Mid-Race Contact Ruins What Could Have Been Top-Five Finish
MARTINSVILLE, VA. (March 29, 2009) – Carl Edwards has three goals for 2009: to win the Sprint Cup championship, to win on a road course and to win at the .526-mile Virginia track – Martinsville Speedway. In Sunday’s Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 Edwards looked to be on his way to checking off that Martinsville win, but as luck would have it, contact with another competitor on lap 280 cut the left rear tire of Edwards Aflac Ford and forced him to pit under green flag conditions. The untimely stopped proved detrimental as Edwards lost two laps in the pits. Though the Aflac team gave it their all to put Edwards back on the lead lap, too many uncontrollable circumstances would prevent them, when the checkers waved, Edwards was scored in 26th place, two laps down to the leaders.
Edwards and the No. 99 Aflac crew were only able to get in an hour and half of practice before rain began to fall in Martinsville, Va. Thus qualifying was cancelled and the field was set by owner points. Good news for the Aflac crew as Edwards’ No. 99 was ranked fifth. Though the team was happy with their starting spot, they were still hoping to get in both of Saturday’s practice sessions to find the perfect setup for the Aflac Ford, but again rain cancelled track activities. So, the setup was left up to crew chief Bob Osborne and his engineering expertise.
When the green flag waved on Sunday, the Aflac team was ready to see what kind of piece they had. Edwards soon reported “tight in the center” handling issues, but over two scheduled pit stops for air pressure and wedge adjustments, the Aflac crew had all but remedied the problem and Edwards’ Ford was among the fastest cars on the track.
By lap 254 Edwards had made his way up to third place and reported to his team that he was driving one of the best cars he had ever had at Martinsville. The glory of the good handling car and the top running position would be short lived. On lap 280 another car made contact with Edwards’ Ford slicing the left rear tire. Osborne spotted the dilemma and called Edwards to pit immediately for left side tires only. Though the Aflac crew quickly bolted on the two left side tires, the field lapped Edwards twice. He returned to the track on lap 286 in 31st position two laps down.
For the remainder of the race Edwards did all he could to make up ground. Staying on the track when others pitted, pitting for two tires, instead of four, basically any and everything that could be done to make up track position was tried, unfortunately, nothing worked and Edwards completed the race in 26th place, two laps down.
Jimmie Johnson passed Denny Hamlin on Lap 485 and pulled away to beat Hamlin by .774 seconds. The victory was Johnson’s first of the season and the 41st of his career; he now has six wins at Martinsville—five in the past six races. Tony Stewart ran third, followed by pole sitter and series points leader Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer. Ryan Newman, Mark Martin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., AJ Allmendinger and Jamie McMurray rounded out the top 10.
Following the disappointing day at Martinsville, Edwards fell from fifth to eighth in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings. He trails the leader, Jeff Gordon by 209 points.
“Bob and the guys gave me the best car I’ve ever raced at Martinsville,” said Edwards. “They did a great job in the pits. I just really hate things happened the way they did, but we’re off to Texas next week and hopefully we can get a win for Aflac there.”
Edwards and the No. 99 Aflac crew will try and defend their 2008 race win, as they mosey back to Texas next weekend for the Samsung 500 at the Texas Motor Speedway. FOX television and PRN radio affiliates will broadcast the race live beginning at 2:00 p.m. (EST) on Sunday, April 5.
Edwards’ Martinsville Results:
Fastest Laps: 24
Laps in top 15: 272
Edwards’ 2009 Cumulative Record:
Races: 6 of 36
Behind Leader: -209
Top 5s: One
Top 10s: Two
Top 15s: Three
About Roush Fenway Racing
Roush Fenway Racing is NASCAR’s largest team operating nine motorsports teams. Five in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with drivers Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and David Ragan; three in the Nationwide Series with Kenseth, Biffle, Edwards, McMurray, Ragan, Erik Darnell, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and Colin Braun; and one in the Camping World Truck Series with Braun.
For more than 50 years, Aflac products have given policyholders the opportunity to direct cash where it is needed most when a life-interrupting medical event causes financial challenges. As the number one provider of guaranteed-renewable insurance in the United States and the number one insurance company in terms of individual insurance policies in force in Japan, Aflac insurance products provide protection to more than 40 million people worldwide. Aflac has been recognized by Ethisphere magazine as one of the World's Most Ethical Companies for two consecutive years and was also named by the Reputation Institute as the Most Respected Company in the Global Insurance Industry in 2008. In 2009 Fortune magazine recognized Aflac as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America for the eleventh consecutive year. Fortune magazine also ranked Aflac No. 1 on its global list of the Most Admired Companies in the Life and Health Insurance category. Aflac appears on Hispanic Enterprise magazine's list of the 50 Best Companies for Supplier Diversity and on Black Enterprise magazine's list of the 40 Best Companies for Diversity. Aflac was also named by Forbes magazine as America's Best-Managed Company in the Insurance category. Aflac Incorporated is a Fortune 500 company listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol AFL. To find out more about Aflac, visit aflac.com.