Carl Edwards grabbed the race lead on lap 245 following a two-tire pit stop and held off Tony Stewart to win the Kobalt Tools 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It was Edwards’ second Cup victory at the 1.5-mile speedway.
“The key to winning today is my Ford team; these guys are unbelievable,” Edwards said of the victory. “It’s unreal, man; when you’re a kid, you think ‘how cool would it be to go to Vegas, fly a bunch of women there in your private plane and race cars’ – and I did it. I brought my mom, my mother-in-law, my daughter and me. We came here, we raced and we (won) it and I’m having a blast.
“It means a lot coming off of (a disappointing race last week in) Phoenix. We went home last week and I just didn’t know how things were going to go from there. You don’t get a good racecar like that very often (but) we had another one today.”
Stewart, who appeared to have the car to beat until a pit-road penalty midway through the race sent him to the back of the field, finished – in his words – a disappointing second. Juan Pablo Montoya took third, Marcos Ambrose was fourth and Ryan Newman finished fifth.
Stewart led 130 of the first 150 laps of the 267-lap race but ran over the air hose in his pits during a stop on lap 151. Stewart was penalized for the infraction and sent to the end of the lead-lap cars. He restarted the race in 23rd place. Stewart regained the lead by taking only two tires and gaining 14 positions during a yellow-flag pit stop on lap 197.
During the last round of green-flag pit stops with 30 laps remaining, Stewart was forced to take four tires and fuel while Edwards grabbed only two tires and assumed the lead. Stewart was able to gain on Edwards in the closing laps but ran out of time.
“I’m real disappointed,” Stewart said. “I honestly think we had the car to beat today and we just gave it away. I don’t know what happened on the pit stop there but we had a miscue and had a penalty and had to go to the back. Unfortunately, that kind of dealt our cards for us.
“We shot ourselves in the foot two weeks in a row.”
Martin Truex Jr. finished sixth and was followed in the top 10 by Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kurt Busch and Brian Vickers.