February 15, 2008 9:04 AM

Carl Edwards Finishes Fifth in the First Race of the Gatorade Duels

Starts 50th Running of Daytona 500 in 11th

DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. (Feb. 14, 2008) – Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford, qualified 31st on Sunday, positioning him 15th in the first of two qualifying races known as The Gatorade Duel at Daytona International Speedway. Despite being the only Roush Fenway Racing driver in the first race and only one of three Ford Racing competitors in the race, Edwards managed to wheel his way to a fifth-place finish and an 11th-place starting spot for Sunday’s Daytona 500.

The green flag dropped, signaling the start of the 60 lap qualifying event, and Edwards, in the Office Depot Fusion, was scored in eighth place as several cars dropped to the rear. For the better part of the first 30 laps Edwards kept the No. 99 inside the top five – even leading on lap 14. Though Edwards reported that his Ford was “fine,” he would not maintain his top-five running position for much of the second half of the race.

On lap 34, Edwards brought the No. 99 down pit road for green flag servicing. Four tires and fuel were prescribed by crew chief Bob Osborne and Edwards was back on the track in 20th place – down 13 spots from seventh, due to pitting off sequence with the lead cars.

Though Edwards’ lap times were matching that of the leader, he was stuck on the track without drafting help and unable to gain positions. Edwards ran in and around 20th place for about 20 laps. A caution on lap 55 enabled Edwards to get caught up with the pack and set the stage for a three-lap shootout to the finish.

Edwards took the final green flag on lap 58 in eighth place and charged his way up to fifth position by the time the checkers waved.

For the second time in 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup competition, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was the winner. Reed Sorenson, Ryan Newman, Casey Mears and Edwards rounded out the top five.

Next up for Edwards and the No. 99 Office Depot team is the Daytona 500. The Great American Race is slated for Sunday, February 17 at 2:00 p.m. ET. FOX television and MRN radio affiliates will carry the live broadcast.

Carl Edwards Quote:

(Finished Fifth)“We’ve got a really good Office Depot Fusion for Sunday. It’s gonna be a fun race and I’m really looking forward to the 500. I had a good time out there today, but lacked the drafting help I needed. Sunday’s race is going to be interesting. The tires are gonna fall off and then there are gonna be people that get tires, so it’s gonna be a real strategy race. It’s gonna be a lot of fun. I’m really happy about my car. It’s good.”

About Roush Fenway Racing

Roush Fenway Racing operates 13 full-time motorsports teams, five in NASCAR Sprint Cup with drivers Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and David Ragan; four in the Nationwide Series with Kenseth, Biffle, Edwards, McMurray, Ragan, Erik Darnell and Colin Braun; three in the Craftsman Truck Series with Darnell, Braun and Joey Clanton; and one in the ARCA RE/MAX Series with Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.

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