses
Luca Filippi, who has made eight Verizon IndyCar Series starts over the past two seasons, will drive the No. 20 Fuzzy's Award Winning Vodka car in Verizon IndyCar Series road/street course events this season, the team announced.
Read More
Legends Day Honoring Al Unser presented by Firestone
 
Four-Time "500" Winner Al Unser to be Honored at Legends Day on May 23
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Firestone will honor four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser during the 45th anniversary of his first Indianapolis 500 victory on Saturday, May 23, 2015, at “Legends Day Honoring Al Unser presented by Firestone.”
Read More
2015 Rolex 24 Victory Podium
 
INDYCAR Drivers Continue 24-Hour Race Wins Streak
Victory in the 53rd Rolex 24 at Daytona will be quite the preseason confidence boost to Kanaan and teammate Scott Dixon, who co-drove the No. 02 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates car with Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray.
Read More
Indianapolis 500 Parade of Bands
 
Indianapolis 500 Parade of Bands Recognized by Indianapolis House/Senate Resolution
The 90th anniversary of the annual Parade of Bands that will precede the 2015 Indianapolis 500 was recognized by the Indiana House and Senate in a concurrent resolution during the General Assembly at the Indiana Statehouse in downtown Indianapolis on Monday, Jan. 26.
Read More
Jeff Gordon
 
Gordon To Run Final NASCAR Season in 2015
Jeff Gordon, the celebrated stock car champion whose crossover appeal helped take NASCAR into the mainstream, will compete in his 23rd and final full-time Sprint Cup Series season in 2015. He announced his decision this morning to the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports team he has driven for since November 1992.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 1,802
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 Laura Wyamn at (317) 492-8557 or email at lwyman@brickyard.com.
Latest Tweets
RT @jdouglas4: The @IMS Northwest Visit looks particularly inviting today! Blue sky & sun! Too bad it's not May! http://t.co/TA8CigwVPd
January 30