FT. WORTH, Texas. (November 2, 2008) – Carl Edwards was able to rebound from a disappointing starting position to pick up the win at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday, giving him the sweep of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races there in 2008. It was the first time a driver has accomplished the feat, and it gives Edwards the most wins at the 1.5-mile speedway with four victories. And happily, the winners at the spring events at Texas were the same drivers that won in the fall, with Ron Hornaday, Jr. sweeping the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race, Kyle Busch winning both Nationwide Series races, and Edwards bringing home both Sprint Cup victories.
Edwards started in the 16th position, but wasted little time in working his way to the front of the field. The driver of the Office Depot Ford remained silent over the team radio in the opening laps, focusing on hitting his marks and picking off positions as the opening run continued under green flag conditions. Edwards had advanced to the third position before he reported to the crew at lap 42 that he was experiencing a loose condition, and needed just a little more grip. With the race continuing under the green flag, the field began to come to pit road at lap 48 for the first round of pit stops. Edwards stayed on track until crew chief Bob Osborne called him to pit road at lap 51 to take on four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment. The Office Depot crew performed their stop in 13.3 seconds, allowing Edwards to advance to the second position when the cycle of stops completed at lap 54.
Edwards wasted little time running down race leader Clint Bowyer, overtaking him for the lead at lap 57. Once Edwards found himself in clean air, he quickly established a huge lead. He continued to hold the lead, reporting to the crew that he was losing overall grip as the run went on at lap 91. As the race continued under green flag conditions, the field began to come to pit road for scheduled pit stops. Edwards relinquished the lead at lap 109, coming to the attention of the Office Depot crew to take on four tires, fuel and another wedge adjustment. As the cycle of stops completed, Edwards once again showed as the race leader. He reported at lap 125 that he continued to fight a loose condition, but his handling woes did not slow his lightning-fast pace.
Edwards continued to dominate the race, only relinquishing the lead to come to pit road for a green flag stop at lap 203 to take on tires, fuel and another wedge adjustment. At lap 239, Edwards reported that he was happy with the overall balance of the Office Depot Ford, and it showed as his lap times picked up. The field came to pit road again under green flag conditions, with Edwards coming in for his service at lap 240. The Office Depot crew performed their routine service of four tires and fuel in such little time that Edwards never relinquished the lead.
When the Nos. 38 and 42 cars made contact on the backstretch at lap 263 to bring out the caution flag, Edwards came to pit road with the rest of the leaders. Osborne made the call to take on four tires and fuel. The Office Depot crew completed their stop in 12.9 seconds, but when other teams elected to make two-tire stops, Edwards was shuffled back to the seventh position for the lap 269 restart. Bound and determined to get back to the front of the field, Edwards launched a full-on assault on the front runners, overtaking Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt, Jr, and Martin Truex to advance to the fourth position at lap 295.
With too many laps for most teams to make it to the finish of the race, the leaders began to come to pit road for a splash of fuel at lap 320. Three laps later, Edwards reassumed the race lead. With a 12 second advantage over second place, Osborne instructed Edwards to start conserving fuel. Edwards did just that, following instruction from his crew chief on each lap of how much to conserve. Knowing it was a huge gamble to stay out and try to make it to the checkered flag, Edwards did as he was told and managed to make it to the finish with just enough fuel to spare.
“First of all, I can’t thank Office Depot enough – Aflac, Ford – fuel mileage was big and my Ford Fusion gets great fuel mileage, I can tell you that,” said Edwards. “Valvoline, my guys, the fans, thanks for coming out here. This is a fun place. I don’t know what to say. My guys did a great job. We took off after a while. We made probably the wrong call to take four tires, but Bob came up with a way to win that thing anyway, that was great. First he said, ‘We’re two-tenths of a lap short, so conserve.’ Then he came back and said, ‘No, we’re four laps short, just go real hard and we’ll pit.’ Then he came back again and said, ‘We’ll conserve.’ So just by all that I kind of knew that he wasn’t too sure about it, but I’m really glad it worked out. It’s unreal. It’s a great day. The fans are awesome. My guys are awesome. We’re closing ground on Jimmie (Johnson, point leader), that’s cool.”
“I don’t know really what to say, but when the caution came out we had to make that pit stop and we knew that we were gonna be short,” said Osborne. “We went to the drawing board, so to speak, and calculated all the line lengths and how much fuel can our car actually pick up and we were pretty comfortable mid-run there that we would be OK if Carl did his normal great job of saving fuel and he did and we were able to make it, so it was a good end to a bad situation.”
Following their win at Texas, Edwards and the No. 99 Office Depot team remain second in the NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings, 106 markers behind point leader Jimmie Johnson. The Sprint Cup Series races next at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday, November 9, 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.