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Carl Edwards Flips Over First Win With Toyota In Coca-Cola 600

Carl Edwards Flips Over First Win With Toyota In Coca-Cola 600

by May 25, 2015 0 comments

CONCORD, N.C. – Like wins before, Carl Edwards stayed true to tradition on Sunday night by flipping off his car after winning a race, but this time, it was the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and it was his first win with Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota.

Edwards started third and only led 25 laps en route to the victory that ended a 31-race winless streak.The win was Toyota’s 300th victory across NASCAR’s national series which coincidentally took place during Toyota’s 300th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start. Three times in his career, Edwards finished third at Charlotte Motor Speedway, but Sunday night’s win was his first at the speedway besides the Sprint All Star Race victory he earned back in 2011. So far this season, Edwards has amassed one top-five and two top-10 finishes.

“I was worried,” Edwards said. “Greg Biffle is tenacious. He is just an extremely tough competitor, and I was driving pretty hard. Darian (crew chief, Grubb) told me we could make it. I don’t know if he was lying to me or not, how close we were. I can’t tell when he’s lying yet. But Greg a couple times closed, and I would get — I would miss my line a little and he would close in, and then I started thinking, maybe he’s been holding back. Maybe he’s going for it now, but it seemed like we were about the same speed. But yeah, just — I mean, all the things that I’ve screwed up and have had happen this year and all the bad luck we’ve had, I figured something would happen. But it just worked out.”

Roush Fenway Racing’s Greg Biffle finished second, also by using the fuel mileage strategy. The runner-up finish was only Biffle’s first top-five finish of the 2015 season. The entire organization has been struggling tremendously this year, but over the past few weekends, Biffle has earned more competitive finishes. After finishing 12th at Kansas Speedway and then the finish on Sunday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the team is really looking forward to Dover International Speedway where they have been so strong in the past.

“I’m really excited about the finish,” Biffle said. “I don’t care if we were in Mexico right now, I’m pretty happy that I finished second. This is a good race track for us. I had about a half straightaway lead here years ago when the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) blew up and the caution came out and I didn’t have enough gas to make it. Neither did the 88 (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) that day and the 29 (Kevin Harvick) ended up winning, but we tested Dover and did a one-day test up there and I’m looking forward to that. I’ve got a couple of trophies from there. We run good there.”

Finishing third was Dale Earnhardt Jr. He and the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS team gambled on fuel, as well. Since he already has a win (Talladega Superspeedway) this year and is locked into the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, the team figured it was best to try and win on fuel strategy because they didn’t have a fast enough car to outrun the drivers who had been consistently strong all night long.

“We’ve got a win so it doesn’t really matter,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “I was just hoping that the guys in front of me would run too hard and run out of gas. We had to try to go for a win, there. We didn’t have a fast enough car to beat the No. 41 (Kurt Busch) or the No. 78 (Martin Truex, Jr.), so we had to do something different and I like to gamble. We had a pretty good car. I’m a little disappointed. Those guys have a little bit more speed than us. We’ll work on it and get better and try to get more wins.”

Matt Kenseth and his team ended up finishing fourth after stretching their luck on fuel too. Kenseth sat on the pole and led on three different occasions for 26 laps. He was also a driver who is already locked in to the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, so gambling on fuel was the better option for the team if it went the right way.

“We got a good finish,” Kenseth said. “Kind of got lucky – we were in the back right after that lucky dog and just pitted. Fortunately it went green from there to the end — just got fortunate. Glad the 19 (Carl Edwards) guys got it – have to take them any way you can get them. It’s good for them to get their first win. We got three of them in victory lane this year so that’s a good thing.”

Martin Truex Jr. led 131 laps, most of any driver on Sunday night, but they didn’t gamble on fuel and finished fifth. The small team based out of Denver, Colorado put on quite a strong performance and just came out on the wrong end of the fuel mileage race at the end. Truex Jr. sits second in the championship point standings, trailing Kevin Harvick by 41 points.

“I don’t know,” Truex Jr. said. “I don’t know what to do about fuel mileage races. I’ve never ever, ever, ever, ever. One time in my whole career I came out on the right end of them, so I don’t know. I guess I don’t get good fuel mileage. What can I say about my guys? The Furniture Row team and everybody back in Denver and ECR engines and RCR chassis. The guys just give me an awesome race car. I’m so proud of them. It hurts to come home fifth and run that hard. But at the same time, it’s pretty awesome to run like that, too.”

