Avondale, Ariz. (Mar. 3rd, 2013) – Carl Edwards and the No. 99 Subway Ford Fusion broke a 70-race winless streak in today’s Subway Fresh Fit 500, taking the checkered flag in what is now Edwards’ 20th Sprint Cup career win.
This weekend’s practice rounds were a good predictor of today’s win, where he had a fourth place finish in the final practice session before the race. Edwards started the race 15th but didn’t stay there long; by lap 64 he had worked his way into the top 10. A caution flag on lap 98 sent him in for a pit stop, where the No. 99 crew gave him left-side tires, fuel and sent Edwards back out gaining four positions to third-place.
“Jimmy and the guys did a great job,” said Edwards. “The pit crew is unreal. Every time we came on pit road we would pass a bunch of people and that’s what won this race. Track position was key.”
Shortly thereafter on lap 146, Edwards took the Subway Ford Fusion to the lead of the pack where he maintained control for the next 44 laps. Over the next 50 laps, Edwards teetered between second and fourth places until a fifth and final pit stop for right-side tires and fuel sent him back out on top.
In the final moments of the Subway Fresh Fit 500, Edwards and the No. 99 Ford Fusion could taste sweet victory when a caution flag with three laps to go sent the team into a nail biting finale. Upon the restart, Edwards managed to pull away from Jimmie Johnson with the help of a push from fellow Ford teammate Brad Keselowski.
“It was an awesome restart,” said Edwards. “Brad Keselowski pushed me and that meant a lot. He stayed in line there and he pushed and we got a Ford to Victory Lane, so I’ve got to thank Brad.”
As the checkered flag waved, Edwards drove into his first Sprint Cup victory in two years and gave a much anticipated back flip finale.
“It’s so cool to see the grandstands packed here at this race track,” said Edwards. “These guys were unreal and Subway, this is the Subway Fresh Fit 500. We just won the race in the Subway Ford Fusion. This is insane, very cool.
Phoenix International Raceway is also where he last broke an identical 70-race winless streak in 2010. Today’s win bumped Edwards up to 11th in the Sprint Cup series point standings.
“It’s just so cool to win this race. I can’t tell you how cool this is. I love Phoenix. This is a blast. I love it. I’m glad to be here.”