Bristol, Tenn. (Mar. 18th, 2013) – In today’s Food City 500, Carl Edwards drove the Frosted Flakes Ford Fusion to a 18th-place finish after battling hard in a quick race around the half-mile track. Edwards, who started 21st, was unable to grab the desirable track position needed on a tough track such as Bristol Motor Speedway, causing him to remain at the back of the pack for much of the race. Despite the tight passing constraints and a nagging stomach bug, Edwards managed to maneuver his way back to the top 20 with the 18th place finish.
The first of many cautions came quickly in the Food City 500 and the No. 99 came in for the first pit stop after a multi-car wreck involving the No. 99, No. 18 and No. 31 on lap 54. On such a short track where loosing lap position happens quickly, crew chief Jimmy Fennig had the 99 crew split up right and left side repairs over the next five laps but remaining under the first caution. On the first restart, NASCAR officials had a faulty penalty when they sent the Frosted Flakes Ford to the back after they thought Edwards had come in to pit early.
Despite the slight setback to 36th place on the 62nd lap restart, Edwards was able to regain track position before the second caution of the day came out on lap 70. The 99 crew conducted another round of pit stops under the third caution, continuing to fix body damage, refresh tires and make chassis adjustments. Edwards came into the fourth and fifth pit stops in 29th but was quickly set back to 30th-place for the next 85 laps.
By lap 155 the Frosted Flakes Ford was the first car a lap down from the leaders, making Edwards the “lucky dog” and giving the team potential for a free makeup lap should another caution go out. Unfortunately, teammate Ricky Stenhouse in the No. 17 Best Buy Ford sneaked ahead when the next caution went out on lap 233, knocking the No. 99 out of the lucky dog spot.
Another caution came out at the 233rd lap and Fennig instructed Edwards to take the wave around in order to regain laps from the leaderboard as others came in to pit. The strategy proved well upon the restart and Edwards drove up to 23rd through the next 100 laps. Steady strategies by the team saw continued gains in track positioning, and with less than 70 laps to go Edwards was battling for the lucky dog position again, this time with fellow Ford teammate Marcos Ambrose.
As the last 50 laps were in sight, Edwards bounced between 20th and 19th with the No. 9 Ford of Ambrose, but when the white flag dropped, a ferocious fight to the end resulted in another pass and the final 18th-place finish.
“I have to thank the infield medical folks and the folks with NASCAR medical,” said Edwards. “They really helped me out a lot today. That’s the most miserable race I’ve ever been through, but there was a little bit of satisfaction to come back and finish 18th.”
Edwards’ finish in today’s race places him 38 points behind leader Brad Keselowski in eighth-place. The No. 99 team will return to the west coast next week for the Auto Club 400 in Fontana, California at 3 p.m. EST on FOX.