Edwards pulls out all stops to win
Carl Edwards won Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., with a gambling pit strategy that he thought would cost him the victory.
Edwards pitted from the lead just before rain caused a 41-minute red flag and had the driver arguing with crew chief Bob Osborne over the decision. But the strategy worked as the race wound up going to completion. Edwards stretched his last tank of fuel to earn his fourth victory of the season.
“I was really nervous that we made the wrong call there,” Edwards said after doing his traditional victory back flip off his car. “Bob’s the smartest guy in the world. We were really arguing. We made light of it, but we thought we made the wrong call.”
Rain began falling on Lap 127 of the 200-lap event and, moments later, Edwards and several other leaders pitted. Nineteen other drivers, led by June Pocono winner Kasey Kahne and Mark Martin, who had dominated the first half of the race, stayed on the track, waiting to see if the rain might end the race prematurely.
But, despite more threatening clouds and a few raindrops later in the race, the racing continued and Edwards went back on top for good when Martin had to pit on Lap 187.
Then, Edwards, who made his final stop at the end of Lap 166, just had to worry if he had enough gas to get to the end.
He made it easily, beating Tony Stewart by almost four seconds -- half the front straightaway on the 2.5-mile tri-oval. Stewart and third-place finisher Jimmie Johnson, coming off a victory last week in Indianapolis, were both on the same strategy as Edwards. Johnson was one of several drivers who coasted across the finish line, out of gas.
Kevin Harvick, who crashed with Joe Nemechek on the first lap, came back to finish fourth, just ahead of David Ragan.
Kahne wound up seventh and Martin eighth.
McLaren driver Heikki Kovalainen won his first Formula One race after Felipe Massa pulled out of the Hungarian Grand Prix at Budapest with three laps to go.
Massa overtook Kovalainen and pole sitter Lewis Hamilton at the start and was heading for victory when Hamilton dropped out of contention because of a tire puncture. But Massa’s Ferrari engine overheated toward the end and Kovalainen took an 11-second victory over Timo Glock of Toyota.
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen was third ahead of Renault’s Fernando Alonso.
McLaren’s Hamilton came in fifth and stretched his lead over Raikkonen in the overall standings to five points.
* DRIVER STANDINGS ...D10