SONOMA, Calif — Carl Edwards won a road-course race for the first time in his Sprint Cup Series career after holding Jeff Gordon in the closing laps of Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway.
Edwards, who had finished third in two of the past three races at Sonoma, grabbed the lead from Marcos Ambrose following a restart with 26 laps to go in this 110-lap race. Gordon moved into second with eight laps remaining and then chased down Edwards for the top position, but Gordon came up 0.6 seconds short of winning at this 1.99-mile, 12-turn Northern California road course for a record-extending sixth time.
Having last pitted on lap 70, Edwards’ tires were wearing out, allowing Gordon to gain on him. Gordon challenged Edwards for the lead in turn 11 on the final lap but could not make the pass.
“That last lap was ugly,” Edwards said. “I grew up watching Jeff Gordon do well here, and so to have him in my [rearview] mirror, that was very special.”
Gordon was also attempting to give Hendrick Motorsports its sixth consecutive race victory. Gordon began Hendrick’s winning streak last month at Kansas. Jimmie Johnson won at Charlotte, Dover and last weekend’s race at Michigan. Dale Earnhardt Jr. took the checkered flag at Pocono.
“On that last lap, I gave it my best effort and closed up on [Edwards], but I just drove into [turn] 11 as hard as I could,” Gordon said. “We weren’t good in 11 anyway. He didn’t overdrive it. I was hoping he might slide up, and I’d get a run underneath him.”
Even though Hendrick Motorsports’ winning streak came to an end, all four of its drivers did finish in the top-10, as Kasey Kahne placed sixth and Johnson seventh.
Jamie McMurray, the pole sitter, finished fourth, and Paul Menard took the fifth spot.