MADISON, IL (July 19, 2008) – This weekend Carl Edwards and the No. 60 Save-A-Lot team turned a strong third-place qualifying effort at Gateway International Raceway into a race-to-the-finish victory under the lights in front of his home crowd of fans and friends.
This was an extra-sweet victory because Edwards’ primary sponsor for the race was Save-A-Lot and it was in their backyard in front of an estimated 60,000 spectators. This was Edwards’ second win in three years at Gateway, second win of the 2008 season and 15th Nationwide Series win. He moved up one position to third in the overall Nationwide Series points standings and moved within 31 points of second.
Edwards took to the 1.25-mile track to battle a tight racecar for the first few laps, but kept the car in check until the NASCAR mandated competition caution on lap 20. This allowed him to bring the No. 60 Save-A-Lot Ford Fusion in for adjustments. He came into the pits in 2nd and came out of the pits in 10th place and quickly moved back toward the front. Several teams were playing out different pit strategies for track position. Green flag racing resumed on lap 25 after the field had cycled through.
Edwards was able to move back up to the top-five by lap 29. He radioed into his crew that his car was a little too tight to go really fast. He managed to maintain the 4th position and the second caution came out on lap 62 when the No. 47 car wrecked. Edwards pitted for a track bar adjustment, fuel and four tires in a phenomenal 13.82 second stop. He was in the lead when the green flag flew on lap 67.
A third caution flag flew on lap 70 when the lights went out on part of the track. NASCAR consulted some of the drivers to determine what effect it had on their visibility and decided that it would be safe to resume green flag racing on lap 74.
Edwards maintained the lead until lap 96 when he yielded to the No. 99. He maintained the 2nd position until the fourth caution flew on lap 110 for a spin in turn 2 by the No. 27 car. Edwards pitted for air pressure and track bar adjustments, four tires and fuel. A lug nut mishap extended his pit stop to 17.72 seconds. He only lost one position.
On lap 116 the fifth caution flag flew for a five-car accident on the front stretch, which eventually brought out the red flag. The cars remained under red for nearly 25 minutes while the track was cleaned up before driving resumed under caution for five laps on lap 121.
Edwards passed Jason Leffler with 48 laps remaining and never looked back. Edwards and Logano in the No. 20 continued to battle for the lead position and clean air while the race stayed green. He pulled away from Logano and cruised to victory at the Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250. When Edwards crossed the finish line to take the checkered flag, he had a 6.8 second lead on Logano. Edwards earned his second trip to Victory Lane at his home track. The crowd was on their feet cheering him on. He celebrated the win with his signature back flip and the crowd roared.
“That’s unbelievable! I can’t thank the fans enough. The support here is unreal. David Reutimann had, I thought, the fastest car here. I don’t know what happened to him. I can’t say enough about Save-A-Lot, Vitamin Water, Under Armour, Ford – if you haven’t driven a Ford in a while, just go drive one. We’ve talked about it and this is as good as it gets here. There are 650 people here from Save-A-Lot and probably a thousand people I know up there in the grandstands. It’s unreal, man, unreal. And Steve Peterson’s family, we’re thinking about you,” Edwards said following the race. “I’ve been fortunate enough to drive that truck to Victory Lane in Kansas and two wins here in the Nationwide Series. I’m telling you, there won’t be a guy tomorrow having a better day than me. This is unbelievable.”
With this win, Edwards and the No. 60 Save-A-Lot team moved back into 3rd position in the overall Nationwide Series points standings and within 31 points of 2nd. This was an excellent points day for the team. Edwards and the No. 60 team will be in the Vitaminwater colors for the first time next week at O’Reilly Raceway Park and are focused on gaining as many points as possible.
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.