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Carl Edwards wins Pocono Cup race

After rain delay
Sunday, August 03, 2008

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A happy Carl Edwards celebrates
Jim Garrahan/AutoRacing1
During a rain delay that stopped the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 for 41 minutes, driver Carl Edwards and crew chief Bob Osborne argued loudly about who made the call to come to the pits after an afternoon thunderstorm began to soak Pocono International Raceway.

In retrospect, both should be willing to take the credit, because the strategy earned Edwards his fourth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory of the year and the 11th of his career. Tony Stewart came home second, 3.858 seconds back. Polesitter Jimmie Johnson was third, coasting across the finish line at the 2.5-mile triangular track after running out of fuel in the final corner.

Kevin Harvick rallied from a first-lap spin to finish fourth. David Ragan was fifth, followed by Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne, Mark Martin, Jamie McMurray and Jeff Gordon.

Edwards’ chances of winning hinged on the race resuming after the rain delay, which came on lap 131. Edwards, Johnson and Stewart were among those who had come to the pits on Lap 128, while 19 other cars remained on the track.

When the race resumed, however, those 19 cars had to make two pit stops to one for those drivers who already had come to pit road. That proved to be the difference.

Martin, Edwards and Johnson dominated the first two-thirds of the race, leading 53, 36 and 33 of the first 131 laps, respectively, but only Martin, who did not pit on Lap 128, was among the frontrunners when NASCAR red-flagged the race.

Carl Edwards and Jack Roush celebrate win #4 for 2008
Jim Garrahan/AutoRacing1
“Bob and I were really arguing,” Edwards said. “I was really nervous that we made the wrong call there. But Bob Osborne is just real smart. I’m really proud of him for the strategy. Bob did a really good job—but I wasn’t so sure when we were yelling at each other about halfway through.

“I think we were both about 51 percent for coming (to the pits), but after it started raining harder, we started blaming each other for making the call.”

Osborne, on the other hand, said it was Edwards’ premonition that the rain would end that gave him the confidence to call for the pit stop.

“Kudos to Carl Edwards,” Osborne said. “That’s what teamwork is all about.”

Stewart was elated with his runner-up finish, his best result since running second at Atlanta in the fourth race of the season.

“I’m really happy with the way it ended up, obviously,” Stewart said. “I mean, for us, that’s a win. It seemed like our car was an eighth-to-10th-place car the majority of the day. I think the track tightened up a lot during the red. Seemed like our car got better from that point on. We were too loose up to that point.”

When Edwards and Johnson came to pit road in the rain on Lap 128, Kahne inherited the lead, followed by Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin, Greg Biffle and Martin. The winner of the June race at Pocono, Kahne didn’t want to see the race resume after the stoppage.

“I think it will probably go green again—maybe not—but (crew chief) Kenny (Francis) said to stay out,” Kahne said during the delay. “I’d just rather call it a day. I think we’re a second-place car to Carl Edwards right now.”

As it turned out, the race resumed, and Kahne was half right. Edwards was indeed the class of the field, but the one extra pit stop Kahne was forced to make dropped him to seventh at the finish.

The race wasn’t a lap old when Joe Nemechek spun Kevin Harvick in the Tunnel Turn (Turn 2), but Harvick warded off the potential damage to his attempt to reenter the top 12 in the championship standings by climbing back to fourth by the end of the race. Harvick is 11th in the point standings now.

Kenseth, who finished 11th Sunday, dropped to 13th in the championship standings, 11 points behind Bowyer in 12th.

Notes: Ragan held 14th place in the standings but moved to 46 points behind Bowyer in 12th . ... Johnson posted his ninth top-10 finish in 14 races at Pocono. … With a 12th-place run, Dale Earnhardt Jr. trimmed the points lead of 36th-place finisher Kyle Busch to 176. With two laps left, Busch was assessed a pass-through penalty for a commitment line violation.

Results

FIN

ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 15 99 Carl Edwards Ford Office Depot 190/5 200 Running
2 20 20 Tony Stewart Toyota The Home Depot 170/0 200 Running
3 1 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's 170/5 200 Running
4 21 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Shell / Pennzoil 160/0 200 Running
5 16 6 David Ragan Ford AAA Insurance 160/5 200 Running
6 30 07 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet Jack Daniel's 150/0 200 Running
7 7 9 Kasey Kahne Dodge Budweiser 151/5 200 Running
8 2 8 Mark Martin Chevrolet Steak-umm Burgers 152/10 200 Running
9 41 26 Jamie McMurray Ford Crown Royal 143/5 200 Running
10 4 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet DuPont 134/0 200 Running
11 5 17 Matt Kenseth Ford DEWALT 135/5 200 Running
12 12 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet AMP Energy / National Guard 132/5 200 Running
13 9 16 Greg Biffle Ford DISH Network Turbo HD 129/5 200 Running
14 6 12 Ryan Newman Dodge Avis 121/0 200 Running
15 17 1 Martin Truex Jr. Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Tracker 118/0 200 Running
16 19 28 Travis Kvapil Ford Hitachi Power Tools 115/0 200 Running
17 34 45 Chad McCumbee Dodge Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil 112/0 200 Running
18 18 70 Tony Raines Chevrolet Haas Automation 109/0 200 Running
19 31 84 A.J. Allmendinger Toyota Red Bull 106/0 200 Running
20 37 21 Bill Elliott Ford Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies 108/5 200 Running
21 39 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet AT&T Team USA 100/0 200 Running
22 33 5 Casey Mears Chevrolet Cheez-It / CARQUEST 97/0 200 Running
23 14 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Express 94/0 200 Running
24 35 00 Michael McDowell * Toyota Champion Mortgage 91/0 200 Running
25 36 01 Regan Smith * Chevrolet DEI / Principal Financial Group 88/0 200 Running
26 26 77 Sam Hornish Jr. * Dodge Mobil 1 85/0 200 Running
27 29 19 Elliott Sadler Dodge Best Buy / Garmin 82/0 200 Running
28 8 83 Brian Vickers Toyota Red Bull 79/0 200 In Pit
29 40 66 Scott Riggs Chevrolet Haas Automation 81/5 200 Running
30 28 44 David Reutimann Toyota UPS 73/0 200 In Pit
31 24 22 Dave Blaney Toyota Caterpillar 70/0 198 Running
32 25 10 Terry Labonte Dodge Charter Comm. 67/0 198 Running
33 11 43 Bobby Labonte Dodge Cheerios / Betty Crocker 64/0 198 Running
34 3 38 David Gilliland Ford FreeCreditReport.com 61/0 198 Running
35 32 41 Reed Sorenson Dodge Target 58/0 198 Running
36 27 18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M's 55/0 198 Running
37 38 7 Robby Gordon Dodge Johns Manville / Menards 52/0 197 Running
38 10 2 Kurt Busch Dodge Miller Lite 54/5 197 Running
39 43 96 J.J. Yeley Toyota DLP HDTV 46/0 196 In Pit
40 13 42 Juan Montoya Dodge Texaco / Havoline 43/0 146 Out of Race
41 23 78 Joe Nemechek Chevrolet Furniture Row/ DenverMattress.com 40/0 138 In Pit
42 22 15 Paul Menard Chevrolet Energizer / Menards 37/0 137 Running
43 42 55 Michael Waltrip Toyota NAPA AUTO PARTS 39/5 24 Out of Race

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