LEBANON, Tenn. (June 7, 2008) – In the past, Carl Edwards and the No. 60 team had dominated the 1.33-mile concrete oval in Music City, but Edwards struggled this trip by having his worst finish there since he has been in the Nationwide Series. This was Nationwide’s first stand-alone event for 2008, so Edwards and the six other double-duty drivers had limited track time. Jason Hedlesky, Edwards’s spotter, filled in for him during the first practice, but Edwards flew in from Pocono after their last Sprint Cup practice to run the full second practice in Nashville. Edwards struggled with a slow racecar the entire race. By the time the 225 lap race was over, Edwards had fought hard for a 13th place finish.
Edwards just barely made it in time for qualifying, crediting team owner Jack Roush’s new faster plane for getting them to Nashville on time. He wore his World Financial Group firesuit from Pocono and was able to go straight to the car for qualifying to claim the eighth starting position.
Edwards radioed into his crew early in the race that his Ford had good balance, but was free center off and had fallen back to 10th by lap 61. He stayed out during the first caution on lap 9 and then green flag pitted on lap 61 for a slight air and wedge adjustment. The 60 crew completed a 14.3 second stop and when Edwards and the field had cycled through he ended up back in 10th on lap 72.
Edwards stayed in the top-10 over the next 41 laps and had made it up to 5th on lap 83. He survived three more cautions and pitted when his Roush Fenway teammate Greg Biffle spun out on lap 104 causing the fifth caution. Edwards had fallen out of the top-10 for the first time on lap 104. He pitted for tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments in 14.92 seconds and reentered the race in 11th.
Edwards radioed in that his car had good balance but would not go. The No. 60 bounced back and forth between 8th and 16th for the remainder of the race. On lap 144 he pitted again for tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment in 15.38 seconds. Edwards was able to break into the top-10 a few times, but never stayed for very long.
Edwards pitted one more time under caution on lap 182 for tires, fuel and adjustments in 14.9 seconds. After the pit stop he radioed in again saying the car was the slowest it had been, but felt great. He informed them that he was doing the best he could with it and stayed out on the track trying to maintain whatever track position he was able to gain. When the checkers flew on lap 225 he was scored in the 13th position.
"This was our first noncompanion race of the year and it was intense,” stated Edwards. "I don’t know why the car was so slow. We had good balance. We qualified decent, but my World Financial Group Ford just never had enough speed to race with those guys in the front. It was frustrating.”
Next week Edwards and the No. 60 team travel to Kentucky Speedway. He dropped to fourth place in the overall Nationwide Series points standings, just two points behind third place driver Kyle Busch. He is 190 points behind the leader Clint Bowyer. Edwards and the No. 60 team will be running the CitiFinancial colors next week in Kentucky. Edwards has two wins at Kentucky, one in a Busch car and one in a Craftsman truck. This will be CitiFinancial’s first race with Edwards.
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.