Earns 16th-Place Starting Spot for Daytona 500
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 12, 2009) – Carl Edwards started 14th and worked his way into the top five in Thursday’s second session of the Gatorade Duels, at Daytona International Speedway, but being one of only four Fords in the race and the only Roush Fenway Racing Ford in the event, Edwards was shuffled throughout the field for much of the race. That coupled with two uncharacteristically poor pit stops by the No. 99 team left Edwards with little to lean on, but a “good car”. Fortunately he had just that and managed to finish the 60-lap qualifying event in eighth place. Edwards will roll off 16th in Sunday’s Daytona 500.
Edwards gave kudos to the handling of his Aflac Ford for the majority of the race in spite of being stuck mid-pack. Though his Ford was reported to be “fast” and “good handling”, Edwards had trouble finding a drafting partner. A caution on lap 14 should have been the break Edwards was looking for, but a slow pit stop left him mid-pack once again.
On lap 47, Edwards had worked his way up to fifth place when the race’s second and final caution fell and the field made their way to pit road for the race’s final pit stops. After clocking pit stops of 12 seconds or less during Saturday night’s Bud Shootout, Edwards was confident that his crew could get him in and out ahead of the pack. However, that wouldn’t be the case; as yet another poor pit stop relegated Edwards to 20th position for the lap 50 restart.
Down, but not out, Edwards picked off the competition one-by-one and captured the checkers in eighth place. Kyle Busch got a shove from teammate Denny Hamlin with just a couple laps remaining to pass Mark Martin and win the second Gatorade 150 Qualifying Race for Sunday's Daytona 500. Martin led several laps before finishing second ahead of Brian Vickers. Juan Pablo Montoya passed Hamlin on the final lap to finish fourth. Bobby Labonte was sixth in the No. 96 Ask.com Ford. Rounding out the top 10 were Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Edwards, Jeremy Mayfield, and AJ Allmendinger.
The eighth-place finish for Edwards qualifies him 16th for Sunday’s Daytona 500. FOX television and MRN radio affiliates will carry the live broadcast beginning at 3:00 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, February 15.
“I learned a lot,” said Edwards. “We’ve got a really good car. I wasn’t really saving much. Basically, we have a really good car, and they say we have a really good back-up car, so I wasn’t just racing really hard.
“It’s good to start the season off strong. I hope we make it through practice without wrecking this thing, and I hope we make through the end of the 500.”
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.