Brooklyn, Mich. (June 14, 2009) – Michigan International Speedway holds a lot of personal history for Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion. It is where he made his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start, where he made his 100th Cup start and where he broke a 52-race winless streak with a win in June of 2007 – statistically Michigan ranks as one of Edwards’ best finishing tracks. So, to say the least, Edwards and the No. 99 Aflac team were optimistic heading into this weekend’s LifeLock 400 at the 2.0-mile track. But with rain forecasted for Saturday, crew chief Bob Osborne opted to spend Friday’s practice session working on race setup, as result Edwards qualified the No. 99 a less than stellar 29th for Sunday’s race. Facing an uphill battle, the Aflac team worked throughout the 200-lap event to get Edwards to the front, with consistent pit stops, proper adjustments and in the end smart fuel-saving driving, Edwards was able to make the most of his day and bring home a fourth-place finish.
Edwards took the green flag from the 29th position and had moved up to 15th place by the round of green flag pit stops on lap 39. Since Edwards reported that his Ford was “tight in the center and loose off,” Osborne called for an air pressure change, along with four tires and fuel during the pit stop. When the field cycled through on lap 42, Edwards was still scored in 15th position.
Edwards worked to pick off the competition over the next two runs and by lap 120 he had made is way to eighth place, though he still reported handling woes.
A lap 149 caution would set the stage for the final pit stop and the fuel mileage game would ensue. Edwards pitted for four tires, fuel, air pressure and track bar adjustments and with just 44 laps remaining in the race, Edwards took the green flag in 11th place. Osborne directed Edwards to use “long gears”, as they were a half-lap from completing the race fuel-wise.
With just 20 laps remaining in the race the No. 99 was running sixth, but the race appeared to be a two-man show between Jimmie Johnson and Roush Fenway Racing’s Greg Biffle. But, Johnson, who led 146 of 200 laps, ran out of fuel just before the white flag waved and coasted into the pits to refuel and ultimately finished 22nd. Biffle, who ran out of fuel on the backstretch of the final lap, rolled home in fifth place. Mark Martin was the beneficiary of the victory, after the misfortunes of Johnson and Biffle. Martin crossed the finish line ahead of Hendrick Motorsports teammate and runner-up Jeff Gordon. Denny Hamlin was third, and Edwards fourth. Juan Pablo Montoya, Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch, pole-sitter Brian Vickers and Clint Bowyer completed the top 10.
“Our Aflac team performed well. It was a good, solid points day,” said Edwards. “We didn’t run quite as well as we wanted to, but I’m just glad to see all these fans out here enjoying the sport – and Aflac, Ford, Subway, all my sponsors, I appreciate it.”
Edwards continued, “Fords get the best fuel mileage in the world on the street, and we can usually do it here at the race track. I wanted to have a Ford in Victory Lane. I knew this Aflac Fusion wasn’t good enough, but we still got a good finish out of it. My guys did a good job and we’ve got something to build on.”
With their second top-five finish in as many weeks, Edwards and the No. 99 Aflac team remain in sixth position in the NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings, 262 markers behind points leader Tony Stewart. The Sprint Cup Series races next at Infineon Raceway on Sunday, June 21, 2009. TNT television and PRN radio affiliates will carry the live race broadcast.
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. For more information on any of the Roush Fenway Racing teams, log onto www.RoushFenway.com. For sponsorship inquiries please contact Robin Johnson at 704.720.4645.
For more than 50 years, Aflac products have given policyholders the opportunity to direct cash where it is needed most when a life-interrupting medical event causes financial challenges. As the number one provider of guaranteed-renewable insurance in the United States and the number one insurance company in terms of individual insurance policies in force in Japan, Aflac insurance products provide protection to more than 40 million people worldwide. In 2009, Aflac was recognized by Ethisphere magazine as one of the World's Most Ethical Companies for the third consecutive year and was also named by the Reputation Institute as the Most Reputable Company in the Global Insurance Industry for the second consecutive year. In 2009 Fortune magazine recognized Aflac as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America for the eleventh consecutive year. Fortune magazine also ranked Aflac No. 1 on its global list of the Most Admired Companies in the Life and Health Insurance category. Aflac appears on Hispanic Enterprise magazine's list of the 50 Best Companies for Supplier Diversity and on Black Enterprise magazine's list of the 40 Best Companies for Diversity. Aflac was also named by Forbes magazine as America's Best-Managed Company in the Insurance category. Aflac Incorporated is a Fortune 500 company listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol AFL. To find out more about Aflac, visit aflac.com.
Edwards’ Michigan Results
Edwards’ 2009 Cumulative Record
Races: 15 of 36
Behind Leader: -262
Top 5s: Four
Top 10s: Eight
Top 15s: Nine