Carl Edwards Win in Las Vegas, Tony Stewart Finishes Disappointing Second

Paul Carreau@@PaulCarreauAnalyst IMarch 6, 2011

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 06:  Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Scotts/Kellogg's Ford, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 6, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

Carl Edwards has won the Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Edwards took the lead with 23 laps to go after a round of green flag pit stops while Tony Stewart—who dominated much of the race—came home in second.

After a pit road penalty for leaving the box with equipment set Tony Stewart back in the field, they were forced to play catch-up. As a result, on a round of pit stops with 65 laps to go, Stewart took just two tires to get back out in front.

On the final round of pit stops, he was forced to take four fresh tires. Edwards meanwhile only took two tires on the last stop and as a result, turned what had previously been a three-second disadvantage into a two-second lead.

With seven laps to go, Stewart got around second place runner Juan Montoya, but was still nearly two seconds behind Edwards. With minimal lapped-traffic in front of him, Edwards was able to coast to a win, while Stewart was left pondering what might have been as he finished second.

Edwards spent virtually the entire day up at the front of the field, predominantly chasing Stewart. Stewart led 166 laps on the day. Edwards finished with 66 laps led.

It was no surprise to see a Roush Racing Ford in victory lane, as they were extremely fast all weekend long. Edwards' teammate Matt Kenseth won the pole for the race, but became a non-factor after having a flat tire on lap 13.

Kenseth was forced to go back into the pits to get the tire replaced and as a result, went a lap down. It wasn't until lap 197 that Kenseth was able to get back on the lead lap. He would ultimately rally back to finish in 11th place.

The story of the day seemed to be bad misfortune for many of the early contenders. Kyle Busch had two separate incidents. First, he cut a tire while running in second place. Then, just a few laps later while still on the lead lap, Busch had his engine expire, ending his day very early.

Greg Biffle was in contention until he ran out of fuel on a long green flag run. The team had warned him that they weren't sure if they got the fuel tank full on the previous pit stop and their suspicions were correct. The result was Biffle losing two laps and being taken out of contention.

Jeff Gordon, who had led two early laps and spent most of the first 196 laps running in the bottom half of the top 10, cut a tire on lap 197 and slammed the outside wall.

The result was a torn-up race car and a finish of 36th for the winner of last weekend's race at Phoenix.

In the end, it was a two-car battle as Stewart and Edwards had been the class of the field for most of the day. When the checkers were waving, it was Edwards earning the victory, which marks his third win in the last five Sprint Cup events dating back to last season.

Juan Montoya, Marcos Ambrose and Ryan Newman rounded out the rest of the top five.

The day was not all bad for Stewart. With his second place run, he is now the point leader tied with Kurt Busch. With his win, Edward jumps up to third, just seven points behind.


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