AVONDALE, ARIZ. (April 18, 2009) – Carl Edwards and the No. 99 team sported the colors of Subway in this weekend’s Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. A track where Edwards has only finished outside of the top 10 three times in nine starts, expectations were high heading into Saturday night’s 312-lap event. Edwards started the race from a respectable 11th position, but from the drop of the green flag reported that his Ford Fusion was “lacking grip”, though crew chief Bob Osborne and the No. 99 Subway crew worked on Edwards’ Ford throughout the race, the handling woes persisted. Despite the issues, Edwards still managed to wheel the No. 99 to a 10th-place finish.
Just five laps into the race Edwards reported that his No. 99 had “no grip” – the nuisance of a handling problem would plague Edwards until a lap 54 caution permitted him to pit for the first time of the night. Wedge and air pressure adjustments were prescribed by Osborne in hopes of finding the balance that Edwards was looking for in his Ford. When the pit stop was complete and green flag racing resumed on lap 59 Edwards was up two spots to ninth place.
The gain would be short-lived, as again Edwards reported that his Ford was “lacking grip” and he fell to 13th position by lap 7. Edwards saw pit road for a second time on lap 102 under caution. He entered the pits in 12th place and again the No. 99 crew made wedge and air pressure adjustments to the Subway Ford. Although the Subway crew was just about flawless in the pits, Edwards would lose six positions, during this stop because of difficulties exiting his pit stall. Edwards restarted the race in 18th place on lap 108.
Stuck back with lapped traffic at track where it is difficult to pass is not where you want to be, but that is exactly where Edwards found himself – making a tough situation even worse, as Edwards continued to report struggling with an ill-handling race car. Still the Subway crew never gave up and continued to work on Edwards’ Ford through a series of three scheduled pit stops.
After green flag pit stops on lap 247 Edwards was scored in 19th position and didn’t look to be a top contender. However, after some encouragement from Osborne, Edwards soon began picking off the competition. By lap 284 Edwards was running 10th and holding his own.
The race’s final caution fell on lap 300 and Edwards made his final trip down pit road for some quick servicing for just two tires. He restarted the race in ninth place and ultimately finished 10th.
Mark Martin held off Tony Stewart to capture his first victory since 2005. Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson and Greg Biffle followed to complete the top five.
“I’m actually happy to finish 10th,” said Edwards. “Considering I didn’t think we were gonna be good at all, that’s not too bad. It was a good points day for as long of a day it was, so that’s OK. That was all we had. I really wish we could’ve pulled off a win here tonight for Subway in the Subway Fresh Fit 500, but I’m really happy for Mark and his team and look forward to next week.”
Next week Edwards and the No. 99 team will carry the Claritin colors at the Talladega Superspeedway. The No. 99 Claritin Ford Fusion team will take to the track on Sunday, April 26 for the Aaron’s 499. FOX television and MRN radio affiliates will broadcast the race live beginning at 2:00 p.m. (EST).
Edwards’ Phoenix Results
Fastest Laps: Nine
Laps in top 15: 188
Edwards’ 2009 Cumulative Record
Races: 8 of 36
Behind Leader: -219
Top 5s: One
Top 10s: Four
Top 15s: Five
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.
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