Edwards Overcomes Early Misfortunes at Pocono to Finish 11th
LONG POND, Penn. (June 10, 2012) – Carl Edwards had a rough start to the race on Sunday at Pocono Raceway, but he and the No. 99 Frosted Flakes/Cheez-It team rallied to overcome the early setbacks and finish 11th.
Edwards started second, but on the very first lap he made contact with Denny Hamlin which caused a tire rub on the left-rear fender. He dropped to the rear of the field to pit for tires and to pull out the fender, but he did catch a lucky break as the caution flag came out for an unrelated accident a few moments later. Edwards brought his Ford to pit road for the team to make repairs and returned to the race in 39th place.
The next setback came as the race resumed. Edwards had to start at the tail end of the longest line for pitting before pit road was open which the team anticipated. After he returned to the track some cars pitted to top off fuel and were a good distance behind him. He tried to slow down to let them pass before the restart, but they were too far back so Edwards took the green flag in 28th place. NASCAR elected to black flag him for being out of position on the restart which meant a pass-thru penalty. Despite arguing the call with NASCAR, Edwards came down pit road to serve his penalty and fell back to 40th place by lap nine.
He spent much of the race trying to regain his lost track position, but a two-tire pit stop on lap 67 put him back in the top 10. He was as high as sixth during a restart on lap 83, but then lost several positions when Marcos Ambrose got loose and Edwards had to let off the gas to avoid hitting him. He dropped back to 13th.
The team made their final pit stop of the race on lap 125 and at the time crew chief Bob Osborne told Edwards he would be four laps short on fuel to finish the race. Edwards immediately went into fuel-conservation mode to avoid making another pit stop. A lengthy caution on lap 138 when Kasey Kahne hit the wall was just what the team needed to save enough fuel to go the distance.
Edwards was up to 11th on lap 144 and was able to maintain that position through one more caution to finish the race there.
Joey Logano won the race followed by Mark Martin, Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin. Clint Bowyer, Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Paul Menard and Jamie McMurray rounded out the top 10.
“I just didn’t do a very good job on the restarts,” Edwards said. “I had a little bit of damage and I think that hurt us a little bit, but I was really frustrated out there. I’ll let the guys at NASCAR explain it to me, but I truly right now don’t know a better way to do it other than to wait. I backed up as far as I could and when they threw the green the guys were all waiting 100 yards behind me, so I didn’t think I was supposed to have to go behind the guys who were purposely letting the faster guys go.
“We should have had a little bit better result if I’d have done a little better job on the restarts, but that’s still pretty good. That first lap, I’m not sure who hit me. I think Denny hit me and I thought, ‘Man, this is just perfect,’ and we ended up saving it, so that was pretty cool.”
Edwards and the No. 99 team moved up one spot to 11th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings, 100 points behind the new leader, Matt Kenseth. The next race will be Sunday, June 17 at Michigan International Speedway. The race will begin at 1:00 p.m. (ET) on TNT.