INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 27, 2008) – In what was one of the most highly anticipated races of the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, Carl Edwards finished second at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the 15th running of the Brickyard 400. In what should have been one of the most competitive races of the season, things took a turn for the worse before the race got underway.
For the second time in three years, Indianapolis Motor Speedway experienced tire issues with major races at the 2.5-mile facility. When the Formula One cars came to race in 2005, only six of the 22-car starting field actually took the green flag. The other participants staged a protest, pulling off the track on the parade laps and refusing to participate in the event due to concerns about tire wear. This weekend’s Sprint Cup Series activities experienced some of the same issues, but fortunately all 43 participants made the most of the situation and started the race as planned.
Teams struggled with tire issues from the onset of the weekend, with many drivers wearing tires to the cords in only a handful of laps. NASCAR and Goodyear officials hoped that as the practice sessions were run, more rubber would be laid on the track allowing for the conditions to improve. Unfortunately the results were not what either party expected, and from the drop of the green flag on Sunday afternoon, survival became the name of the game.
Edwards took the green flag from the ninth starting position, and quickly gained positions in the Aflac Ford. Two wrecks in the early running of the event slowed Edwards’ progress, but in the limited green flag laps he showed that his No. 99 was one of the fastest cars on the racetrack. NASCAR elected to throw a competition caution at lap 14 to allow teams to examine their tire wear and when everyone came to pit road, they were faced with a problem that would plague them for the duration of the event – the tire wear had not improved, forcing NASCAR to restrict green flag runs to ten laps or less for the duration of the event.
Edwards and crew chief Bob Osborne agreed that their Aflac Fusion was among the fastest cars on the racetrack, but adjusted on the setup to find a balance that would be more conservative towards the tires. With each stop, the Aflac crew did their part to help Edwards gain track position. With many teams conserving until the ending stages of the race, Edwards and Osborne continued to work together to get the balance where they needed it to contend for the race win.
In the closing laps of the race, it came down to Edwards and the No. 48 of Jimmie Johnson. Edwards did what he could to challenge for the victory, but could not catch him in the final laps of the event. After a very long day, Edwards brought the Aflac Ford home in the second position.
“That’s a long day,” said Edwards. “Everyone’s trying to do their best. I personally want to say to the fans that everybody was doing their best to make that a race. At least we got to run there at the end. Jimmie just was fast; we were about the same. Man, it would be cool to win this one. Second place is not what we came here for. Jimmie and I were about the same speed. I just couldn’t do anything with him. He did a really good job. We’re going to win this race eventually. We get one shot a year, and we get better every time so it’ll be fun to come back.”
“I just hope that the fans understand that Goodyear and all of us, everybody, did the best we could, and that was just a worst-case scenario there, and that’ll get better,” Edwards continued. “I’m sure we won’t ever have a race like that again here. It was just really hard to get in a rhythm and race. No one ran 100 percent until the last run. I thought we were better than Jimmie, but he did a good job of holding back just a little more than I thought he was. I thought we had him.”
Following their second place finish at Indianapolis, Edwards and the No. 99 team dropped one spot to the fifth position in the NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings, 320 markers behind point leader Kyle Busch. The Sprint Cup Series races next at Pocono Raceway on Sunday, August 3, 2008.
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.