Posted by: Sandy Terronez, follow @sandyterronez
May 24, 2015
Carl Edwards No. 19 Subway Toyota won Sunday’s 56th Annual Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Edwards broke a 31-race winless drought with this victory. This is his first win for 2015 and his first win since joining Joe Gibbs Racing. He led 25 laps overall and the final 21 of the race for the win.
When Edwards was asked about Crew Chief Darian Grubb’s decision to stay out and win the race, Edwards stated “Well, I mean that’s what made the race for us. Darian does such a good job and ever since Tony (Stewart) and I battled for that championship, I’ve wanted to work with him and now I can. That’s what he does on the box – he takes a mediocre day like that and he puts us in a good position. The 300th victory for Toyota – it’s huge. Hopefully all that back luck we’ve had got – I guess it got negated or equaled out by the good luck today. It’s just a great day and we had Lynn Thrasher on the car and I want to thank all the veterans. Our freedoms and liberties in this country are under attack from a million different angles and the people who defend that are my heroes.”
This is Edwards’s first victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway and his 24th victory in 385 starts in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series. This is also his second top-10 finish in 2015.
Roush Fenway’s No. 16 Ortho Ford Greg Biffle came in second which was his second top-ten finish for 2015. Hendrick Motorsport’s No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished in third.
Biffle stated “I’m really excited for the team and the organization. We’ve been working really, really hard on our cars. It’s been well documented how bad we’ve been running, so it feels good. It’s kind of funny because I decided if I finished in the top 10 tonight I was gonna stand on the door top and be all excited and cheer and I finished second and I’m not happy. The thing is we ran in the top 10 all night. The car was good and had a lot of speed. That was a huge improvement. We haven’t done that in probably a year, so I’m super-excited about that, and then because of that run and where we were running it gave us the opportunity to try and stretch the fuel window and make it.
Pole Sitter Matt Kenseth led for 26 laps in his No. 20 DeWalt Toyota but ended up finishing in fourth.
Kevin Harvick, who finished ninth, leads the point’s standings by 41 points over Martin Truex Jr. who led the most laps at 131 laps and finished fifth.
The first caution of the day was a NASCAR competition caution on Lap 27. Matt Kenseth, the pole sitter, led all 25 laps but couldn’t hold off Joey Logano on the restart at Lap 30. Logano, who got a jump on Kenseth, passed him on the inside.
Denny Hamlin, who won the All-Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway the previous week, took the lead from Logano on Lap 47. Hamlin, who has never won a point’s race at Charlotte, got caught in traffic and was passed for the lead on Lap 64 by Kevin Harvick.
Jimmy Johnson, last year’s winner, brought out the second caution of the day at Lap 91 when he spun in Turn 4. He was also hit with a pit road speeding penalty. Brad Keselowski, who didn’t pit, took the field back to green on Lap 94. Kurt Busch easily took the lead from Keselowski with fresh tires on Lap 97.
The No. 51 of Justin Allgaier brought out the third caution on Lap 137 when he got into the wall and had to take his car to the garage. Busch was able to beat the field off pit road and took the field back to green on Lap 141.
The No. 6 of Trevor Bayne brought out the fourth caution of the night when he got into the wall on Lap 231. Martin Truex Jr. brought the field back to green on Lap 236.
The No. 48 of Jimmy Johnson had to go to the garage when he spun out on Lap 275 and brought out the fifth caution of the night. Truex again took the field back to green flag on Lap 279.
Ryan Blaney got loose and hit the wall on Lap 283 causing his car to put oil on the track and bring out the caution. Truex took the field back to green on Lap 292.
The No. 46 of Michael Annett brought out the seventh caution of the night when on Lap 328 he spun out on the backstretch. Truex Jr. lost the lead on pit road to Denny Hamlin.
The final caution of the night came on Lap 337 when Ricky Stenhouse hit the wall and left debris on the backstretch and had to take his car to the garage. Several cars decided to stay out and not pit including Hamlin, Harvick and Kyle Busch. Hamlin led the field to green on Lap 342 but had to pit on Lap 364 when he thought he had a loose wheel. Martin Truex Jr. again took the lead but gave it up to Edwards when he pitted on Lap 380.
Edwards was able to hold onto the lead for the last 21 laps to earn his first win at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads Dover International Speedway for the FEDEX 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks on Sunday May 31st at 1:00 pm on FOX Sports 1.