DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 7, 2009) – The 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series officially began on Saturday night with the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway. In the past, the Shootout was a race reserved for pole winners from the previous season, however this year the format changed and the top seven cars from each manufacturer were allowed in the race. Carl Edwards and the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion team were one of the 28 teams in the Shootout and had high hopes heading into the 75-lap non-points event. Edwards started the race in 11th place and led twice for 11 laps; however on the green-white-checker finish Edwards who restarted third, fell back to seventh place where he ultimately finished the race.
Paul Menard led the 28-car field to the green flag. By the fourth lap the first of eight yellow flags was waved due to a multi-car accident. Edwards escaped the melee unscathed and was scored in 12th place when the race restarted on lap eight.
On lap 18 Edwards took the led and maintained position for seven laps. At the end of the first segment at 25 laps, Edwards brought his Aflac Ford down pit road for the first time of the evening. Reporting to be pleased with the handling of the No. 99, four tires and fuel was the only servicing Edwards requested for his Fusion.
Ten minutes later, the race restarted with Edwards as the race leader. By lap 30, Edwards had fallen to ninth when yet another caution stalled the race. Crew Chief Bob Osborne called Edwards to pit road on lap 33 for four tires and fuel. After a swift 12.5 second pit stop, Edwards exited the pits in fifth place.
In the closing laps of the race, Edwards would be shuffled throughout the field several times during the race – running as low as 18th place. In spite of this, he avoided four multi-car crashes and brought the Aflac Ford home in one piece in seventh place.
Kevin Harvick drove his Richard Childress Chevrolet to the front of the field on the very last lap of the Shootout to capture one of the wildest victories in the history of Daytona International Speedway. Harvick cruised across the finish line after a split-second crash behind him and runner-up Jamie McMurray wiped out a group of contenders, including defending Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson, contenders Kyle Busch and Brian Vickers, as well as Casey Mears and pole-sitter Paul Menard. Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon and A.J. Allmendinger avoided the mess to complete the top five.
“The 500 is gonna be wild if it is anything like tonight,” said Edwards. “This race was exciting. I’m lucky that car is the same shape we started out with. We made it through at the end in seventh. There were times when we were leading, that was good, but that was all we could get today. It was just a mess. I don’t know what I’m gonna do for the 500. I guess you just go as hard as you can. I don’t know. It’s pretty wild. I don’t know if it’s just been a long winter or if that’s really as wild as it seems, but that seems like the wildest race I’ve been a part of.”
Up next for Edwards and the No. 99 crew is the Daytona 500. FOX television and MRN radio affiliates will carry the live broadcast beginning at 3:00 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, February 15.
About Roush Fenway Racing
Roush Fenway Racing is NASCAR’s largest team operating nine motorsports teams. Five in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with drivers Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and David Ragan; three in the Nationwide Series with Kenseth, Biffle, Edwards, McMurray, Ragan, Erik Darnell, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and Colin Braun; and one in the Camping World Truck Series with Braun.