KANSAS CITY, Kan. (September 28, 2008) – Carl Edwards wants nothing more than to win a race at Kansas Speedway. The driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford grew up just 130 miles away, and considers this to be his home race. Despite running well at the 1.5-mile speedway in the past, Edwards had not had the results he’d wanted to show. That changed on Sunday afternoon when Edwards fought a hard battle with Jimmie Johnson, coming up just short of scoring the victory.
Edwards took the green flag in the 34th position, and as has become commonplace for him immediately began picking up positions. Just nine laps into the race, Edwards had already advanced to the 21st position when he reported over the radio that he was fighting a tight condition in the center of the turns. Edwards continued his forward momentum, advancing to the 16th position before crew chief Bob Osborne called Edwards to pit road at lap 48 to take on tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment. Edwards made slight contact with the No. 83 car on the exit of pit road, but fortunately sustained only minor cosmetic damage.
As the cycle of green flag pit stops completed, Edwards showed in the 33rd position. Despite losing valuable positions, Edwards remained composed as he worked his way back to the 24th position. The caution flag was displayed at lap 73 for an incident involving the No. 12 car, giving Edwards a chance to come to pit road for adjustments. The Office Depot team performed their service of four tires and fuel flawlessly, but as Edwards attempted to exit his pits he once again made contact with another car, this time the No. 22 of Dave Blaney. Once Edwards got back on track, competitor Jeff Burton pulled alongside to assess the damage. He reported a tire rub that would be problematic should they stay on the track, so Edwards and Osborne agreed to come to pit road once again to fix the damage. Edwards returned to the racetrack in the 27th position for the lap 79 restart.
Edwards continued to pick off positions where he could over the course of the ensuing green flag run, despite continuing to struggle with a tight handling condition. Edwards was able to break inside the top 10 at lap 134, overtaking fellow Chase contender Kevin Harvick for the position. Once he was free of heavier traffic, Edwards continued to work his way to the front. It would take only five more laps before the Office Depot Ford showed in the fifth position.
As the laps clicked off and green flag pit stops neared, Edwards picked up positions as the front runners came to pit road for their service. Edwards stayed on track as long as possible, inheriting the lead and five bonus points for leading a lap when Jimmie Johnson came to pit road for service at lap 176. Osborne called Edwards to pit road the next lap, taking on four tires, fuel, and a wedge adjustment. As the cycle of stops completed, Edwards showed in the second position behind Johnson. Despite being loose on the start of the run, Edwards was able to chase down Johnson’s No. 48 and overtake him for the lead at lap 191.
As Edwards pulled out to establish a substantial lead, the No. 28 of Travis Kvapil made contact with the wall to bring out the caution flag at lap 217. Edwards came to pit road for the final time, taking on four tires and fuel. Despite a fast pit stop, Johnson beat Edwards off pit road, lining Edwards up in the second position for the lap 222 restart.
Edwards raced hard as the laps came to a close attempting to catch Johnson’s No. 48, riding his back bumper with just a handful of laps remaining. On the final lap, knowing he had a chance to go for the win, Edwards dove deep into turn three, passing Johnson for the lead. But as Edwards washed up the racetrack, Johnson was able to dive back underneath the No. 99 and pull away for the victory.
“The Office Depot Ford was real good in practice,” said Edwards. “We started in the back and for some reason it just wasn’t that fast the first couple of runs. We got into a small wreck on pit road and went to the back and fought around back there for a while. We got into one more small incident on pit road at some point in there, but everybody did a good job in recovering. There at the end my car was just a little too loose. I could just hang with Jimmie, I couldn’t get him until the last couple of laps when I just started bonsai-ing it around on the top there. He was doing what I was doing, so he went up there to block, and that last lap I just figured the hell with it, I don’t want to finish second here, I want to win this race more than anything in the world, so I kind of bonsaied it in there. I wanted to make sure I cleared Jimmie. I went probably just a little too far and hit the wall harder than I planned on hitting it, and he got back by me. It was fun, though. I’ve always kind of wanted to try that. Now I know that it doesn’t work quite the same as in video games, but it was fun.
“I want to win this race more than any race on the schedule, and I thought we could do it today,” Edwards continued. “So, yeah, it was very frustrating finishing second. We just did the best we could. Wins here feel so good just because of how many people come here that I know and grew up with.”
Following their second-place finish at Kansas, Edwards and the No. 99 team fell to the second position in the NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings, 10 points behind leader Jimmie Johnson. The Sprint Cup Series next races at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, October 5, 2008.
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. 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.