Concord, N.C. (Oct. 19, 2012) – While Roush Fenway Racing has posted a NASCAR record 309 wins during its “25 Winning Years” of NASCAR racing, the team has also finished in second place an additional 278 times. And while some may point out that the runner up is only the first loser, any racing enthusiast knows that in order to take home the checkered flag; you first have to be in position to do so.
Each of Roush Fenway’s 278 runner-up finishes carries a different story; some of dramatic comebacks that fell just short and others of a great day foiled on a last-second pass or off-track miscue.
Roush Fenway posted its first runner-up finish in just its sixth outing at Bristol in 1988. The team would finish second six times before breaking into the win column in the fall of 1989 at Rockingham. RFR has posted 12 runner-up finishes at Pocono, where it finished second 11 times before finally breaking into the win column in 2005. In 1998 former Roush Fenway driver Mark Martin, who finished runner-up for the Cup championship four times at RFR, posted four consecutive second-place finishes in the summer of 1998. In addition, RFR driver Kurt Busch’s runner-up finish to Ricky Craven in the Sprint Cup race at Darlington in 2003 may very well be the closest and most dramatic finish in NASCAR history.
However, Carl Edwards’ runner-up finish at his ‘home track’ of Kansas Speedway in 2008 will most likely stand the test of time in terms of one of the most daring runner-up finishes – not only in RFR history, but in racing history as well.
With the laps winding down, Edwards seemed to find something in his No. 99 Ford and spent the last several laps chasing down leader Jimmie Johnson. Edwards’ attempt at the victory concluded with a last corner pass attempt that saw Edwards drive in low in the turn and pass Johnson, before moving up the track and slamming into the wall. Still, through it all he stayed on the gas holding onto second as Johnson went back around him. Despite the fact he was unable to hold on for the win, Edwards settled for what is most likely the most daring runner-up finish in NASCAR history.
“I planned on hitting the wall, but I didn’t plan on the wall slowing me down that much,” said Edwards after the race.
"In video games, you can just run into the wall and run it wide open. That's what I did, but it didn't quite work out the same as the video game. I just really, really wanted to win this race,” added the Missouri native. “I feel bad for tearing up (the) car intentionally. I just want to win this race more than any race on the schedule.”
“I was so in awe of how far he drove it in,” said Johnson after the race. “I watched him pound the wall and get back in the gas and thought, ‘Man, he’s serious about this win. I’d better get back in the gas myself.’”
The day also marked a strong outing for the rest of the Roush Fenway stable, with Greg Biffle winning a drag race to the finish for third over Jeff Gordon. Matt Kenseth finished fifth and David Ragan was eighth as Roush Fenway placed four cars inside the top 10.
All-in-all Roush Fenway Racing has posted 137 runner-up finishes in the Sprint Cup Series, 100 in the Nationwide Series and 41 in Trucks.
Roush Fenway will look to one-up Edwards’ 2008 Kansas performance this weekend when it goes for its fourth Sprint Cup win at the 1.5-mile track this Sunday. The race is set for 2 p.m. EDT and will be televised live on ESPN.
Roush Fenway Racing is the winningest team in NASCAR history, fielding multiple teams in the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series with championship drivers Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Trevor Bayne. Celebrating 25 winning years in 2012, Roush Fenway is the leader in NASCAR marketing solutions, pioneering motorsport’s first team-focused TV program and its award-winning social marketing campaign RickyvsTrevor.com. Visit www.RoushFenway.com, circle on Google+ at +Roush Fenway Racing, become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/roushfenway and follow on Twitter at @roushfenway.