Edwards wins Sprint Cup Kobalt Tools 500

Hamlin guesses wrong on gas

With one race left, Johnson still seen as one to beat

November 14, 2010|By Jim Peltz, Tribune Newspapers

AVONDALE, Ariz. — Four times Jimmie Johnson came to the Arizona desert in November, and four times he left with either a win or another strong finish that propelled him to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.

Johnson didn't win this fall, but he still might have the momentum yet again in his "drive for five" -- five consecutive titles, that is -- courtesy of Denny Hamlin and Hamlin's Joe Gibbs Racing team.

Hamlin dominated most of the Kobalt Tools 500 on Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway, only to see the win slip away when forced to pit his No. 11 Toyota for fuel with just 14 laps left in the 312-lap race.

Carl Edwards stretched the fuel mileage of his No. 99 Ford to win the race, ending a 70-race winless streak. Johnson and Kevin Harvick also went the distance and finished well to further tighten NASCAR's Chase for the Cup title playoff with only one race remaining in the season.

Hamlin now leads Johnson in the title standings by only 15 points, and Harvick by 46 points, heading into the season finale next weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida. The other nine drivers in the 10-race Chase have been mathematically eliminated.

Johnson and Harvick finished Sunday's race in fifth and sixth, respectively, while Hamlin finished 12th.

After the race, Johnson talked about "putting all that pressure right on the 11" and that "I would love to come back and win [the title] from behind." And Edwards said "I still feel Jimmie Johnson is the guy to beat" for the championship.

Hamlin was crestfallen. At his post-race news conference, the somber-looking Virginian said he didn't know why his car didn't get the fuel mileage as the other leaders, but he vowed to bounce back.

Ryan Newman finished second in the race, Hamlin teammate Joey Logano was third and Edwards teammate Greg Biffle was fourth.

It appeared Harvick's title hopes were dashed just past the halfway point when his crew left a lug nut off one of his wheels during a pit stop while he was running in the top 10. That forced his No. 29 Chevrolet back to the pits, dropping him to 18th. But he also got enough fuel to go the distance.

"An hour ago, I would have told you we were done," but in the end "[we] still have a shot," Harvick said.

So does Hamlin, of course, especially because he's the defending winner at Homestead-Miami. Johnson and Harvick, in turn, have never won at the 1.5-mile track.

AT PHOENIX INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY

AVONDALE, ARIZ.

Lap length: 1 mile

(Start position in parentheses)

1. (1) Carl Edwards, Ford, 312 laps, $247,098.

2. (18) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 312, $190,529.

3. (10) Joey Logano, Toyota, 312, $165,690.

4. (4) Greg Biffle, Ford, 312, $119,550.

5. (21) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 312, $160,303.

6. (29) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 312, $140,951.

7. (15) Matt Kenseth, Ford, 312, $130,101.

8. (28) Mark Martin, Chevrolet, 312, $103,725.

9. (3) Kurt Busch, Dodge, 312, $128,148.

10. (5) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 312, $114,954.

11. (22) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 312, $121,251.

12. (17) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 312, $103,300.

13. (7) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 312, $119,881.

14. (31) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 312, $81,975.

15. (11) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 312, $73,950.

16. (35) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 312, $108,081.

17. (20) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 312, $107,548.

18. (2) A J Allmendinger, Ford, 312, $109,251.

19. (40) Jeff Burton, Chevrolet, 312, $105,990.

20. (26) Bobby Labonte, Chevrolet, 311, $72,875.

21. (14) Clint Bowyer, Chevrolet, 311, $78,525.

22. (13) Marcos Ambrose, Toyota, 311, $96,823.

23. (8) Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 311, $78,025.

24. (24) Casey Mears, Toyota, 311, $70,725.

25. (12) David Ragan, Ford, 310, $78,400.

26. (6) David Reutimann, Toyota, 310, $99,731.

27. (9) Aric Almirola, Ford, 310, $108,590.

28. (23) Elliott Sadler, Ford, 310, $76,950.

29. (19) Paul Menard, Ford, 310, $76,825.

30. (25) Kasey Kahne, Toyota, 310, $107,148.

31. (33) J.J. Yeley, Ford, 309, $78,575.

32. (16) Sam Hornish Jr., Dodge, 309, $73,400.

33. (34) Robby Gordon, Toyota, 308, $82,798.

34. (38) Travis Kvapil, Ford, 308, $83,910.

35. (27) Scott Speed, Toyota, 307, $79,598.

36. (42) Tony Raines, Ford, 306, $64,875.

37. (32) Dave Blaney, Chevrolet, 306, $64,750.

38. (37) David Gilliland, Ford, br, 274, $76,698.

39. (36) Mike Bliss, Toyota, ovh, 193, $64,500.

40. (39) Landon Cassill, Toyota, rear gear, 191, $64,350.

41. (43) Terry Labonte, Dodge, electrical, 190, $64,190.

42. (30) Brad Keselowski, Dodge, acc, 58, $90,825.

43. (41) Brendan Gaughan, Chevrolet, acc, 1, $64,447.

Average speed of race winner: 110.758 mph.

Time of race: 2 hours, 49 minutes, 1 second.

Margin of victory: 4.770 seconds.

Caution flags: 5 for 25 laps.

Lead changes: 13 among 6 drivers.

Leaders summary (driver, times led, laps led): D.Hamlin, 4 times for 190 laps; C.Edwards, 5 times for 93 laps; Ku.Busch, 1 time for 20 laps; Ky.Busch, 2 times for 6 laps; B.Labonte, 1 time for 2 laps; M.Kenseth, 1 time for 1 lap.

Top 12 in points: 1. D.Hamlin, 6,462; 2. J.Johnson, 6,447; 3. K.Harvick, 6,416; 4. C.Edwards, 6,198; 5. M.Kenseth, 6,151; 6. J.Gordon, 6,124; 7. Ky.Busch, 6,115; 8. G.Biffle, 6,113; 9. T.Stewart, 6,074; 10. Ku.Busch, 6,033; 11. C.Bowyer, 6,028; 12. J.Burton, 5,958.

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.