DOVER, Del. (June 1, 2008) – Carl Edwards was able to overcome a 14th-place starting position to finish second at Dover International Speedway on Sunday afternoon, recording his fourth consecutive podium finish at the one-mile oval. Edwards advanced to the fourth position in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings after posting his sixth top-five finish of the 2008 season.
Edwards took the green flag in the 14th position, and quickly began advancing through the field. Edwards reported to crew chief Bob Osborne in the early going that his Office Depot Ford was handling well, and it showed as he advanced to the 10th position at lap six. Edwards’ forward progress was slowed when a huge wreck occurred at lap 17. The racetrack was littered with debris, forcing NASCAR officials to display the red flag to allow safety crews to clean the race surface. Once the flag was lifted, the leaders made their way down pit road for service. Edwards came to the attention of the No. 99 crew, taking on right side tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment. Quick work by the Office Depot team advanced Edwards to the sixth position for the lap 25 restart.
Once green flag racing resumed, Edwards continued his march towards the front of the field. Despite being loose off the corners, he was able to advance to the third position at lap 54. He held the spot until the caution flag was displayed at lap 66, when he surrendered the position to come to pit road for tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment. A slow stop cost the No. 99 team two positions, sending Edwards back on track in the fifth position for the lap 71 restart.
Edwards overcame his problems on pit road, picking off positions over the course of the next green flag run. At lap 90, Edwards overtook Kyle Busch for the second position, and began to chase down teammate Greg Biffle for the race lead. Edwards was able to close the gap on Biffle, eventually overtaking him for the lead at lap 148 when the No. 16 came to pit road for a green flag stop. Edwards held the lead for one lap before he too came to pit road for tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. Edwards rejoined the field in the fifth position, but advanced to the third spot when the cycle of green flag pit stops completed.
Edwards once again overtook Busch and Biffle to reassume the lead at lap 171. He reported that he was fighting a loose condition on corner entry and exit, but the handling problems did not slow Edwards down. He continued to stretch his lead over the course of the green flag run, relinquishing the top spot at lap 232 when he came to pit road for a green flag pit stop. The Office Depot team sent Edwards off pit road with four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment in 13.4 seconds, putting him second in the running order once the cycle of stops completed.
Edwards continued to hold the second position over the next green flag run, but complained that his Office Depot Ford was extremely loose. Crew chief Bob Osborne made the call for a track bar adjustment on the next pit stop to help tighten up the No. 99 for the closing stages of the race. When the leaders began to come to pit road for green flag pit stops at lap 316, Edwards followed suit. He came to pit road to take on tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment to help tighten the Office Depot Ford for the final laps of the race. Quick work on pit road allowed Edwards to hold the second position as the leaders cycled through their pit stops.
Edwards reported to the crew that something had changed with the handling of his No. 99 Ford, that it felt as if he had no front grip. Edwards did what he could to chase down the race leader Kyle Busch, but his struggles with the handling would not allow him to chase down the race leader. Edwards took the checkered flag in the second position, recording his fifth top-two finish of the 2008 season.
“That 18 car got us again,” said Edwards. “I felt like our Office Depot car was at least as strong as anyone and probably the best car for a lot of the race. On that last run we got off pit road just a little bit slow and then the car was just not quite as fast for the first half of that last run as it needed to be. So it’s very frustrating to finish second with that good of a race car, but we battled all day and that’s what we ended up with. I feel like I passed a lot of cars today – a lot.”
Following their second-place finish at Dover, Edwards and the No. 99 Office Depot team advanced to the fourth position in the NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings, 337 markers behind point leader Kyle Busch. The Sprint Cup Series races next at Pocono Raceway on Sunday, June 8, 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.