Brooklyn, Mich. (June 18, 2012) – Michigan International Speedway is considered the “home track” for Jack Roush and Ford Motor Company, and the Roush Fenway Racing teams have an impressive record at the two-mile oval. This weekend proved to be a bit more challenging for Carl Edwards and the Fastenal Blue Team than usual. After a mechanical problem during qualifying, Edwards was forced to start 42nd on Sunday and work his way forward with a new left-side tire compound. Although it was not the day the team was hoping for, they were able to rally for an 11th-place finish.
The Sprint Cup teams came to MIS a day early for testing due to the new track surface. The cars were very fast and the left-side tires were not holding up very well. Late Friday night NASCAR and Goodyear opted to change the tire compound for the race and gave the teams an additional 75 minutes of practice after qualifying on Saturday evening.
When Edwards fired up his car for qualifying he could tell something was not right. He thought it might be a fuel pickup issue so crew chief Bob Osborne told him to return to the garage. Since he did not take an official qualifying lap he was credited with 42nd place at the back of the field. The team diagnosed and fixed the problem, and Edwards ran the third-fastest lap in the additional practice session that evening.
After a two-hour rain delay on Sunday, the 400-mile race finally got underway. Edwards was up to 27th by the competition caution on lap 27 and told the team the car was loose. It was a condition the team fought most of the race. The Blue Team made adjustments on every pit stop, but even by the end of the race the car was still loose early in a run before it got better.
Edwards was as high as fifth with 75 laps to go, but due to the loose condition he was not able to maintain that position and fell back on the restarts. He was eighth with 50 laps remaining, but had slipped back to 12th with 25 to go. In the closing laps he was able to move up to 11th where he finished the race.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., won the race followed by Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle and Jimmie Johnson. Jeff Gordon, Clint Bowyer, Juan Pablo Montoya, Marcos Ambrose and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top 10.
“I am not very happy with the end result,” Edwards said. “I thought our Fastenal Fusion was one of the fastest cars here. We were just too loose all day. I am talking loose. That is as hard as I can drive and Bob and I just didn’t pick the right set up for the race. We didn’t expect it to be that loose. It wasn’t a terrible day for some of the fighting and wiggling we were doing out there. It was crazy and I am glad we finished in one piece and got a decent day.”
Edwards and the No. 99 Blue Team remain 11th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings, but are only two points out of 10th place. The next race will be Sunday, June 24 at Sonoma Raceway for the first of two road-course races this season. The race will begin at 3:00 p.m. (ET) on TNT.