WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (August 10, 2008) – For the second race in a row, a gamble on pit strategy helped propel the Office Depot team to a solid finish. Edwards finished ninth at Watkins Glen on Sunday afternoon after crew chief Bob Osborne elected to pit early, bringing the No. 99 Ford to the checkered flag with little fuel to spare.
When qualifying was rained out on Friday afternoon and the field was set according to the 2008 point standings, Edwards was given the third starting spot. In the opening laps of the first run, Edwards reported to Osborne that the Office Depot Ford was tight in the left hand turns. Edwards slipped to the fifth position, but reported that as the laps clicked off the balance of their Ford Fusion began to improve.
Osborne elected to pit early in the opening run, calling Edwards to pit road at lap 20 to take on four tires, fuel and a slight air pressure adjustment. Edwards rejoined the field in the 34th position, but as the leaders began to come to pit road for service and the field cycled through their stops, Edwards reassumed the fifth position.
As green flag racing continued, Edwards began to run down the race leaders. He was able to overtake the cars of Kevin Harvick and Juan Pablo Montoya, advancing to the third position at lap 42. As Osborne began to discuss pit strategy over the team radio, the No. 77 car got off course, throwing debris onto the racetrack. NASCAR was forced to throw the caution flag so safety crews could clean the track.
Green flag racing resumed at lap 50, and Osborne elected to bring Edwards to pit road at lap 52 to take on four tires, fuel and another slight air pressure adjustment. Osborne reported to Edwards that if the race went to the finish under green flag conditions, they would be three laps short of making it to the finish. Osborne cited previous race statistics in his strategy to pit early, as a series of late race cautions would allow the team to make it to the end of the race. As the leaders came to pit road for their service, Edwards cycled through to the 13th position before the No. 28 of Travis Kvapil got off course, bringing out the caution flag at lap 64.
Edwards restarted in the 11th position, but quickly worked his way to the eighth spot. A multi-car incident at lap 82 forced NASCAR to throw the red flag, as the sand and water barrels at the entrance of pit road were destroyed. After a 45-minute red flag period, green flag racing resumed at lap 85, leaving just five laps for Edwards to advance his position. The Nos. 84 and 48 got by Edwards on the drop of the flag, but he was able to get past the No. 84 on the final lap to finish in the ninth position.
Following their win at ninth-place finish at Watkins Glen, Edwards and the No. 99 team advanced to the second position in the NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings, 242 markers behind point leader Kyle Busch. The Sprint Cup Series races next at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday, August 17, 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.