FT. WORTH, Texas. (April 6, 2008) – Carl Edwards considers Texas Motor Speedway as one of his favorite tracks on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit. The driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion has been strong thus far in 2008 at the mile-and-a-half tracks, and headed west looking for redemption following a dominating performance but disappointing finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway last month. Edwards was able to accomplish just that, leading the most laps en route to picking up his third win of the season.
Edwards started in the second position, and ran there for the opening laps of the race. He reported at lap 19 that his Aflac Ford was tight in the center of the turns, and asked for an adjustment on their first pit stop. When the No. 55 car spun off of turn four at lap 28, Edwards and interim crew chief Robbie Reiser got the opportunity to come to pit road to take on four tires, fuel, wedge and air pressure adjustments. The No. 99 crew got Edwards back on the racetrack in the fifth position for the lap 33 restart.
Edwards quickly worked his way around the No. 9 car for the fourth position, but reported to the crew that he continued to fight a tight condition in the center of the turns. His handling problems did little to slow the forward progress of the No. 99, as Edwards picked off the No. 88 car at lap 56 for the third position. Edwards continued his march towards the front when he passed the No. 18 car for the second spot at lap 80. The field continued racing under green flag conditions, bringing the race leaders to pit road for green flag stops. Reiser called Edwards to pit road at lap 83 for tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. The Aflac crew performed flawlessly, allowing Edwards to continue in the second position as the cycle of stops completed.
As green flag racing continued, Edwards reported that it felt as if he’d lost some of the rear grip he had on the previous runs. As Edwards settled in on the run, the caution flag was displayed at lap 108 for a spin by the No. 24 car. Edwards and Reiser elected to come to pit road with the rest of the leaders at lap 110 for tires, fuel and another air pressure adjustment in an attempt to improve the handling of the Aflac Ford.
Edwards lined up in the third position for the lap 112 restart, and would hold the position until the caution flag was displayed for debris on the backstretch at lap 131. Edwards reported that he continued to fight a tight condition in the center of the corners, so Reiser elected to bring Edwards to pit road for tires, fuel and another air pressure adjustment. Slight difficulty on the stop resulted in Edwards rejoining the field in the sixth position for the lap 135 restart.
Edwards’ Ford seemed to come to life, as he worked his way past the Nos. 11 and 88 cars, advancing to the fourth position on lap 149. Edwards’ climb towards the top of the leader board continued, as he reported to the crew that the changes they had made were finally making a difference. Edwards advanced to the second position at lap 179, and chased down race leader Kyle Busch to take the lead at lap 215. As the fuel window began to open, the leaders came to pit road for service. Edwards followed suit, peeling off the racetrack and down pit road at lap 230 to take on four tires, fuel and another slight air pressure adjustment. Once the stops cycled through, Edwards continued as the race leader.
As the race continued under green flag conditions, Edwards’ lead opened up. He continued to pull away from the field, putting several contenders laps down as he set a blistering pace. Edwards’ progress was slowed when the caution flag was displayed at lap 294 for debris on the backstretch. Edwards came to pit road for routine service of four tires and fuel, and the No. 99 crew performed their fastest stop of the day, sending Edwards back on track with the race lead.
When the field went back to green flag racing at lap 298, Edwards once again checked out from the field. The Aflac Ford pulled out to a commanding lead once again, and seemed to be on cruise control. As Edwards established a two second lead, it seemed victory was in hand. However, the caution flag was displayed at lap 331 after the engine expired in the No. 1 car. It took several laps for track safety crews to clean the oil dropped on the racing surface, resulting in a green-white-checkered flag overtime finish. Once the green flag was displayed for the final restart, Edwards pulled away from the field to score his third victory in seven races of the 2008 Sprint Cup season.
“That was a really good race car,” said Edwards. “It was extremely competitive out there. There were a lot of cars that were virtually the same speed, so it was really difficult to get track position. But once we got it, the car was really good in clean air. At the end, that restart might not have looked exciting to people watching, but it was real exciting for me in the race car to try not to spin those tires and hold off Jimmie (Johnson, No. 48). To win here, it means a lot. My first trip here was with Tony Roper. That was the weekend that he got killed here, and he was a great guy and it always means a lot to come back here, and to run well and to win these races is very special to me.”
Following their win at Texas, Edwards and the No. 99 Aflac team advanced to the tenth position in the NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings, 184 markers behind point leader Jeff Burton. The Sprint Cup Series races next at Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday, April 12, 2008.
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Incorporated is a Fortune 500 company listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol AFL. To find out more about Aflac, visit aflac.com.
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.