March 29th, 2015
Roush Fenway Racing is struggling? Don’t tell that to Carl Edwards, he led 26 laps and picked up his first road course win and second win of the season in the Toyota Save Mart 350. Using pit strategy of only two stops, Edwards finished 0.592 seconds ahead of a closing Jeff Gordon. Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Jamie McMurray, and Paul Menard rounded out the top-4 finishers.
“That’s a moment I’ll never forget, to be standing in victory lane and to have held off Jeff Gordon with all of the success he’s had here and in our sport. It’s just really, really special. I’m living proof that 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,” Edwards told TNT in Victory Lane. “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. I’m glad there wasn’t one or two more laps in the race because I don’t know if it would have worked out that way, but it definitely meant a lot to have Jeff Gordon in my mirror.”
Gordon was a few laps from catching Edwards despite what the final time sheet said. He estimated it was about five to six laps he would have needed. “I was making some ground up on (race winner) Carl (Edwards). I was good in the fast sections and he was pretty good in the slow sections. So, I was having to hit everything so perfect. And I just overdrove it into (Turn) 4 one time and went real wide off and that gave him enough of a gap that I had to close it back in and I just couldn’t put enough pressure on him. And I think had I put some more pressure on him; I saw him really struggling with the grip level. He drove a clean race and he did everything you need to do,” commented Gordon after the race.
The first road race of the Sprint Cup Series lived up to its billing with drivers getting into each other early and often over the course of the 110 laps around the Sonoma Raceway. The list of drivers involved in incidents included Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Matt Kenseth, Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Brian Vickers, and AJ Allmendinger.
Allmendinger started on the outside pole and led a race high 35 laps. Strategy put him back in the field, then contact with Earnhardt resulted in damage sustained from the wall and other cars. After repairs on his car he finished 37th place.
The pole sitter was Jamie McMurray, who came home fourth. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver stayed up front, but did cause some controversy after contact with Clint Bowyer. Bowyer went around and was collected by Kevin Harvick. Harvick had a strong run, leading 23 laps, and was able to finish 20th with a mangled car. Bowyer finished 10th despite the damage, he also led five laps.
There was no real shake up in the driver standings based on the strong runs by all. Jeff Gordon maintains his lead in the standings over Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Matt Kenseth, and Brad Keselowski. Kenseth crashed out after contact with Earnhardt on lap 74 and Keselowski had a miserable day finishing 22nd.
Next up for the Sprint Cup Series is the Kentucky Speedway on Saturday, June 28th. The Quaker State 400 gets underway at 7:30 PM EST and fans can catch the action on TNT.
|3||17||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr||Kelley Blue Book||Chevrolet||110||$167,230||Running||0||41|
|6||30||5||Kasey Kahne||Great Clips||Chevrolet||110||$126,870||Running||0||38|
|10||25||15||Clint Bowyer||5-Hour Energy||Toyota||110||$136,411||Running||5||35|
|12||5||41||Kurt Busch||Haas Automation||Chevrolet||110||$101,635||Running||0||32|
|14||8||55||Brian Vickers||Aaron’s Dream Machine||Toyota||110||$128,910||Running||0||30|
|15||18||78||Martin Truex Jr||Furniture Row||Chevrolet||110||$123,643||Running||0||29|
|16||10||22||Joey Logano||Shell Pennzoil||Ford||110||$132,326||Running||3||29|
|19||21||14||Tony Stewart||Mobil 1 / Bass Pro Shops||Chevrolet||110||$127,743||Running||0||25|
|20||6||4||Kevin Harvick||Outback / Budweiser Folds of Honor||Chevrolet||110||$131,193||Running||23||25|
|21||27||38||David Gilliland||Love’s Travel Stops||Ford||110||$116,068||Running||0||23|
|22||13||2||Brad Keselowski||Alliance Truck Parts||Ford||110||$133,268||Running||0||22|
|23||29||43||Aric Almirola||Nathan’s Famous||Ford||110||$127,671||Running||0||21|
|24||28||95||Michael McDowell||K-LOVE Radio||Ford||110||$86,785||Running||0||20|
|25||20||18||Kyle Busch||M&M’s Pretzel||Toyota||110||$134,701||Running||0||19|
|26||16||11||Denny Hamlin||FedEx Freight||Toyota||110||$97,035||Running||0||18|
|27||32||26||Cole Whitt||Rinnai Tankless Water Heaters||Toyota||110||$88,385||Running||0||17|
|29||38||23||Alex Bowman||Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry||Toyota||110||$101,643||Running||0||15|
|30||42||7||Michael Annett||Pilot / Flying J Chevrolet||Chevrolet||110||$100,493||Running||0||14|
|31||24||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr||EcoPower Oil||Ford||109||$122,485||Running||0||13|
|32||40||36||Reed Sorenson||Theme Park Connection||Chevrolet||109||$93,537||Running||0||12|
|33||35||51||Justin Allgaier||BRANDT Professional Agriculture||Chevrolet||109||$91,880||Running||0||11|
|34||39||44||J.J. Yeley||Phoenix Warehouse||Chevrolet||109||$83,745||Running||0||0|
|36||31||34||David Ragan||Long John Silver’s||Ford||109||$91,520||Running||0||8|
|39||36||33||Alex Kennedy||Media Cast||Chevrolet||104||$73,850||Rear Gear||0||5|
|41||34||83||Ryan Truex||Burger King Toyota Camry||Toyota||91||$65,850||Running||0||3|
|42||14||20||Matt Kenseth||Dollar General||Toyota||74||$110,986||Accident||0||2|