BRISTOL, Tenn. (March 15, 2008) – Steady rain showers throughout the day Friday forced the cancellation of both Nationwide practice sessions and qualifying. Mother Nature helped NASCAR set the 43-car field, which was set by the 2007 owner’s points. This put Edwards in the third starting position. In order to get the teams some track time before the race, NASCAR gave the teams 90 minutes of practice. The Sharpie Mini 300 took the green flag under the threat of rains and thunderstorms.
It only took three laps to bring out the first of 7 caution flags on the weather-shortened 171 lap race. Crew Chief Pierre Kuettel asked Edwards how the car was and Edwards reported that the car was good, but needed more grip. Kuettel advised Edwards they would make slight air and wedge adjustments and to stay out. Edwards stayed out through the second caution on lap 13, but pitted under the mandatory competition caution on lap 45. Edwards entered 7th for two rounds down on the trackbar and air adjustments for a 15.5 second pit stop. He restarted from the 9th position when the race went green again.
Edwards survived three more cautions and was running in the top-10 until lap 147, when his car started to fall off. Several strategies had played out and Edwards was on a different pit strategy than several of the leaders. Edwards had slipped back to the 13th position and on lap 164 the race had its 7th and final caution flag when they lost the track to steady rain showers. Kuettel advised Edwards to pit for fuel, four tires and an air pressure adjustment so they would be able to make it to the end if the race went the scheduled 300 laps. The team completed a 14.9 second stop and got Edwards out in the 14th starting position. Only one car ahead of them had four new tires and fuel to finish the race. Eventually the red flag was displayed because of continued rain. Unfortunately, the race was rained out and the No. 60 team’s strategy drizzled out with the rain and Edwards finished in the 14th position.
“If the race would have gone green again, we would have been great,” stated Edwards. “I really thought we would finish the race. I didn’t think the rain would stop us, so we got fresh tires. Two guys in front of us did too, but everyone else has 60-lap tires, so it could have been good. Our Ford Fusion was good too. We were just holding on with old tires and fell back a little bit. It’s just frustrating to end a race early because of rain, but that’s part of it. I don’t like that part of it, but it’s the same for everyone.”
Next week the No. 60 team will head to Nashville for the Easter weekend, where Edwards is the defending race champion and has won the last three consecutive races there. The Sprint Cup Series is off for Easter. Edwards dropped one position in the overall Nationwide Series standings to Clint Bowyer. Edwards is 50 points behind leader Kevin Harvick and one point behind Clint Bowyer. Edwards and the No. 60 team will be running a special Scotts Miracle-Gro paint scheme in Nashville.
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. For more information on any of the Roush Fenway Racing teams, log onto www.RoushFenway.com. For sponsorship inquiries, please contact Robin Johnson at 704.720.4645.