Richmond, Va. (September 8, 2012) – Carl Edwards and the No. 99 Cheez-It team came to Richmond knowing what they needed to do to make the 2012 Chase. Not only did they have to win, but they would have to hope for a few other competitors to have poor showings as well. Edwards fought hard against the other 42 drivers, as well as Mother Nature, but was only able to finish 17th.
Edwards qualified 16th after he had been fastest in final practice on Friday. Only an hour before the race on Saturday a cold front passed through Richmond which delayed the race due to rain and changed the track conditions from practice. When the race finally started two hours late the car needed a few adjustments. The crew used the competition caution on lap 47 to take the first swing at it.
The changes helped but the Cheez-It Ford still needed to turn better. Edwards was 13th after 125 laps as everyone continued to keep a close eye on the radar. Hoping to gain track position, crew chief Chad Norris called Edwards to pit road a bit early for his green-flag stop on lap 132. Unfortunately the rain returned before the field had cycled through the pits which put him a lap down.
The race was red flagged for rain for nearly an hour until the race resumed just before midnight. Edwards restarted 27th, one lap down. He was in position to be the lucky dog numerous times, but could never catch the caution he needed to regain his lap despite turning very competitive lap times.
Edwards spent the remainder of the race trying to get back on the lead lap, but was not able to accomplish that. He finished the race one lap down in 17th place.
Clint Bowyer won the race followed by Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin, Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth. Jeff Burton, Brad Keselowski, Ryan Newman, Greg Biffle and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top 10.
“This isn’t about one race,” Edwards said. “It is 26 races and we just let too many points get away for a bunch of different reasons. There was a lot of luck involved and everyone tried really hard. This is the fastest we have been the last six weeks all year and I am proud of everyone for rallying around Chad (Norris) and Bob (Osborne) included for making the best effort we could. We will just go try to build the best team we can for next year and try to make sure a Ford wins this championship.
“It makes it pretty simple for the last 10 races. We just go race as hard as we can. That has been kind of fun lately to do that but man, I don’t know, it is going to be wild to not be in the championship hunt. It won’t be as much fun at all.”
Not in the 2012 Chase, Edwards and the No. 99 team remain 14th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings, 27 points behind 13th place. The next race will be Sunday, September 16 at Chicagoland Speedway. The race will begin at 2:00 p.m. (ET) on ESPN.