Edwards wins Kobalt 400

DEAN McNULTY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:35 PM ET

TORONTO - After 400 miles in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway it all came down to tires.

And Carl Edwards’ decision to take just two right side tires on the final green flag pit stop won him and the No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford the race.

Tony Stewart — who had the strongest car all day at the Sin City 1.5-mile oval — opted to go with four new tires on the same sequence of pit stops for the No. 14 Stewart Haas Racing Chevrolet, because he had taken only two on the previous stop.

The difference was about five seconds — between Stewart’s stop of just over 13 seconds and Edwards’ eight seconds.

“Could someone please tell me how we lost this race?” an exasperated Stewart asked after the race. “We just gave one away today.”

When the checkered flag dropped, Stewart was 1.246 seconds back of Edwards.

Without a doubt had Stewart decided on a reverse strategy — taking four then two tires, he would have won.

All Stewart had to do was look at the finish of the rest of the top five: Juan Pablo Montoya, third in the No. 42 Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet (two tires); Marcos Ambrose, fourth in the No. 9 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford (two tires) and Ryan Newman, fifth in the No. 39 SHR Chevrolet (two tires).

Tires also brought grief to last week’s Subway Fresh Fit 500 winner at Phoenix Jeff Gordon, who hit the wall hard in his No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet when he blew a right front tire, dropping him to 36th spot.

Jimmie Johnson, the five time Sprint Cup champion, went with four tires like Stewart and he dropped from a top-five finish to 16th.

After all was said and done, Edwards had the best quote of the day as well as the win.

“When you are a kid you dream about this and how cool it would be to go to Vegas and fly a bunch of women there in a private plane and race cars and I did it,” he said.” I brought my wife, my mom, my mother-in-law and my daughter.”

DANICA DID RIGHT

The big question around the NASCAR paddock after the Nationwide Series Sam’s Town 300 was whether Danica Patrick’s fourth-place finish was a true barometer of her progress in this, her second season driving stock cars.

Her performance has certainly improved with 14th-place finish at Daytona and her 17th-placed finish last week at Phoenix. But her Vegas finish must be tempered by the fact that many of the top drivers were caught up in wrecks.

However, you have to give Patrick her due, she worked hard the whole race on Saturday and looked like she is finally getting a handle on the big sedans.

FINISH LINES

One time bad boy Robby Gordon appears to be back to his old ways after a confrontation in the NASCAR Sprint Cup garage at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Gordon allegedly had a physical altercation with Kevin Conway. Conway, who raced for Gordon last season in the No. 7 car, is involved in a lawsuit against Gordon over payment of bonuses. Gordon is in turn suing Conway’s sponsors over payments to the No. 7 team. NASCAR has placed Gordon on probation. ... It pays to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Just ask Brad Keselowski. For winning the 2010 NNS championship, Dodge presented Keselowski with a 2011 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392, custom built by the “Mopar Underground” team at Chrysler Group LLC in Auburn Hills, Mich. ... Edwards and Kyle Busch have mended fences following some hard feelings left over from Phoenix last week when the pair tangled just 59 laps into the Subway Fresh Fit 500 “Kyle and I did talk, yes,” Edwards said. “I give him a lot of credit for coming over and talking to me and I think we will be fine.” ... Top finishes by Canadians at Grand Prix of Miami was by Mark Wilkins of Toronto, who took fourth place in the No. 61 AIM Autosport BMW Riley. In the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Scott Maxwell, of Toronto, was sixth in the No. 15 Mustang Boss 302R.

dean.mcnulty@sunmedia.ca


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