Rebounding from what could have been a win last week in Phoenix, Carl Edwards drove a smart race to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup on Sunday in Las Vegas.
After Matt Kenseth took the pole for the Kobalt Tools 400 earlier in the weekend, several drivers, such as Greg Biffle and Juan Montoya, took turns out front.
But it was Tony Stewart with the strongest car, leading the most laps until running over an air line on pit road late in the race, thereby incurring a drive through penalty and sending him deep into the pack.
He recovered many of those positions by gambling on a two tire stop, which elevated him 14 spots into the lead, but that would come to bite them late in the go.
With about two dozen laps remaining, the final pit stop saw Edwards and Montoya grab two tires while Stewart took four.
With pit stops completed, Edwards’ Ford emerged in the lead by several seconds and ran away to the checkers with Stewart, Montoya, Marcos Ambrose, and Ryan Newman capping the top five finishers.
Stewart’s post race interviews saw a ticked off Chevy driver saying that they gave one away.
I say that with all things considered, second was just fine—especially coming with a tie with Kurt Busch in the overall standings. The latest results also find Montoya and Edwards tied for second place, just seven points back from the top spot.
Similarly, last week’s Cup winner, Jeff Gordon, while running among the top 10, smacked the outside wall with a flat right front—sending the four-time champ out of the race and into 36th place. Gordon also dropped 14 spots in the standings down to 19th—ouch!
Nationwide: As the laps wound down towards the checkers, it looked as if Brad Keselowski would add yet another mark to his win column—until the white flag lap.
That’s when his right front tire went down, sending the Dodge racer into the outside wall while he watched Mark Martin zoom by for the win.
Martin’s latest triumph marked his 49th trophy in the Nationwide series, much to the approval of race fans and fellow competitors.
Martin had been told to be easy on the gas, as they were about 2 ½ laps shy, so he proceeded to do so; it paid off for the wily veteran. Crossing the line more than one second back were the cars of Justin Allgaier, Keselowski, Danica Patrick, and Trevor Bayne.
The race turned out to be an economy run with the top players rolling the dice on fuel mileage.
Had there been a late race caution, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, or Ricky Stenhouse would more than likely have landed in the winner’s circle. All of these drivers needed a splash for gas late in the show, giving up their spot out front.
Note: Patrick’s fourth place finish marks the highest finish by a female driver in any NASCAR event. For me, she was fortunate (read lucky) to be in the right place at the right time to notch this top five finish.
Even her crew chief, Tony Eury Jr. said in post-race interviews that they were lucky. She was running in the teens for most of the day—at times as much as two laps down.
From Rumorville: Robby Gordon was placed on indefinite probation on Friday afternoon, after an incident between he and Kevin Conway.
Conway had driven for Gordon with Extenze backing that has yet to be paid for. The two drivers are currently in litigation over the situation, and even though the details were sketchy, there’s little doubt in my mind that Gordon will throw a few punches at Conway. More details as they develop.
— Jamie McMurray in an Indy car? Well, just for demonstration purposes as he and Ganassi teammate Scott Dixon will swap their normal rides in an unofficial exercise later in the season.
That’s it for this week. Next week’s RWR will review the NASCAR truck action from Darlington, along with more racing news from around the globe.
Questions? Comments? Contact Russ at firstname.lastname@example.org