The Coca-Cola 600 saw 22 leads changes between nine different drivers. There were eight cautions for 39 laps. The most notable accidents involved Jimmie Johnson who spun twice in Turn 4, once to bring out the caution on lap 91 and then again on lap 275. The second time he hit the inside wall, forcing the No. 48 Lowe’s Patriotic Chevrolet team to fix the car in the garage. Johnson finishes a disappointing 40th.

“For us the car was just really loose,” Johnson said. “It was fast, but as soon as I would get close to somebody else, my car would bug out and get so edgy. Lost it twice, about had it saved both times. Once we would get in clean air and get strung out I could fly up through the field and went from last to fifth there. Then I had a lap car on the outside and a car I had been stalking on the bottom and then I tried to roll into the top behind the lap car. The thing just bugged out in the dirty air and around it went again. A tough day to try to get the balance right in the car.”

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will compete at Dover International Speedway on Sunday, May 31 for the FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks. The race will air live on FOX Sports 1 at 1 p.m. ET.

Coca-Cola 600 Results:
1.) #19 Carl Edwards
2.) #16 Greg Biffle
3.) #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
4.) #20 Matt Kenseth
5.) #78 Martin Truex Jr.
6.) #31 Ryan Newman
7.) #2 Brad Keselowski
8.) #11 Denny Hamlin
9.) #4 Kevin Harvick
10.) #42 Kurt Busch
11.) #18 Kyle Busch
12.) #5 Kasey Kahne
13.) #22 Joey Logano
14.) #27 Paul Menard
15.) #24 Jeff Gordon
16.) #3 Austin Dillon
17.) #43 Aric Almirola
18.) #25 Chase Elliott
19.) #1 Jamie McMurray
20.) #15 Clint Bowyer
21.) #14 Tony Stewart
22.) #10 Danica Patrick
23.) #13 Casey Mears
24.) #9 Sam Hornish Jr.
25.) #42 Kyle Larson
26.) #7 Alex Bowman
27.) #6 Trevor Bayne
28.) #35 Cole Whitt
29.) #47 AJ Allmendinger
30.) #95 Michael McDowell
31.) #34 Brett Moffitt
32.) #46 Michael Annett
33.) #38 David Gilliland
34.) #83 Matt DiBenedetto
35.) #98 Josh Wise
36.) #33 Alex Kennedy
37.) #17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
38.) #23 JJ Yeley
39.) #40 Landon Cassill
40.) #48 Jimmie Johnson
41.) #55 David Ragan
42.) #21 Ryan Blaney
43.) #51 Justin Allgaier

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Top-16 Championship Point Standings:
1.) #4 Kevin Harvick
2.) #78 Martin Truex Jr. -41
3.) #22 Joey Logano -66
4.) #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. -72
5.) #48 Jimmie Johnson -80
6.) #2 Brad Keselowski -92
7.) #20 Matt Kenseth -101
8.) #1 Jamie McMurray -120
9.) #24 Jeff Gordon -127
10.) #5 Kasey Kahne -128
11.) #31 Ryan Newman -130
12.) #43 Aric Almirola -134
13.) #27 Paul Menard -137
14.) #41 Kurt Busch -146
15.) #11 Denny Hamlin -152
16.) #19 Carl Edwards -161

Photo Credit: Hunter Thomas

Hunter Thomas
Hunter Thomas is a journalist who grew up in Darlington, S.C. His first motorsports-based endeavor was working as the Public Relations Director at Dillon Motor Speedway in Dillon, S.C., and his journalism start came while he was freelancing at his hometown newspaper, the News & Press while in college.

Hunter has been working within the NASCAR industry since 2010, and throughout the years, he has done everything from PR/Marketing for drivers and teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, to working at Rockingham Speedway. As a journalist, Hunter has covered everything from regional short tracks to NASCAR, ARCA Racing Series, World of Outlaws, Red Bull Global Rallycross, NHRA and much more.

Follow Hunter Thomas on Twitter by following, @HunterThomas08

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