Edwards wins Richmond as Sprint Cup Chase field set

Edwards wins Richmond as Sprint Cup Chase field set

Cup Series

Edwards wins Richmond as Sprint Cup Chase field set

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Carl Edwards won the Richmond NASCAR Sprint Cup race as the Chase field was set and Jeff Gordon and Brad Keselowski headlined those missing out.

Kurt Busch sealed his and the underdog Furniture Row’s Chase place with a battling runner-up spot, while Ryan Newman narrowly missed out on a title shot despite a storming late-race performance that ended with third place.

For most of the evening the lead fight was between Kurt Busch and Keselowski, in a fascinating contest that varied as their cars surged or slumped across stints and Furniture Row either had sublime or troubled pit stops. Keselowski dropped out of contention when the yellow came out midway through the penultimate pit stop sequence following a crash for Jimmie Johnson. The same misfortune also interrupted Kevin Harvick’s victory bid just as he had hit the front, with both having pitted and dropped back moments before the caution.

Into the closing stages Roush Fenway driver Edwards and Kurt Busch were making the running, until Newman suddenly began a blistering charge from seventh to first. A win would have cemented his Chase place, but when Clint Bowyer another earlier leader spun in the final laps, the leaders all pitted and Newman fell back again.

He could only get back to third, as Edwards beat Paul Menard (who took just two tires at the stops) away at the final restart and then held Busch at bay to clinch a win that made him top scorer of the “regular” season..

Jamie McMurray was competitive throughout on the way to fourth ahead of Menard and brief race leader Matt Kenseth. Martin Truex Jr. scapped to seventh place and therefore earned the final Chase wild card spot on a tie-break over Newman.

Polesitter Gordon led for the first 49 laps then began tumbling backwards with high tire wear. A loose wheel then left him two laps down and outside the top 20, before he fought back to an eighth place that was not quite sufficient for the Chase.

Keselowski’s hopes of a successful title defense faded away as he ultimately finished only 17th. His Penske teammate Joey Logano was off the pace all night and finished a distant 22nd, but clung on to a Chase spot.

It was a terrible race for erstwhile outright points leader Johnson. Having missed qualifying due to the birth of his second daughter, Johnson struggled to make any progress from the back. A pitlane speeding penalty and a battery problem delayed him further even before his tire-induced crash.

Results - 400 laps:Pos  Driver              Team/Car                         Time/Gap 1.  Carl Edwards        Roush Fenway Ford            2h51m53.000s 2.  Kurt Busch          Furniture Row Chevrolet           +0.669s 3.  Ryan Newman         Stewart-Haas Chevrolet            +0.812s 4.  Jamie McMurray      Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet       +1.766s 5.  Paul Menard         Childress Chevrolet               +2.024s 6.  Matt Kenseth        Joe Gibbs Toyota                  +2.124s 7.  Martin Truex Jr     Waltrip Toyota                    +2.310s 8.  Jeff Gordon         Hendrick Chevrolet                +2.520s 9.  Mark Martin         Stewart-Haas Chevrolet            +2.889s10.  Ricky Stenhouse Jr  Roush Fenway Ford                 +2.925s11.  Kevin Harvick       Childress Chevrolet               +3.027s12.  Greg Biffle         Roush Fenway Ford                 +3.103s13.  Dale Earnhardt Jr   Hendrick Chevrolet                +3.363s14.  Kasey Kahne         Hendrick Chevrolet                +3.520s15.  AJ Allmendinger     JTG Daugherty Toyota              +3.643s16.  Juan Pablo Montoya  Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet       +3.694s17.  Brad Keselowski     Penske Ford                       +3.745s18.  Jeff Burton         Childress Chevrolet               +4.011s19.  Kyle Busch          Joe Gibbs Toyota                  +4.907s20.  Aric Almirola       Petty Ford                        +5.241s21.  Denny Hamlin        Joe Gibbs Toyota                   +1 lap22.  Joey Logano         Penske Ford                        +1 lap23.  David Gilliland     Front Row Ford                     +1 lap24.  Brian Vickers       Waltrip Toyota                     +1 lap25.  Clint Bowyer        Waltrip Toyota                    +2 laps26.  Casey Mears         Germain Ford                      +3 laps27.  Marcos Ambrose      Petty Ford                        +3 laps28.  Travis Kvapil       BK Toyota                         +3 laps29.  David Ragan         Front Row Ford                    +3 laps30.  Danica Patrick      Stewart-Haas Chevrolet            +4 laps31.  Dave Blaney         Baldwin Chevrolet                 +4 laps32.  David Reutimann     BK Toyota                         +5 laps33.  Tony Raines         Circle Sport Chevrolet            +5 laps34.  Landon Cassill      Hillman Chevrolet                 +5 laps35.  Ryan Truex          Phoenix Chevrolet                 +5 laps36.  JJ Yeley            Baldwin Chevrolet                 +7 laps37.  Ken Schrader        FAS Lane Ford                     +7 laps38.  David Stremme       Swan Toyota                       +9 laps39.  Joe Nemechek        NEMCO Toyota                     +12 laps40.  Jimmie Johnson      Hendrick Chevrolet               +28 lapsRetirements:     Josh Wise           Front Row Ford                   142 laps     Reed Sorenson       Leavine Ford                     126 laps     Michael McDowell    Parsons Ford                      76 laps

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