Carl Edwards won Sunday’s road course race at Sonoma, making Roush Fenway Racing the unlikely organization to end the five-race winning streak of Hendrick Motorsports. Edwards stopped the Hendrick teams with his first career victory on a road course. The win came one week after his team was shut out at Michigan, where Roush failed to place in the top 10 for the first time in 14 years.
Edwards took the lead on a restart with 25 laps to go in the California race. He seemed to have the win secured, but Hendrick driver Jeff Gordon almost chased him down on the final lap. Gordon, who won at Sonoma five times, had one chance to take the win away, but couldn’t hold on.
After the race, Edwards told ESPN, “That’s the best I’ve got and it almost wasn’t good enough. That last lap was ugly. I grew up watching Jeff Gordon do well here, so to have him in my mirror, that is very special.”
While the Hendrick teams couldn’t keep their winning streak alive, they still had a good day. All four of the team’s drivers finished in the top seven. Gordon, the Sprint Cup Series points leader, came out in second place. After he got out of his car, the veteran driver explained that he made one mistake with about five laps to go when he overdrove a turn.
Gordon explained of the final laps with Carl Edwards, “I just couldn’t put enough pressure on him. 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.”
The No. 24 driver added of the final lap, “That last lap, I gave it my best effort and closed up on him and he didn’t overdrive it. I was hoping he might slide up and I’d get a run on him.” But it wasn’t meant to be, and Edwards held on for the win.
USA Today reports that Sunday’s victory at Sonoma was the second of the year for Carl Edwards, who previously won at Bristol Motor Speedway. Other drivers with multiple wins this season include Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Joey Logano, and Kevin Harvick.
Edwards’ win at Sonoma locks him into the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship field. He stated of the win, “This is a moment I’ll never forget, to be standing in Victory Lane and to have held off Jeff Gordon with all the successes he’s had here and in our sport. I’m living proof that whatever it is you’re doing, just keep doing it and don’t ever give up because somehow things can work out.”
Carl Edwards and the rest of the Sprint Cup Series drivers will line up next weekend at Kentucky Motor Speedway.
[Image by Jerbec]