Dover, Del. (October 1st, 2012) – Carl Edwards got the nickname “Concrete Carl” years ago for his strong performances on concrete race tracks. Sunday at the “Monster Mile” of Dover Edwards lived up to that name earning a top-five finish at one of the toughest tracks on the circuit. The top five also happened to be the 700th top-five Sprint Cup finish for the Roush Fenway Racing organization since the first one in April 1988.
Edwards started the 400-lap race 15th and that was the farthest back he would be the entire race. The car needed some adjustments throughout the race, and the Fastenal Blue Team caught a break after the first pit stop. Edwards came to pit road on lap 68 for a normal green-flag stop but a caution flew the very next lap. He was able to beat the leader to the start/finish line to avoid going two laps down, and then took the wave around when the leaders pitted to return to the lead lap in eighth place.
When the race resumed only eight cars were on the lead lap. Since Edwards took the wave around he was forced to restart deep in the field behind several cars which were a lap down. He lost a lap to the leader during another green-flag stop on lap 145, but was able to regain it when he was awarded the lucky dog on lap 180.
Once again Edwards was on the lead lap in seventh place by halfway. He remained there for much of the second half of the race until the final caution came on lap 318. He was sixth when the race resumed and crew chief Chad Norris said he could make it to the end on fuel if he was able to conserve some.
After getting up to fifth place with 60 to go, Edwards backed his Fastenal Ford down a bit to ensure he had enough fuel to go the distance. He was eighth with 35 laps to go and Norris told him that several cars ahead of him would have to pit. Edwards drove a smart race in the closing laps to finish without stopping for fuel which gave him a fifth-place finish.
Brad Keselowski won the race followed by Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin, Jimmie Johnson and Edwards. Martin Truex, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer and Joey Logano rounded out the top 10.
“It was a decent finish,” Edwards said. “We didn’t deserve to finish that far forward, but we had some lucky breaks and my guys did a good job on pit road. Chad did a good job on pit stall selection and that really helped us. We’ll go back and work on it and figure out what we are missing there because it seemed like all of us struggled a bit. We wanted to get this Fastenal Fusion to Victory Lane, but we are happy with fifth place today.
“I was not going to come and pit. We can take all the chances we want. We’ve got nothing to lose and it’s kind of fun to race like that. I think I could have run up there and raced those guys, but we didn’t want to run out of fuel. I think we would have been greedy if we would have tried for more, so it was a good, solid day. I just can’t wait to get to Victory Lane for Fastenal.”
Edwards and the No. 99 Blue Team moved up to 14th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings. The next race will be Sunday, October 7 at Talladega SuperSpeedway. The race will begin at 2:00 p.m. (ET) on ESPN.