SONOMA, CA. (June 22, 2008) – Carl Edwards and the No. 99 Office Depot team went into scenic Sonoma Valley this weekend for their first road course race of the 2008 season. This was also Edwards’ third consecutive non-companion race weekend of the year. Following practice in Sonoma on Saturday, Edwards traveled over four hours away to race at Milwaukee where he captured his first win of the season in the Nationwide Series. Edwards then headed back in the early morning hours to Sonoma to get ready for Sunday’s race.
The Office Depot No. 99 was the fastest car on the track for the majority of the race, but Edwards and team were caught with some bad luck during green flag pitting which put them outside the pit cycle when Robby Gordon wrecked and caused a caution, dropping Edwards from the lead back to 20th. He managed to fight his way back into the top-10 for a very exciting finish amidst a flurry of late-race cautions.
When the green flag dropped to begin the race, Edwards was lined up in the 12th position. By the end of the first lap he had broken in to the top-10 and by lap 12 he was in 5th. His crew chief Bob Osborne radioed in to his driver that he had the fastest car on the track. By lap 16, Edwards had passed the No. 24 for 4th, and then he passed the No. 7 for 3rd four laps later. In less than a lap he had passed the No. 2 for 2nd. Green flag pit stops began on lap 25, and by the time Edwards pitted on lap 30 the first caution flag had waved. Edwards pitted for tires and fuel and the only adjustment made was a half out of the rears. His crew blistered off a 14.0 second pit stop and when green flag racing resumed on lap 32, Edwards was scored in 12th. The eleven cars ahead of him had already pitted under green.
It only took two laps for Edwards to bust back into the top-10. He continued to pick off the cars ahead of him one at a time on his charge to take the lead. Green flag pitting began again on lap 68. Edwards stayed out on lap 69 to lead a lap before he would pit. As he was preparing to pit, the second caution flag came out on lap 70. Edwards pitted for four tires and fuel in a 15.0 second stop. When green flag racing resumed on lap 74, he had dropped back to the 19th spot.
The third caution came out immediately on the next lap. The green flag waved again on lap 77, and by lap 78 Edwards had dropped to 24th. Edwards picked off the cars ahead of him one at a time, gradually making his way to the front. He managed to keep out of trouble during the last three cautions within the last ten laps of the race. The race ended in a green-white-checkered finish with Edwards crossing the finish line in 9th for his 7th consecutive top-10 of the 2008 season.
“I just had an awesome Office Depot Fusion,” stated Edwards. “I’ve got to thank Bob Osborne and the guys for giving me such a great car. I really wanted to win a road course race. I thought I had a chance, but when that caution caught us before we could pit, it kind of changed everything. I had a car that could win and we worked hard at the end to be able to knock out a top-10 finish with it.”
Edwards travels to New Hampshire next weekend in the Office Depot Ford Fusion. Edwards and the No. 99 team maintained the fourth position in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings, 256 markers behind points leader Kyle Busch. The Sprint Cup Series races next on Sunday, June 29th at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
About Roush Fenway Racing
Roush Fenway Racing operates 13 full-time motorsports teams, five in NASCAR Sprint Cup with drivers Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and David Ragan; four in the Nationwide Series with Kenseth, Biffle, Edwards, McMurray, Ragan, Erik Darnell and Colin Braun; three in the Craftsman Truck Series with Darnell, Braun, Kvapil, Bobby East and John Wes Townley; and one in the ARCA RE/MAX Series with Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.