With Two Races Remaining in the ‘Chase’ for the NEXTEL Cup, Edwards Holds on to Fifth Place in the Standings Carl Edwards and the No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion Racing Team
JUSTIN, Tex. (Nov. 4, 2007) – After clinching the NASCAR Busch Series Championship on Saturday afternoon at Texas Motor Speedway, Carl Edwards headed into Sunday’s Dickie’s 500 with confidence – focused on another Championship, the NEXTEL Cup. Though Edwards and the No. 99 Office Depot team would have a competitive race car capable of running in the top five, a sway bar malfunction early in the race would prove to be a major setback. Despite the obstacles, Edwards and the Office Depot team never gave up and ultimately brought home a 26th-place finish.
Under warm, sunny skies Martin Truex, Jr. led the 43-car field to the green flag. Edwards rolled off the starting grid 21st. Quickly, he began to gain track position and by the first caution of the race on lap 14, Edwards was running 14th. Edwards reported that his Office Depot Ford was “pretty good” and crew chief, Bob Osborne called him to pit road for two tires only. Edwards was running fifth on lap 18 when green flag racing commenced.
Over the next 10 laps Edwards gradually lost track positions and reported that the No. 99 was handling “unbelievably tight”. On the next caution on lap 28, Edwards was scored in 24th place when once again he made his way to pit road. Osborne directed the Office Depot team to bolt on four tires with an air pressure adjustment in hopes of remedying the tight handling issues. Edwards was in 30th place when he rejoined the race on lap 32.
Eighty-four laps and two pit stops later, Edwards was still struggling with a tight handling racecar, as no adjustments seemed to help loosen up the No. 99. A caution on lap 118 allowed Edwards to again make his way to pit road. Running one lap down to the leaders in 37th place, Edwards brought the Office Depot Ford into the pits on five different occasions during this caution period. The Office Depot crew found that the links in the sway bar were bound, preventing the car from traveling properly – and creating the tight handling conditions. After repairing the sway bar and returning the Office Depot Ford to its original setup, Edwards rejoined the competition on lap 140 in 36th place, three laps down.
With the Office Depot Ford repaired, Edwards took to the track to gain as much ground as possible. Despite turning some of the race’s fastest laps and holding his own against the top five cars, too much was lost and a 26th-place finish would be the best Edwards and crew could pull off.
“It’s just really disappointing to have such a freak thing happen when you have such a great racecar,” Edwards said. “My Office Depot Ford was great today and though we had our issues, my team never gave up and I’m really proud of their efforts. We had a top five car today, but lost three laps in the pits working on the sway bar. Its just one of those things that happens and it’s unfortunate. I’m just really proud of my team for not giving up and hopefully we’ll move on to Phoenix and have a great run there.”
Jimmie Johnson once again dominated the NEXTEL Cup Series, capturing his ninth victory of 2007. Roush Fenway Racing driver Matt Kenseth was second. Martin Truex, Jr., Kyle Busch and Ryan Newman followed to complete the top five.
Going into next Sunday’s race at Phoenix International Raceway – the next-to-last event of the season – the top six ‘Chase’ contenders still mathematically have a chance of winning the NEXTEL Cup Championship. The Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway is scheduled for Sunday, November 11 at 3:00 p.m. (ET). ABC television and MRN radio affiliates will broadcast the race live.
Edwards’ Dickie’s 500 Results:
Fastest Laps: Four
Laps in Top 15: 13/334
Laps Led: 0
Edwards’ 2007 Cumulative Record:
Races: 34 of 36
Top 5s: 10
Top 10s: 14
Top 15s: 23
About Roush Fenway Racing
Roush Fenway Racing is NASCAR’s largest team operating 14 motorsports teams, five in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup with drivers Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and David Ragan; five in the Busch Series with Kenseth, Biffle, Edwards, McMurray, Ragan, Todd Kluever, Michel Jourdain Jr. and Danny O’Quinn Jr.; and three in the Craftsman Truck Series with Edwards, Peter Shepherd, Travis Kvapil, Erik Darnell and T.J. Bell; and one in the ARCA/REMAX Series with Colin Braun and Darnell.