DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 15, 2009) – Carl Edwards and the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion team enjoyed a fairly successful start to the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, posting top-10 finishes in the Bud Shootout as well as the Gatorade Duels. So heading into Sunday’s 51st running of the Daytona 500, the team was optimistic and poised for another strong finish. Edwards started the Daytona 500 16th and ran as high as second place. On lap 125 Edwards was caught up in a multi-car accident and the No. 99 Aflac Ford suffered damage to the splitter. Though the No. 99 team was able to keep Edwards on the lead lap through a series of pit stops to repair the damages, valuable track position was lost. Shortly after Edwards’ Ford was mended the race was red flagged and ultimately called due to rain. Edwards finished the race in 18th place. Roush Fenway Racing teammate, Matt Kenseth was the winner. .
Edwards had a good Ford for Sunday’s 152-lap (shortened due to rain) race at Daytona International Speedway and it showed on numerous occasions. After taking the green flag in 16th position, Edwards moved up through the field seemingly effortlessly and by his first trip to pit road on lap 25 under caution, Edwards was scored in third place. With only minor air pressure adjustments needed the Aflac Team had Edwards in and out of the pits quickly.
For just over 90 laps Edwards ran inside the top 15 and made four scheduled pit stops. No adjustments were made to the No. 99 as Edwards was pleased with its handling. But, just as things were looking good for the Aflac team, trouble struck and their luck would change. On lap 125 an accident was triggered when Brian Vickers moved over to block Dale Earnhardt, Jr. near the end of the backstretch. Earnhardt was forced off the track onto the apron and into the grass. When Earnhardt tried to steer his sliding car back on the track, he clipped the rear end of Vickers' Toyota, sending Vickers shooting across the track directly in front of the oncoming field of 200-mph stock cars. The accident collected many of the race’s top contenders. Though Edwards’ Aflac Ford was not terminally damaged, the wreck caused the splitter to nearly detach from the front of the No. 99, which resulted in six trips down pit road to try to repair it.
By lap 131 when the mess was cleared and green flag racing resumed, Edwards who was running third prior to the wreck, was now scored in 29th place. Determined as ever, Edwards climbed up to 18th by lap 143 when yet another caution flag was waved. Unfortunately for team 99, this caution would be the last. Rain began to fall and on 152 the race was red flagged and ultimately called.
“My car was good,” said Edwards. I damaged the front splitter and that threw the handling off some but I was still about to make up a little ground before the rain fell. We were just very lucky to get through that mess without more damage than we got.
Edwards continued, “You know, it’s awesome to see a Ford in Victory Lane here at Daytona. I’m really happy for my teammate, Matt Kenseth and his whole team.”
Matt Kenseth who somehow dodged a huge pileup on lap 125 was scored in first place and was declared the race winner. Kevin Harvick was second, followed by AJ Allmendinger, Clint Bowyer, Elliott Sadler and Roush Fenway Racing driver David Ragan was sixth.
Edwards and the No. 99 Aflac Team will race next at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calf. on Sunday, Feb. 22. FOX television and MRN radio affiliates will carry the live broadcast beginning at 6:00 p.m. (ET).
Edwards’ Daytona 500 Results
Fastest Laps: One
Laps in top 15: 114
Edwards’ 2009 Cumulative Record
Races: 1 of 36
Top 5s: 0
Top 10s: 0
Top 15s: 0
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.