May 22, 2018
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Edwards holds off Gordon for first road race victory

By Jim Utter, The Charlotte Observer

SONOMA, Calif. — It was an unexpected winner, but not a new one.

Carl Edwards held off Jeff Gordon to win Sunday’s Toyota/SaveMart 350 at Sonoma Raceway – his second Sprint Cup Series win of the season but first victory on a road course in his career.

The win also comes one week after Edwards and neither of his two Roush Fenway Racing teammates failed to finish in the Top 10 at Michigan for the first time since the 2000 season.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished third for the first top-10 finish at Sonoma in his career. Jamie McMurray was fourth and Paul Menard was fifth.

McMurray, the pole winner, got off to a strong start, leading the first eight laps.

A.J. Allmendinger made a move to get around McMurray in Turn 11 on Lap 9 to take over the race lead.

On Lap 10, Kyle Busch spun Brad Keselowski as both cars entered Turn 11 but the race remained green.

Several teams began green-flag pit stops on Lap 20, including Tony Stewart, Keselowski and Joey Logano.

Kevin Harvick moved into the lead for the first time on Lap 22, also competing his pass for the lead in Turn 11.

The engine blew in Landon Cassill’s car which brought out the first caution of the race. Some cars pit, but 16 remained on the track. On the restart on Lap 35, Allmendinger remained in the race lead followed by McMurray and Kyle Larson.

Kasey Kahne was forced to pit with damage to the right-rear of his No. 5 Chevrolet on Lap 50.

McMurray moved back into the lead on Lap 54 and held it for just a lap before Gordon moved into the lead for the first time on Lap 55.

At the halfway mark, Gordon led the way followed by Allmendinger and Harvick.

Ryan Truex stopped on the track on Lap 61 to bring out the second caution of the race. Most of the lead-lap cars remained on the track and Harvick held the lead on the restart on Lap 65.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. spun out in Turn 11 on Lap 69 but the race remained under green.

Johnson passed Harvick and moved into the lead for the first time in the race on Lap 71.

Caution for debris in Turn 10 brought out the third caution of the race on Lap 72. Most of the lead-lap cars pit for fuel and tires but the top-five stayed on the track and Joey Logano took over the race lead on the restart on Lap 75.

Shortly after the restart, Dale Earnhardt Jr. jumped the curb and ran into Matt Kenseth, who slammed into the tire wall and brought out the fourth caution of the race. Clint Bowyer took over the race lead on the restart on Lap 80.

Shortly after the restart, Marcos Ambrose passed Bowyer for the lead.

On Lap 82, McMurray slammed into Bowyer, who then hit Harvick. Ambrose continued to lead on the restart on Lap 86.

Carl Edwards moved into the lead on the restart and Earnhardt slammed into Allmendinger, but the race remained under green.

Brian Vickers hit and spun Stenhouse on Lap 90 to bring out the sixth caution of the race. During pit stops, Tony Stewart was penalized for being too fast on pit road. Edwards remained in the lead on the restart on Lap 95.

Distributed by MCT Information Services


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