Edwards Hits Vegas Jackpot

Carl Edwards

Edwards celebrates his 19th career Sprint Cup win. (Photo: Getty Images)

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Carl Edwards rebounded from his disappointment last week in Phoenix to score his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win of the year in Sunday's Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Edwards held off Tony Stewart to score his third win in the last five Sprint Cup starts dating back to ending last season with back-to-back trips to victory lane.

"It means a lot coming off Phoenix," said Edwards, who was wrecked involved in an accident with Kyle Busch at Phoenix and finished 28th. "I didn't know how things would go from there."

It was his second career win at LVMS and the 19th of his Sprint Cup Series career.

“The key to winning today was my team, my Ford team, these guys are unbelievable. Roush Fenway is great,” Edwards said. “Yeah it means a lot coming off of Phoenix. I went home last week and I had no clue. I just didn't know how things were going to go from there. You only don't get a good race car like that very often, but we had another one today.”

A last pit stop for two tires proved to be the difference for Edwards, who has a win and a second-place finish in the Daytona 500 to show for his efforts this season.

Stewart, who led a race high 163 laps, took a hit on lap 151 when he was assessed a penalty for removing equipment from the assigned pit area. On his next to last pit stop, the Mobil 1 team took only two tires to gain 14 positions and the race lead. Stewart then had to give up the top spot on the race’s final trip to pit road and lost the lead to Edwards when his four tire stop ate up valuable time. Despite having one of the fastest cars of the race, Stewart was forced to settle for a second place.

"We just gave one away," said Stewart, who led a race-high 166 laps. "That was the baddest thing on the west coast. Second sucks.

“This was a big deal today, and when you lead that many laps and have a car that’s that fast and you lose it. I’m sure tomorrow when the emotion dies down we’ll look back and say it was a great weekend, but just, man, it does not sit good right now.”

Juan Pablo Montoya started 23rd and his Earnhardt-Ganassi team worked on the car all day to help him score his first top five since Talladega last fall.

"We battled between sixth and eighth place and then a little bit better and a little bit better," Montoya said. "It was good; we were getting better, but we just never closed in. We could make the car turn through the middle, we just couldn't touch the throttle and the other way around. It was just touch and go."

Marcos Ambrose, who started second, came home fourth for his fourth career top five on an oval in his Sprint Cup career.

“It was a great day,” Ambrose said. “It was a great first top-five for RPM. I have to thank Richard Petty for believeing in me and giving me a shot and Stanley and everybody. It is going to be a great year. We had great pit stops and a good crew today. There was a ton of good energy out here today, just a ton of good energy. I am really happy with the finish.”

Ryan Newman rounded out the top five.

Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kurt Busch and Brian Vickers completed the first ten finishers.

It was a bitter homecoming for Las Vegas native Kyle Busch who despite having a fast car was saddled with a 38th-place finish when the engine in his Joe Gibbs Toyota blew up in a blaze of fire on lap 107.

Last week’s Phoenix winner Jeff Gordon also had a bad day when he cut a right front tire and slammed hard into the outside retaining wall while running in the top 10. Gordon finished 36th after completing just 193 laps.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series now takes a week off before returning to action on March 20 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup, Carl Edwards

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