Engine Trouble Relegates Pole Sitter to 42nd-Place Finish; Edwards Falls to Ninth in ‘Chase’ Standings
AVONDALE, Ariz. (Nov. 11, 2007) – Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford, captured his first pole of 2007 this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway with a fast lap time of 27.114. In addition to his impressive qualifying lap, Edwards was also among the fastest during each of the practice sessions for Sunday’s Checkers Auto Parts 500. Edwards and the Office Depot crew were confident and optimistic heading into the second-to-last race of the 2007 season. From the drop of the green flag Edwards dominated the field, leading the first 87 laps of the race. However engine failure on lap 105 sent Edwards and the No. 99 to the garage and ultimately ended their day. Edwards finished the race in 42nd place and fell from fourth to ninth in ‘Chase’ standings.
Edwards led the 43-car field to the green flag at 1:50 p.m. (GMT) and soon took a commanding one-second lead over Martin Truex, Jr. who was running second. By the first caution on lap 25 Edwards was reporting that his Office Depot Fusion was handing “a little loose off.” Crew chief Bob Osborne utilized this caution period for the first of two pit stops. Two tires, fuel and a minor air pressure adjustment were made and Edwards exited pit road once again leading the race.
Still maintaining a substantial lead when green flag racing commenced on lap 28, Edwards continued to report that his Ford was handling “way loose,” so when caution again fell on lap 86, Osborne directed him to the pits. Four tires, fuel and another air pressure adjustment were performed and Edwards exited the pits on lap 90 in second place.
Still turning some of the race’s fastest laps, Edwards held onto second position until lap 104 when he radioed to his crew that “the motor’s blowing up.” He stayed on the track for one lap to make certain that was indeed the case and on lap 106 Edwards drove the No. 99 to the garage.
For 38 laps the Office Depot crew worked to mend the troubled engine and by lap 145 Edwards had returned to the track. However just 17 laps later, the No. 99 was smoking heavily and Edwards once again returned to the garage – this time for good.
“I had a great Office Depot Ford today. That thing is awesome, but we lost something important in the engine. I don’t know what it is, but we don’t have many engine failures. It’s too bad to have one on this day, I would have welcomed one at Texas last week but to have it today – this Office Depot Fusion was so fast. I mean, I was out there just having a blast. I could go just about as fast as I wanted, so you don’t get that very often. It’s too bad it blew up. The race conditions today were perfect. The track was slippery and it’s hot. It was a lot of fun out there; I just wish we could have finished this thing.”
Jimmie Johnson went on to capture his forth consecutive win. Roush Fenway Racing teammates, Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth finished second and third respectively. Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman completed the top five.
The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season will conclude on Sunday, November 18 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The Ford 400 is slated for 3:00 p.m. (EST). ABC television and MRN radio affiliates will carry the live broadcast.
About Roush Fenway Racing
Roush Fenway Racing is NASCAR’s largest team operating 14 motorsports teams, five in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup with drivers Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and David Ragan; five in the Busch Series with Kenseth, Biffle, Edwards, McMurray, Ragan, Todd Kluever, Michel Jourdain Jr. and Danny O’Quinn Jr.; and three in the Craftsman Truck Series with Edwards, Peter Shepherd, Travis Kvapil, Erik Darnell and T.J. Bell; and one in the ARCA/REMAX Series with Colin Braun and Darnell. 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.
Edwards’ Checkers Auto Club 500 Results
Fastest Laps: 33
Laps in Top 15: 105/312
Laps Led: 87
Edwards’ 2007 Cumulative Record
Races: 35 of 36
Top 5s: 10
Top 10s: 14
Top 15s: 23