Sonoma NASCAR: Carl Edwards takes first road course victory
|Sunday, June 22nd 2014, 22:20 GMT|
Carl Edwards won Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup round after a gruelling 110-lap, caution-filled road course race at Sonoma, claiming the first non-oval victory of his career.
Poleman Jamie McMurray led initially until he was passed by AJ Allmendinger on lap nine. Kevin Harvick was the next leader, passing Allmendinger on lap 22.
Harvick was then dealt a strategy blow when the first yellow of the day, for Landon Cassill's engine explosion, came out before he had made his first pitstop.
He tumbled to 14th after pitting under yellow, but carved his way back into the lead fight.
Allmendinger and McMurray again swapped the lead before the second yellow, caused by Ryan Truex stalling on the track.
As they pitted, Harvick then led again until being passed by Jimmie Johnson, before a flurry of yellows - the second of which was for the biggest shunt of the day when Dale Earnhardt Jr clipped Matt Kenseth, who piled head-on into a tyrewall. He was unhurt.
Marcos Ambrose hit the front at a lap 80 restart with a power move on Clint Bowyer, who was the other frontrunning car on a similar strategy to him.
Moments later, as Johnson was passing him for third place, Bowyer spun at Turn 11 after contact from McMurray (and a left-rear puncture) and was hit hard by Harvick, effectively eliminating two top cars.
Allmendinger was then spun out after also being hit by Earnhardt, and bouncing off Kasey Kahne and Brian Vickers.
Only in the last 25 laps did Edwards hit the front, thanks to his Roush team's strategy.
Edwards managed to get through the race with only two stops to Jeff Gordon's three, while third-placed Earnhardt visited the pits five times, which meant he had the freshest tyres at the end to carve his way through.
Second placed Gordon attempted a last-corner lunge at Edwards, but the Ford star hung on.
Earnhardt finished third, ahead of McMurray, Paul Menard, Kahne and Johnson.
Results - 110 laps: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Carl Edwards Roush Fenway Ford 2h51m30.000s 2. Jeff Gordon Hendrick Chevrolet +0.592s 3. Dale Earnhardt Jr Hendrick Chevrolet +3.300s 4. Jamie McMurray Ganassi Chevrolet +6.052s 5. Paul Menard Childress Chevrolet +7.213s 6. Kasey Kahne Hendrick Chevrolet +8.986s 7. Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Chevrolet +9.385s 8. Marcos Ambrose Petty Ford +10.654s 9. Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Ford +11.904s 10. Clint Bowyer Waltrip Toyota +13.238s 11. Ryan Newman Childress Chevrolet +14.402s 12. Kurt Busch Stewart-Haas Chevrolet +16.679s 13. Casey Mears Germain Chevrolet +17.595s 14. Brian Vickers Waltrip Toyota +18.595s 15. Martin Truex Jr Furniture Row Chevrolet +19.387s 16. Joey Logano Penske Ford +19.766s 17. Austin Dillon Childress Chevrolet +20.684s 18. Danica Patrick Stewart-Haas Chevrolet +21.292s 19. Tony Stewart Stewart-Haas Chevrolet +22.649s 20. Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Chevrolet +23.109s 21. David Gilliland Front Row Ford +23.371s 22. Brad Keselowski Penske Ford +25.851s 23. Aric Almirola Petty Ford +29.288s 24. Michael McDowell Leavine Ford +30.110s 25. Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Toyota +31.013s 26. Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Toyota +34.748s 27. Cole Whitt BK Toyota +34.859s 28. Kyle Larson Ganassi Chevrolet +42.212s 29. Alex Bowman BK Toyota +43.661s 30. Michael Annett Baldwin Chevrolet +46.319s 31. Ricky Stenhouse Jr Roush Fenway Ford -1 lap 32. Reed Sorenson Baldwin Chevrolet -1 lap 33. Justin Allgaier HScott Chevrolet -1 lap 34. JJ Yeley Xxxtreme Chevrolet -1 lap 35. Boris Said Fas Lane Ford -1 lap 36. David Ragan Front Row Ford -1 lap 37. AJ Allmendinger JTG Daugherty Chevrolet -2 laps 38. Tomy Drissi NEMCO Toyota -2 laps 39. Alex Kennedy Circle Sport Chevrolet -6 laps* 40. Josh Wise Parsons Chevrolet -15 laps 41. Ryan Truex BK Toyota -19 laps * Not running at finish Retirements: Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Toyota 74 laps Landon Cassill Hillman Chevrolet 29 laps