HAMPTON, Ga. (Sep. 1, 2014) – Edwards started from 11th position, but jumped into the top-10 on the first lap and stayed there for 240 laps of the 334 lap overtime race, 51 of them in the top-five. He survived nine cautions while fighting a tight condition in his car the entire race. The Subway team was able to tweak it enough to jump back from 16th position beating and banging through two attempts at a green-white-checkered finish. Edwards was able to capture a hard fought fifth place when the checkered flag flew after two great restarts in the wild scramble at the end of the race.
“That was crazy,” stated Edwards. “Those last couple of restarts were really fun. I hate that we tore up a bunch of cars, but it was definitely exciting. It’s always fun to race here at Atlanta. I love this place. It was crazy at the end. I thought if that restart would have gone a little differently, I thought we actually had a shot. I think everybody felt that way, so I’ve got to thank Subway, Ford and everybody for bringing us a good car.”
Edwards and the No. 99 Subway team started from the 11th position when the green flag waved for the Oral B USA 500. Edwards jumped into the top-10 on the first lap and was in the top-five by lap 17. The first caution came out on lap 38 and Crew Chief Jimmy Fennig called for wedge and air adjustments to help give Edwards grip. During the pitstop NASCAR advised Fennig that the transponder wasn’t working so they allowed Edwards to come back in and the Subway team replaced it allowing them to maintain their fifth place position.
Three more caution flags flew and Fennig called for more of the same, air and wedge to tighten their Subway Ford Fusion.
When the fifth caution flag flew on lap 172, Edwards pitted allowing the Subway team to make more trackbar and air adjustments. The pit crew’s fast work allowed Edwards to gain two spots on pit road, reentering the race in eighth.
Edwards gained his highest position of fourth on lap 181. The car was handling much better so he pitted for only tires and fuel during the sixth caution on lap 208.
Edwards stayed in the top 10 over the next 73 laps and then dropped back to 14th. With 31 laps to go, Edwards green flag pitted, but on the next lap the eighth yellow flag flew causing Edwards to go down a lap. Fennig told Edwards to stay out and grab the wave around, placing him back on the lead lap but behind several lap down cars. When the race went green on lap 302 and everything shook out, Edwards was scored in 13th.
Edwards pitted on lap 323 when the No. 18 and No. 78 cars wrecked. Fennig made a strategy call to tape up the car and adjust the trackbar. When the green flag flew for the first attempt at a green-white-checkered finish there was a mad scramble in overtime racing on the 1.5-mile oval. Edwards had a great restart shooting him from 10th to eighth when he was hit by the No. 88 pushing him into the No. 16 while trying to miss the wreck in front of them.
On lap 332 for the second attempt at a green-white-checkered finish, Edwards was in eighth and had another great restart going three-wide. While banging and battering around, he fought his way to another top-five finish.
Edwards said, “I thought we had something there. I thought being on the outside, our Subway Ford was fast the first two laps of every restart. We had a plan, but Kurt (Busch) moved to the top and he did what he was supposed to do and I was stuck going to the middle and it didn’t work out the way I wanted it to. But it was a really fun race. We struggled in the middle, but having a couple shots at the end was a real blast.”
Next up for Edwards and the No. 99 team is the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday, Sept. 6. Race coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. ET on ABC. Coverage can also be heard on MRN and SIRIUS radio channel 90.