Edwards Falls to Ninth in Point Standings After 26th-Place Finish
RICHMOND, VIR. (May 2, 2009) – Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion came to Richmond International Raceway off of a whirl wind media tour resulting from his horrifying last-lap accident last week at Talladega Superspeedway. Despite the hectic week that included stops in Los Angeles, Ca. and Washington D.C., Edwards was ready to go racing. But soon after Edwards hit the track on Friday it would be clear that that Aflac team would face an uphill battle as they struggled to find the perfect setup during both practice sessions and qualified a less than stellar 37th position for Saturday night's Crown Royal presents the Russ Friedman 400. Obstacles would befall team 99 throughout the 400-lap event and though Edwards ran as high as second place, in the end he would bring home a disappointing 26th-place finish.
Rain delayed the start of the race and the 43-car field took a green/yellow flag to start the race. On lap seven they finally went racing and Edwards made is way through the field to 20th position by the first round of green flag pit stops on lap 94. Since Edwards reported that his Ford was “tight in the center and free off,” an air pressure adjustment was also made during the routine stop for four tires and fuel. When the field cycled through, Edwards was scored in 19th place.
A caution on lap 113 brought some strategy into play for the Aflac team. While most of the field pitted for four tires and fuel, crew chief Bob Osborne directed Edwards to “go on the jack” - meaning he’d only take two tires. The strategy played in the favor of the 99 team, as Edwards was scored in eighth place when green flag racing commenced on lap 121.
Edwards maintained a top-15 running position throughout the next 43 laps. But, on lap 164 David Stremme’s No. 12 clipped Edwards’ No. 99 and sent it spinning. Though Edwards escaped the accident with little damage, Osborne brought him down pit road as a precaution. Edwards fell to 21st place after the incident.
Still battling “tight in the center and loose off” handling conditions, Edwards would see pit road on five different occasions for scheduled pit stops. Wedge and air pressure adjustments were made, however nothing seemed to improve the handling of Edwards’ Ford and he ran in and around 20th position for more than 160 laps.
Strategy once again came into play for team 99 around lap 335, when once more, Osborne decided to go against the field in order to gain track position. Edwards stayed on the track when most of the other cars pitted and was running in second place with just under 70 laps remaining in competition.
Edwards held his own for several laps, but quickly began to fall back. Even though two more yellow flags waved before the races conclusion, Osborne kept Edwards on the track. With each passing lap, Edwards lost more track position and when the checkers finally waved he was scored in 26th position.
“The car just didn’t handle without tires,” Edwards said following the race. “It just got way too free and lost a lot of speed there at the end. I’m disappointed with the finish and know that my Aflac team is capable of more.”
In a race that featured a record-tying 15 cautions, Kyle Busch, who had won Friday night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race at the .75-mile short track, passed Jeff Gordon for the lead on Lap 352. Busch got to the finish line almost 3 seconds ahead of Tony Stewart to win his third NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season and the 15th of his career. Jeff Burton, Ryan Newman and Mark Martin followed to complete the top five.
Edwards fell from seventh to ninth position in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings. He trails leader, Jeff Gordon by 237 points.
Edwards and the No. 99 Aflac team will carry a special paint scheme next week at Darlington Raceway. Tune in to FOX television for the live broadcast of the Southern 500 Saturday, May 9 at 8:00 p.m. (EST) to see what’s “UP.”
Edwards’ Richmond Results
Fastest Laps: Four
Laps in top 15: 103
Edwards’ 2009 Cumulative Record
Races: 10 of 36
Behind Leader: -237
Top 5s: One
Top 10s: Four
Top 15s: Five
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 three 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.