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NASCAR: Carl Edwards wins at Sonoma

Published June 22, 2014 6:09 pm

NASCAR • Driver scores first victory on road course after "long climb" to refine his skills.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Sonoma, Calif. • Carl Edwards has never been known for his road racing skills — to the point team owner Jack Roush had to send him testing in a two-seater so Boris Said could teach him the basics.

A decade later, Edwards finally has a win to show for his hard work.

He beat road racing ace Jeff Gordon to get to Victory Lane on Sunday at Sonoma Raceway, where Gordon leads all drivers with five wins.

"My road racing progression, it's been a pretty long climb," Edwards said. "The real special part to me was to stand in Victory Lane at Sonoma and have Jeff Gordon come and give me a handshake as the second-place finisher. I grew up watching Jeff Gordon, and specifically watching how he drove this racetrack and all the successes he had here, so I mean, that's really super. It's something I'll never forget."

Edwards' win made Roush Fenway Racing the unlikely organization to end Hendrick Motorsports' five-race winning streak. The win came a week after Roush was shut out at Michigan, where the organization failed to put a car in the top 10 for the first time since 2000.

Edwards took the lead on a restart with 25 laps remaining and seemed to have the win wrapped up until Gordon nearly chased him down on the final lap. Gordon had one good look at Edwards and couldn't pull off the pass.

"That last lap was ugly," Edwards said of trying to hold off Gordon.

It wasn't a terrible day for the Hendrick organization, which had won every Sprint Cup Series race since Gordon's victory at Kansas on May 10. Instead, HMS settled for all four of its drivers finishing in the top seven.

Gordon, the Sprint Cup Series points leader, wound up second. He said he made one mistake in overdriving a turn with about five laps to go that allowed Edwards to build a healthy lead.

"I just couldn't put enough pressure on him," Gordon said. "I think had I put some more pressure on him, I saw him really struggling with the [tire] grip level, but he did everything he needed to do."

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was third after rallying from an incident that wrecked Matt Kenseth, and was apologetic on the radio and after the race.

"I tried to screw it up a couple times in the race, but I calmed down and was able to get a good finish," Earnhardt said after his career-best finish on a road course. "I got into Matt, I jumped a curb and jumped into the air and just ran into him. Totally my fault. I hope he's not sore with me." —

Sprint Cup-Toyota/Save Mart 350 Results

At Sonoma Raceway, Calif. length: 1.99 miles

(Start position in parentheses)

1. (4) Carl Edwards, Ford, 110 laps, 119.9 rating, 47 points, $335,790.

2. (15) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 110, 119.1, 43, $238,266.

3. (17) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 110, 105.8, 41, $167,230.

4. (1) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 110, 126, 41, $185,869.

5. (9) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 110, 93.6, 39, $147,344.

6. (30) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 110, 96.7, 38, $126,870.

7. (22) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 110, 111.8, 38, $157,431.

8. (23) Marcos Ambrose, Ford, 110, 94.3, 37, $137,340.

9. (19) Greg Biffle, Ford, 110, 86.2, 35, $143,820.

10. (25) Clint Bowyer, Toyota, 110, 93, 35, $136,411.

11. (7) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 110, 92.1, 33, $107,785.

12. (5) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 110, 95, 32, $101,635.

13. (12) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 110, 82.3, 31, $129,543.

14. (8) Brian Vickers, Toyota, 110, 83.8, 30, $128,910.

15. (18) Martin Truex Jr., Chevrolet, 110, 82.4, 29, $123,643.

16. (10) Joey Logano, Ford, 110, 76.1, 29, $132,326.

17. (26) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 110, 65.3, 27, $141,596.

18. (11) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 110, 69.6, 26, $102,310.

19. (21) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 110, 66.2, 25, $127,743.

20. (6) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 110, 101.6, 25, $131,193.

21. (27) David Gilliland, Ford, 110, 61.1, 23, $116,068.

22. (13) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 110, 58.2, 22, $133,268.

23. (29) Aric Almirola, Ford, 110, 61.8, 21, $127,671.

24. (28) Michael McDowell, Ford, 110, 57.4, 20, $86,785.

25. (20) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 110, 60.4, 19, $134,701.

26. (16) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 110, 65.6, 18, $97,035.

27. (32) Cole Whitt, Toyota, 110, 49.2, 17, $88,385.

28. (3) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 110, 74.2, 16, $114,555.

29. (38) Alex Bowman, Toyota, 110, 44.7, 15, $101,643.

30. (42) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 110, 40.2, 14, $100,493.

31. (24) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 109, 58, 13, $122,485.

32. (40) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 109, 39.1, 12, $93,537.

33. (35) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 109, 39.6, 11, $91,880.

34. (39) J.J. Yeley, Chevrolet, 109, 32, 0, $83,745.

35. (41) Boris Said, Ford, 109, 33.7, 9, $83,605.

36. (31) David Ragan, Ford, 109, 40.3, 8, $91,520.

37. (2) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 108, 103.5, 9, $89,983.

38. (43) Tomy Drissi, Toyota, 108, 25.9, 6, $85,850.

39. (36) Alex Kennedy, Chevrolet, rear gear, 104, 34.2, 5, $73,850.

40. (33) Josh Wise, Chevrolet, 95, 32.5, 4, $69,850.

41. (34) Ryan Truex, Toyota, 91, 40.5, 3, $65,850.

42. (14) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, accident, 74, 67.5, 2, $110,986.

43. (37) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, engine, 29, 25.8, 0, $58,350.

Wins: J.Johnson, 3; D.Earnhardt Jr., 2; C.Edwards, 2; K.Harvick, 2; J.Logano, 2; Ku.Busch, 1; Ky.Busch, 1; J.Gordon, 1; D.Hamlin, 1; Bra.Keselowski, 1.

Top 12 in Points: 1. J.Gordon, 580; 2. J.Johnson, 560; 3. D.Earnhardt Jr., 555; 4. M.Kenseth, 515; 5. Bra.Keselowski, 512; 6. C.Edwards, 509; 7. J.Logano, 483; 8. R.Newman, 473; 9. K.Harvick, 472; 10. K.Larson, 470; 11. Ky.Busch, 465; 12. P.Menard, 459.