LAS VEGAS, Nev. (Mar.9, 2014) – Carl Edwards headed into the Kobalt 400 hoping to repeat his victories of 2008 and 2011 at the mile-and-a-half speedway. After starting from the 11th-position the Roush Fenway Driver was shuffled back early on and after a slight mishap on pit road he found himself battling back all day. A strategy play by crew chief Jimmy Fennig on the final caution of the day bumped Edwards up to the second spot with 42 laps remaining. After a strong attempt to capture the lead, the No.99 team ended up in fifth when the checkered flag waved.
“We probably didn’t deserve to finish fifth, so I’m pretty happy with that finish,” said Edwards. “The guys did a great job with strategy. I don’t know if you saw the right-rear when I hit the wall with it, but it’s a tough duck. We had Aflac on board and I love this race track. I had a good time. Even though we couldn’t get to victory lane it’s a big day for Ford. We lost Mr. Ford and for Brad to win both of these I think it says a lot. Overall, it was just a fun day. Jimmy did a great job with strategy and we came home fifth.”
The two-time NASCAR champion was excited about his chances after posting the fastest speed during the first practice of the weekend. Edwards advanced through all three rounds of qualifying this week and would begin the 267-lap race from the 11th spot.
After some excellent work on pit road by the No. 99 team to tighten up the loose handling car and repair a slightly damaged right quarter panel, Edwards had a car that he could manage but was well aware that strategy would be the key to success if they were to have a shot at the win. On the last caution of the day on lap 220, Jimmy Fennig instructed the Columbia, MO native to stay out and conserve fuel which bumped the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion up to the second position. Edwards contended for the lead but would eventually wind up in fifth to end the day.
Tune is as Carl Edwards and the No.99 team takes on the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor this Sunday, March 16. Race coverage begins at 1:00p.m.on FOX.