DARLINGTON, S.C. (May 11, 2008) – Carl Edwards considers Darlington Raceway one of his favorite racetracks on the NASCAR Sprint Cup tour. The driver of the No. 99 Claritin Ford would like nothing more than to add a victory at the famed speedway to his already impressive resume. Edwards’ No. 99 team struggled in practice and qualifying to find the setup they needed to give him the opportunity to make his desire a reality, but changes made to the car before and during the race brought their Ford Fusion to life. Edwards was able to rebound from a 36th-place starting position to finish second on Saturday night.
Edwards took the green flag in the 36th position, and things in the back of the field got exciting quickly. While working just the second lap of the race, the No. 19 of Elliott Sadler and the No. 20 of Tony Stewart got together, bringing out the first caution of the night. As Edwards attempted to avoid the incident, he made slight contact with the outside wall. Not wanting to take any chances, crew chief Bob Osborne elected to bring Edwards to pit road at lap three to assess and repair the damage done. Fortunately, the damage was minor and Edwards was able to rejoin the field in the 39th position for the lap four restart.
Edwards continued at the rear of the field until the caution was displayed at lap 11 for the No. 77 car making heavy contact with the outside wall. Having already come to pit road on the previous caution, Osborne made the call for Edwards to stay out. When many of the leaders pitted, the move allowed Edwards to advance to the 26th position for the restart.
Once the race restarted, the field settled into a long green flag run. Edwards began to make ground on the leaders, advancing to the 15th position when green flag pit stops began. As the stops cycled, Edwards advanced to the third position. He gave up the spot when Osborne called him to pit road at lap 60 for tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment. Once the field cycled through their stops, Edwards’ Claritin Ford showed in the 20th position.
As the laps clicked off, Edwards complained that his No. 99 Ford was tight at both ends of the racetrack. He continued to hold his mid-pack position until the caution flag was displayed at lap 139 for debris on the racetrack. Once pit road was opened, Edwards came in to the attention of the Claritin crew for tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. Edwards got off pit road in the 18th position for the lap 143 restart.
As Edwards continued to run mid-pack, he radioed to the crew that he was beginning to go from tight to loose in the turns. The field continued under the green flag, setting up the field for green flag pit stops. As the field began to come to pit road, Edwards followed suit. He gave up the second position at lap 204 to come to pit road, taking on four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment. As the field completed their stops, the caution flag was displayed again at lap 235 for debris. Edwards followed the leaders down pit road once again at lap 236, taking on tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment. The No. 99 team performed flawlessly, getting Edwards back on track in the ninth position for the lap 240 restart.
Just as soon as the race resumed, the No. 83 of Brian Vickers spun off of turn four to bring out the caution flag. Having just been down pit road, Edwards kept the Claritin Fusion on the racetrack to hold his position. Varying strategies allowed Edwards to advance to the sixth position for the lap 251 restart.
As the race continued, Edwards worked his way around the Nos. 48 and 24 cars, advancing him to the fourth position. The No. 11 of Denny Hamlin spun at lap 301 to bring out the final caution flag of the night at lap 301, bringing the leaders to pit road for their final service of the race at lap 302. Edwards’ Claritin crew again performed their four tire stop flawlessly, sending Edwards back on track in the second position for the lap 306 restart. Edwards restarted behind the No. 18 of Kyle Busch, and would chase him for the remaining 60 laps of the event. The driver of the Claritin Ford did what he could to chase down Busch in the closing laps, but Busch cruised on to a 3.115-second margin of victory.
“First of all, my hat’s off to Kyle,” said Edwards. “Man, I wanted to beat him bad. I wanted to beat him so bad. Now we’re tied for wins. I wanted to keep him down a little bit, but he did a great job. This Claritin Fusion was good. I tore it up just a little bit on the left-front, but I definitely had a good time. The new surface is growing on me. I didn’t like it too much in practice. We were 43rd on the sheet, so I’m really proud of my guys.”
Following their second-place finish at Darlington, Edwards and the No. 99 team advanced three spots to the seventh position in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings. The Sprint Cup Series races next at Lowe’s Motor Speedway for the All-Star Race on Saturday night, May 17, 2008.
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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 and John Wes Townley; and one in the ARCA RE/MAX Series with Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.