Darlington, S.C. (May 12, 2012) – Darlington Raceway is known as the track “Too Tough To Tame,” and it is also one of Carl Edwards’ favorite places to race. Once again the track proved to be a challenge for many, but Edwards persevered to get a top-10 finish by taking on new tires with 33 laps to go.
Edwards started seventh and ran in the top 10 most of the night. The Ford EcoBoost Fusion was tight in the center and loose off much of the night, but the crew made adjustments on each pit stop to keep Edwards competitive.
A caution with 36 laps to go changed the landscape of the race. While running seventh Edwards had been saving fuel to try to go the distance, but during that caution he & crew chief Bob Osborne decided to give up some track position to pit for four new tires with so many laps left to race. The stop put him in 12th for the restart with 33 laps to go, but the new tires were worth it.
As the laps wound down Edwards was picking off competitors. He was up to 10th with 25 laps to go and moved into seventh with 17 laps to go. A final caution with six laps to go slowed his progress. The race resumed with only two laps to go, which was not enough time for Edwards to gain any more spots. He finished the race in seventh place.
Jimmie Johnson won the race followed by Denny Hamlin, Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. Matt Kenseth, Edwards, Kasey Kahne, Marcos Ambrose and Joey Logano rounded out the top 10.
“We pitted for four tires there at the end and got back to seventh, but I think it was still the right move,” Edwards said. “I think Bob made the right call because we were probably going to be about seventh. That seemed about the best we could run there towards the end was sixth or seventh. It was a hard-fought day. I raced hard with Matt (Kenseth) there at the end and almost wrecked us both, so I’m glad I didn’t, but it was pretty fun.”
Edwards and the No. 99 team gained one position and are 10th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings, 74 points behind the leader, Greg Biffle. The next race will be Saturday, May 19 at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Sprint All-Star race. The special non-points race will begin at 9:00 p.m. (ET) on SPEED.