TALLADEGA, AL (October 5, 2008) – Talladega Superspeedway is famous for high speeds, close competition and the “Big One”. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series made its second appearance of the 2008 season at the 2.66-mile Alabama track this weekend. Edwards shuffled back on lap 38 for a conservative strategy to ride in the back until lap 168 when he started pressing toward the front drafting with teammate Greg Biffle. Then, on lap 174, Edwards and the No. 99 Office Depot Ford got caught up in the “Big One” and finished 29th.
Edwards started the race from the 12th position and quickly began moving forward. By lap 7 he was in 2nd and on lap 9 he was in the lead and earned the important five bonus points. He shuffled around until the first caution flag flew. Trying to avoid trouble on pit road, crew chief Bob Osborne opted to wait until the first group had cleared out. When green flag racing resumed, Edwards was in 32nd and was going to stay in the back to try to avoid the inevitable big wreck that is Talladega.
On lap 45 the second caution flag waved for debris on the track and Edwards pitted from the 39th position for tires and fuel. The No. 99 Office Depot pit crew blistered off a 12.5 second stop and Edwards was shown in 36th when the green flag waved on lap 49. When the third caution flag flew, Edwards pitted just to make sure there was no damage to the nose of his racecar.
The fourth caution came out on lap 68 for the first “Big One.” Edwards had managed to dodge this pileup by taking the conservative approach. The race was red-flagged to allow the track crews to clean up the huge mess and when the green flag waved again on lap 72, Edwards was shown in 20th.
Edwards pitted again on lap 81 under caution for four more tires and fuel. He drove around in the back of the field until lap 104 when he brought the Office Depot Ford to pit road under green for a track bar adjustment, tires and fuel. He repeated a similar pit stop for another track bar adjustment, tires and fuel on lap 139 during the seventh caution. Edwards spun at the end of pit road and had to come back down pit road for tires. When green flag racing resumed on lap 144, Edwards was shown in the 20th position.
On lap 151 Edwards started making his way to the front. On lap 165 the eighth caution flag waved and Edwards pitted for more track bar adjustments, tires and fuel. He knew it was time to get to the front so he began making passes and was drafting with Roush Fenway teammate Greg Biffle when they spun and got caught up in the second “Big One” collecting 11 cars, six of which were “Chase” contenders. Edwards was scored in the 29th position when the dust settled after the race had been red-flagged again.
“I was just pushing Greg as hard as I could. It’s my fault and I apologize to everybody caught up in that wreck. We had been pushing each other a lot and it had been going really well. We just got in exactly the wrong spot there going into three and he got real loose and that was just the way it went. It’s my fault. I feel bad that I took my teammates out. I know Matt’s mad and I’m sure Greg’s mad, but you just do the best you can and hope for the best. It just didn’t work out today. I was worried about the idiots when you come here and I was the guy that caused that one,” commented Edwards.
The No. 99 Office Depot team stays close to home next weekend in Charlotte. Edwards and the No. 99 team maintained 2nd position in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings, 68 markers behind Jimmie Johnson. The Sprint Cup Series races under the lights next on Saturday evening, October 11th at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
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.