Edwards Scores First Road Course Victory
SONOMA, Calif. – Carl Edwards isn’t known for his skills as a road course racer.
After his performance Sunday at Sonoma Raceway, that may change.
Edwards held off a late charge from eight-time road course winner Jeff Gordon to win Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350, his first road course victory and the 23rd triumph of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career.
“I grew up watching Jeff Gordon do well (on road courses) so to have him in my mirror, that was very special,” Edwards said.
Things just seemed to go Edwards’ way Sunday at Sonoma Raceway. Edwards ran in the top 10 most of the afternoon, but he wasn’t a threat to win the race until the final third of the race.
Edwards had just pitted under green at the 2.52-mile road course on lap 70 when the caution flag waved on lap 71 for debris. The caution period meant everyone in the field would be able to finish the race on one more pit stop. As a result, most of the field pitted under the caution flag.
That gave the lead to Joey Logano, who was on a different strategy. Behind him were several drivers who pitted the lap before the caution flag on lap 71, including Clint Bowyer, Marcos Ambrose and Edwards.
Bowyer was able to get the lead on the restart, but a big wreck in the esses on lap 75 involving Matt Kenseth brought the caution flag back out. The green flag waved again on lap 80 and this time it was Ambrose taking the lead.
Once again the green flag didn’t wave long as two laps later Bowyer got turned around in the final corner after contact with Jamie McMurray before getting rammed into by Kevin Harvick.
The field returned to racing with 25 laps left and this time it was Edwards taking the lead on the restart with McMurray following him by Ambrose into second. Edwards was feeling pressure from McMurray but the final caution flag of the day waved with 20 laps left after Ricky Stenhouse Jr. spun off the bumper of Bowyer.