Homestead, Fla. (November 19, 2012) – Although 2012 did not turn out to be the season Carl Edwards and the Fastenal Blue Team expected, they refused to wave the white flag until the checkered flag flew in the Ford EcoBoost 400 on Sunday. Edwards has achieved much success at Homestead-Miami Speedway so he and the team were determined to make the most of the final race of the season. In the end their pit strategy did not play out the way they hoped which left Edwards in 12th place.
Starting from fourth place Edwards jumped up to second when the race began and remained there for the first 83 laps. The balance on the Fastenal Ford was pretty neutral and he was pleased with the car. Things began to change after the first caution when Edwards spun his tires on the restart on lap 84 and began to drop back as he told crew chief Chad Norris the car lacked grip.
By lap 100 he was in 10th place with a loose car. The crew made adjustments throughout the race to keep up with the changing track conditions. As the race progressed they decided to short pit to make up ground with fresh tires which seemed to work as Edwards was back up to third on lap 215.
He was fifth with 30 laps remaining, but they could not make it to the end on fuel. Edwards made a green-flag pit stop on lap 243 which dropped him back to 22nd with 20 laps to go. They were banking on most of the teams having to stop as well, but fewer teams than expected were forced to pit in the closing laps.
With 10 to go Edwards was 16th and one lap down. As he came to the white flag several teams that gambled on fuel ran out of gas which moved him up to 12th to finish the race on the lead lap.
Jeff Gordon won the race followed Clint Bowyer, Ryan Newman, Kyle Busch and Greg Biffle. Martin Truex, Aric Almirola, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch and Dale Earnhardt Jr., rounded out the top 10 while Brad Keselowski claimed the Sprint Cup Championship for Penske Racing.
“I thought everybody had to stop there at the end,” Edwards said. “I thought we were on a pretty good pit strategy but some of the guys didn’t have to stop so we couldn’t beat them. We were very good on the long run. We just had to pit one more time. I love this racetrack. It is so much fun. I can’t wait to come back here next year.”
Edwards and the No. 99 Blue Team finished the season 15th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings.