Carl Edwards Wins First Sprint Championship Road Race at Somona
This Sunday saw a first for Carl Edwards when he won his first ever Sprint Championship road race. The race was actually dominated by Jeff Gordon but the last eight laps saw Carl Edwards lead the race to the finish with Gordon pushing up behind him all of the way.
Edwards was not an outside chance, having already proved his worth in 2011 and 2013 when he came third in the race but this time he led from lap 26 in order to take his second victory of the season. This also ended the run of five victories for Hendrick Motorsports.
The new rules for NASCAR have made the races exciting and with Sonoma being a road race and having seen ten different winners over the previous last ten seasons, it was certainly expected to be a fun race.
Edwards said afterwards that it was very special for him to have his hand shaken by Jeff Gordon as he grew up watching him and to keep him at bay for all of those laps and to beat such an iconic figure.
Edwards was I n the top five for most of the race except when he took two pit stops. It was on lap 85 that he took the lead after overtaking Marcus Ambrose. Gordon had overtaken Jamie McMurray to get in to second place in the last ten laps but was never able to overtake Edwards. He said that he would like to have done the last few laps again as he was overdriving while trying to catch up and it was not the best strategy. He said he should have stayed smooth and put more pressure on Edwards.
Edwards went in to the race with confidence having been the third fastest in the practice session and qualifying in fourth place. He did say that he felt his car was not up to the job, but he pitted earlier than planned and got it fixed and then he was able to take advantage of a caution to get in the lead.