Edwards finally wins, in Nationwide

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“We’re proud of winning the race here last year and we’re pleased with how we’ve gone this year,” Ambrose said. “We’re not a super team, but we’re a really strong two-car team, probably one of the strongest out there right now. We feel like we’ve had a good year, but not a great year, and we need to finish off really strong.”

This will be the first race since Dodge announced Tuesday that it was leaving NASCAR at season’s end. For Ambrose, who drives the No. 9 Ford for RPM, it’s not good news.

RPM is still looking at all their options as far as manufacturers go,” said Ambrose, who won the pole on the road course at Sonoma in June but finished sixth. “I think for the sport, Dodge pulling out was not a great thing. It’s been really healthy to have four manufacturers in the sport, so as a fan of NASCAR I’m disappointed that Dodge made that choice, but I understand it.

“For us, we’re building to the future at RPM and I look forward to playing my part and helping them make good choices. I think it’s exciting times for RPM. They’ve got a lot of options.”

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NOT SO CLOSE ANYMORE: Tony Stewart won his third Sprint Cup title last year with a huge amount of help from Hendrick Motorsports.

Stewart-Haas Racing still gets its engines and technical assistance from Hendrick, but that relationship isn’t quite so close since Stewart fired crew chief Darian Grubb after winning five races in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship last year.

Grubb, who worked at Hendrick for several years, has moved to Joe Gibbs Racing and SHR no longer sits in on Tuesday meetings at Hendrick every week.

“It’s not that we don’t need to go, it’s just that Darian had a unique relationship with Hendrick,” Stewart said. “The information still is an open book back and forth, so we are still sharing the same amount of information.”

Hendrick driver Jeff Gordon agreed.

“We definitely had a good relationship with Darian when he went over there. It was kind of a mutually agreed-upon situation that was a positive for everybody,” Gordon said. “But it’s still an open book, and when we need to reach out to them, they are great. And when they need to reach out to us, we are just as open. But they are not involved in our meetings as much as I actually would like them to be.”

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ROAD KINGS NO MORE: Once upon a time and not so long ago, you could almost pencil in the names of either Jeff Gordon or Tony Stewart to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup road races at Sonoma and Watkins Glen.

Not so anymore, even though the dynamic duo, the top two road racers in NASCAR history, have combined to win nine races at The Glen and seven at Infineon.

The times, they sure have changed. Marcos Ambrose, Kyle Busch, and Juan Pablo Montoya have won three of the past four races at The Glen, while Kurt and Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, Jimmie Johnson, Montoya, and Clint Bowyer in June have won the last six races at Sonoma.

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