SONOMA, Calif. (June 24, 2012) – The Sprint Cup Series took to the road course of Sonoma Raceway Sunday for the first of two road course races this season. After finishing third there last year, Carl Edwards was looking to improve on that this trip. This time he was never able to get the track position to be a contender, and a late-race pit stop to fix the car’s toe dropped him back to 21st place to finish the race.
Edwards started 11th but fell back early in the race. He said the Aflac Ford was tight in the middle, and may have hurt one of his tires in the early laps which also affected the handling. He was in 16th place when the field began a cycle of green-flag pit stops. Edwards pitted on lap 29 for new tires and adjustments.
The next run the car was too loose and more adjustments were needed during the second green-flag stop on lap 68. The first caution of the race did not come until lap 83 while Edwards was running 14th. The car was better late in the race and he worked his way up to 11th with 10 laps to go.
In the closing laps Edwards hit something that knocked the toe out on the Aflac Ford. He fell back to 13th and when another caution came with three laps to go he told crew chief Bob Osborne he needed to come to the pits. It was a tough call to pit with only two laps remaining when the race resumed, but Edwards insisted it needed to be done.
He came to pit road and the crew fixed the toe, but the stop forced Edwards to restart at the end of the lead-lap cars in 22nd place. The late caution resulted in a green-white-checker finish and Edwards was only able to gain one position in the closing laps to finish 21st.
Clint Bowyer won the race followed by Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch, Brian Vickers and Jimmie Johnson. Jeff Gordon, Greg Biffle, Marcos Ambrose, A.J. Allmendinger and Joey Logano rounded out the top 10.
“That was disappointing to have damage at the end of the race,” Edwards said. “We probably could have got a top-10 finish if we could have stayed out on that last caution. The toe was knocked out too badly for me to stay up there for those final laps so we had to pit to fix it. It was our only hope of getting a better finish. My Aflac team did a great job today and we’re looking forward to racing at Kentucky next weekend.”
Edwards and the No. 99 team remain 11th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings. The next race will be Saturday, June 30 at Kentucky Speedway. The race will begin at 7:30 p.m. (ET) on TNT.