Sparta, Ky. (June 30, 2012) – Carl Edwards has won in two NASCAR series at Kentucky Speedway (Nationwide and trucks) and hoped to make it three on Saturday night under the lights. Unfortunately he was forced to pit for fuel in the closing laps while running in the top five which dropped him back to 20th.
Edwards started 25th and began to work his way up through the field. The crew worked on the UPS Ford on each stop to adjust the handling. By the halfway point of the race he was up to 10th place and took over ninth by lap 142. The car seemed to be getting better as the race went on and Edwards was able to run in the top 10.
At lap 200 he was eighth. The leaders began a green-flag pit cycle and Edwards pitted for four tires and a track bar adjustment on lap 202. He was seventh when a caution came out for an accident on lap 211. The UPS team pitted again, this time for right-side tires and fuel. Crew chief Bob Osborne told Edwards he would still be short on fuel. They debated coming in to top off after the lengthy caution, but at the same time hated to give up their third-place track position in hopes there would be another caution before the race ended.
The race resumed on lap 220 with Edwards in third place. He was saving fuel as best he could while not giving up too much track position. He was still third with 10 laps to go and the team hoped for a caution so they could pit for a splash of gas. That caution never came and with three to go Edwards brought the UPS Ford to pit road for a few seconds worth of fuel. The stop dropped him back to 20th and with only two laps remaining he was not able to gain any track position. Edwards finished the race 20th since no other teams ahead of him were forced to pit.
Brad Keselowski won the race followed by Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Jeff Gordon. Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Martin Truex, A.J. Allmendinger and Kyle Busch rounded out the top 10.
“I am definitely frustrated with how it played out,” Edwards said. “We had UPS here and wanted to have a really good run for them. I really wanted to beat Denny Hamlin considering the implications there for delivery companies. We had a pretty good car at the end. Bob called me onto pit road. He knew we should have pitted that last time but I was already so far around that cone that I just didn’t feel right cutting across traffic and slamming the splitter down to make it to pit road. We were put in a box. We hoped there would be a caution but there wasn’t. It is time for us to get in gear. I am real frustrated, Bob is real frustrated and I know we can do this. We ran as well as any Ford out here tonight. At the end, I think with some fuel we would have had the chance to win it.”
Edwards and the No. 99 team remain 11th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings, 34 points behind 10th place. The next race will be Saturday, July 7 at Daytona International Speedway. The race will begin at 7:30 p.m. (ET) on TNT.