ATLANTA, Ga. (March 8, 2008) – Atlanta Motor Speedway is known for exciting finishes and great racing. While fans saw plenty of that on Saturday afternoon, they also saw weather wreak havoc with the schedule. Heavy snow flurries forced NASCAR to cancel Nationwide Series qualifying, placing Carl Edwards third on the starting grid. The driver of the No. 60 Scotts Miracle-Gro Ford Fusion had a strong run, overcoming handling and mechanical issues to finish in the fourth position, scoring his second top-five finish of the 2008 season.
Edwards reported in the opening laps of Saturday’s race that his Scotts Ford was a little tight in the center of the turns, but he held his position inside the top five for the early going of the event. When the caution flag flew at lap 28 for an incident with the Nos. 40 and 41 cars, crew chief Pierre Kuettel elected to bring Edwards to pit road for service. The No. 60 crew performed routine service flawlessly, sending Edwards back on track with four new tires and fuel in the fifth position.
Edwards slowly began to lose positions as the field returned to green flag racing. He radioed to the crew that he was a little loose, and that he would need a wedge adjustment on the next stop. After falling to the ninth position on lap 40, Edwards began to climb his way back towards the front of the field. By lap 64, Edwards had worked his way back to the sixth position when he reported that the engine of the Scotts Ford began to feel as if it had developed a problem. With a green flag pit stop just laps away, Edwards and crew debated on opening the hood to check for a possible plug wire coming loose. Edwards switched ignition boxes in the cockpit of his No. 60, and radioed that it had solved the problem. At lap 89, Edwards came to pit road for his scheduled service. Kuettel made the call to take on tires and fuel, and make a slight air pressure adjustment. As the field cycled around, Edwards found himself in the eighth position when the caution flag came out at lap 101. Having just completed service, Edwards elected to stay out and preserve his track position for the restart.
When green-flag racing resumed at lap 106, Edwards ran in the fifth position. He held the position until the the caution flag was displayed once again at lap 141 for an incident with the No. 05 car. Edwards came to pit road with the rest of the leaders, electing to take on four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment. As the cars pulled into their pit stalls ahead of Edwards, the No. 60 shot to the top of the leader board as he crossed the start finish line on pit road, collecting five bonus points towards the season championship. By the time the field cycled back out, Edwards lined up fourth for the lap 146 restart.
Edwards restarted fourth and held onto the position until the red flag was displayed at lap 189 following a multi-car incident. Edwards had one final shot at the leaders on the green-white-checkered flag three-lap sprint that ensued, but he was not able to gain additional positions in the final laps of the event.
“We had a good run with our Scotts Fusion,” said Edwards. “I’m really proud of my guys for coming back like this. It wasn’t a win, but it’s still a great day for us. We didn’t quite get our car where we wanted it at then end but we were real close. We have to do our homework just a little bit better, but it's cool to see Matt win, that’s good. It was a good points day for us.”
Following their fourth-place finish at Atlanta, Edwards and the No. 60 team hold the second position in the NASCAR Nationwide Series point standings. The Nationwide Series races next at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday, March 15, 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.