Carl Edwards will tell you that he is not a driver that you would look to for advice on racing on road courses. However, after outrunning one of NASCAR's best road course drivers at Sonoma, he might be getting a lot more conversation.
Edwards used a strong car and some wise strategy to outrun Jeff Gordon for his first Sprint Cup career road course victory Sunday afternoon in California.
"It's been a pretty long climb from when jack let Boris [Said] come to VIR, the two-seater, and basically we ran off in the dirt a bunch all day, and Boris taught me all of the basics of road racing," said Edwards on his road racing development.
The win was especially sweet since Edwards held off one of his NASCAR idols, Jeff Gordon over the last 8 laps for the victory.
"The real special part to me was to stand in victory lane at Sonoma and have Jeff Gordon come and give me a handshake as the second place finisher means a lot," said an excited Edwards in Victory Lane. "I grew up watching Jeff Gordon and specifically watching how he drove this racetrack and all the successes he had here, so I mean, that's really super."
Gordon didn't go down without a fight but felt that he left a little bit on the table that probably cost him a chance at victory.
"I think if I had just stayed smooth and stuck with it -- looked like his car really started falling off those last couple laps and I might have had a shot at least putting more pressure on Carl to force him to make a mistake," said Gordon after the event
Edwards was not the only driver to have a career best Cup Series road course day on Sunday, Dale Earnhardt Jr. also banged his way to a third place finish.
"Well, aside from holding a trophy, this is like a win for us," commented an excited Earnhardt in the media center.
The win was Edwards second of the season and firmly locks his team into the post season. yet the conversation still turned back to his uncertain future plans to stay at Roush/Fenway Racing in 2015.
"I think you guys worry about that more than we do," continued Edwards. "We come out here and race every week and the mission is to win the championship."
Regardless of where Edwards lands next season, it's clear that the No. 99 team is focused on ending this season in style atop the Championship battle.
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