BROOKLYN, Mich. (June 15, 2008) – Carl Edwards came to Michigan International Speedway on the heels of five consecutive top-10 finishes. The driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford wanted nothing more than to pick up his fourth win of the season at one of his most successful racetracks, but a late caution took him out of contention for the win. Edwards finished seventh, extending his consecutive top-10 finish streak to six races.
Edwards took the green flag in the fourth position after qualifying was rained out on Friday. Edwards quickly advanced to the third position, but his progress was halted when Dave Blaney’s No. 22 spun on the backstretch and brought out the first caution of the event. With just three green flag laps completed, Edwards stayed on the racetrack with many of the other competitors. Once the race restarted, Edwards began to complain of a loose condition. As Edwards struggled with the handling of his Office Depot Ford, he dropped to the fifth position. As the race continued under green flag conditions, the field began to come to pit road for service. Edwards followed suit, coming to pit road at lap 38 for tires, fuel, and an air pressure adjustment. When the field cycled through their pit stops, Edwards reassumed the fifth position.
Edwards continued in the fifth position over the course of the following green flag run, but reported that he continued to fight a loose condition. The race continued under green flag conditions, bringing the field to pit road for pit stops again at lap 75. Edwards stayed on the track and inherited the lead at lap 79, then came to pit road for tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment. Once the cycle of green flag stops was completed, Edwards reassumed the fifth position.
Edwards reported early in the run that the changes made to the Office Depot Ford improved the handling slightly, but he would need more adjustments to get the car where he wanted it. When the caution flag was displayed for debris at lap 92, Edwards got the opportunity to come to pit road for service. Having only completed a short run, crew chief Bob Osborne elected to take on right side tires and fuel on their stop. The gamble sent Edwards back on track with the lead.
Edwards held the top spot until teammate Matt Kenseth worked his way to the front at lap 114. Edwards began to report that the loose condition returned, and he soon after faded to the third position. As the laps clicked off, the field began to come to pit road for green flag pit stops. Edwards came to the attention of the Office Depot team at lap 137 for tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment. A slow pit stop cost Edwards additional time on pit road, giving him the fourth position once the cycle of stops completed.
Just as the field settled following their stops, the No. 43 spun on the backstretch to bring out the caution flag at lap 146. Osborne and Edwards agreed that their gamble earlier in the race was worth the risk, so when Edwards came to pit road, he took on right side tires and fuel. The strategy gained Edwards two spots coming off pit road, but two cars elected to stay on the racetrack, negating the No. 99 team’s gain.
Edwards continued to fight a loose condition early in the following run, but as the laps clicked off, the Office Depot Ford began to tighten up in the center of the turns. The field continued under the green flag, bringing the leaders to pit road for their final stop of the race under green flag conditions. Edwards stayed on the racetrack and inherited the lead once again at lap 188, then quickly came to pit road for right side tires and fuel. As rest of the field came to pit road for service, Edwards cycled to the 10th position at lap 197. A spin by the No. 77 car brought out the caution with just two laps remaining, sending the field into a green-white-checkered flag overtime finish.
When the race restarted at lap 200, Edwards held the seventh position. Knowing he had better tires than the cars in front of him, Edwards felt he had a chance to pick up positions in the final two laps. Just as he began to mount his charge, the caution flag was thrown for an incident involving the Nos. 10 and 55 cars. With the race being completed under the yellow flag, Edwards was unable to improve his position in the closing laps.
“We played it safe, and I think that’s our sixth top-10 in a row, or something like that,” said Edwards. “It’s an all right job. We’ve been working hard at a lot of things, but I thought Matt [Kenseth] was going to get it – I thought we’d put a Ford in victory lane there. But, congrats to Dale Jr.. It’s been a long time since he’s won a race so it’s good to see somebody succeed. But, we just weren’t good enough at the end. My dad was on the pit box today, and I was trying to get him a trophy. It’s really neat to have him here at the races. You know, my mom comes a lot, and dad doesn’t come that often, so it’s really special for me to have him here and I’m glad he came.”
Following their seventh-place finish at Michigan, Edwards and the No. 99 team remain in the fourth position in the NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings, 228 markers behind point leader Kyle Busch. The Sprint Cup Series races next at Infineon Raceway on Sunday, June 22, 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.