Edwards Late Race Run Cut Short by Tire at Talladega
TALLADEGA, Ala. (May 4, 2014) – Carl Edwards headed to Talladega Superspeedway looking for his first win at the 2.66 mile track after a career-high finish of third last May. The Roush Fenway Racing driver started the day in the 10th-spot, and was able to quickly find a fast lane which he rode to the front by lap 35. After leading six laps early on, the No. 99 Fastenal Ford Fusion was shuffled back and would ride in the back of the field, to avoid the mayhem ahead for much of the day. The team hoped to make a final push towards the front at the end. Running in 11th position, Edwards lost a tire with less than ten laps remaining, and finished in the 30th-position.
“I lost a tire,” said Edwards following the wreck. “I tried my best to get out of the way, but I couldn’t hang on to it. I couldn’t keep the speed up and hang on to it, but all those guys did a really good job of avoiding me. The car just got too wide and too sideways and Ryan got me, but overall we were having a pretty good day. We didn’t get caught up in any wrecks and that got us. I think that would have got us no matter what we were trying.”
To begin the Aaron’s 499, Edwards worked the middle lane and was able to make his way up to the front less than 50 laps into the 189 lap race. Alliances began to form throughout the day he was shuffled to the back of the field but was content on riding it out for a while to avoid the suspenseful action in front of him.
When the yellow came out at lap 105 Crew Chief Jimmy Fennig opted to take four tires, as others took two or fuel only, in preparation for late race strategy to make shorter stops late in the day.
Edwards made a run for the front, moving from the 36th to 13th position in only six laps. A short time later the “big one” erupted ahead of him. The NASCAR champion had to brake hard to avoid the chaos, which meant that the No. 99 team would have to once again make a four tire stop to ensure safety, deterring from their original plan.
Fennig opted to save fuel on the restart and instructed Edwards to hang back for about 10 laps in hopes that they would not have to pit again. After a second “big one” occurred on lap 175, Fennig opted to pit one more time for four tires to put the team in the best shape to make a solid late-race push.
Edwards restarted in the 24th-spot hoping to quickly gain ground. With less than 10 laps to go he lost a tire in turn one hitting the wall and then dropping into the path of Ryan Newman. The No. 99 Fastenal Ford Fusion ended the day in the garage in the 30th-position.
Edwards and the No. 99 team will head to Kansas Speedway this weekend fifth in the points standings. The 5-Hour Energy 400 is set for Saturday, May 10th and will run under the lights. Coverage begins at 7:30 PM ET on FOX.