DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 7, 2012) – The night race at Daytona kicked off the second half of the NASCAR Sprint Cup season. After several tough races Carl Edwards and the No. 99 team looked to turn their season around in the second half and a top-10 finish Saturday night was a good way to get it started.
Edwards started the 160-lap race 12th and quickly jumped up to fourth in the early laps. He fell into a single-file line and remained there until the first pit stop on lap 42. The first caution of the race did not come until just before his next green-flag stop on lap 82. Edwards was able to make a two-tire stop under caution which put him up to third for the restart on lap 86.
With 50 laps to go he was in fourth place. The Subway team was just about to make a green-flag stop when a caution came out on lap 125. Edwards dove down pit road to avoid the accident and when several other cars did the same thing there was another accident on pit road. Luckily Edwards was able to avoid the mess and continue back on the track. When the pits opened he made his stop for four tires, but restarted back in 26th place with 29 laps to go.
Edwards had a difficult time working his way back up front and was 17th with 20 to go. He was shuffled back to 22nd with only 10 laps remaining, but a multi-car accident on lap 152 helped him gain the track position he needed. He was able to dodge the many wrecked cars in front of him and move up to ninth place for the final restart.
With only two laps remaining when the green flag flew the drivers knew it would be a wild finish. While coming to the checkered flag there was another multi-car wreck in front of Edwards. This time he caught a piece of it, but was able to cross the finish line. At the time he crossed the line in seventh place, but when NASCAR reviewed the scoring loops based on when the caution came out Edwards was awarded sixth place.
Tony Stewart won the race followed by Jeff Burton, Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano and Ryan Newman. Edwards, Kasey Kahne, Brad Keselowski, Michael Waltrip and Bobby Labonte rounded out the top 10.
“We had a great car tonight,” Edwards said. “That wreck coming onto pit road where we had to drive through and start at the back, I just didn’t get back to the front again on that run so that’s what set us back. But we’re very fortunate to end up where we did. We dodged the wrecks and made it out unharmed, so we’ll go to the next one.
“This whole type of event is very difficult. It’s great when you’re out front, but any other spot you’re just really trying hard not to wreck and not to try too hard and ruin your day or other people’s day, so it’s a tough race but I’m glad we finished okay.”
Edwards and the No. 99 team remain 11th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings, 31 points behind 10th place. The next race will be Sunday, July 15 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The race will begin at 1:00 p.m. (ET) on TNT.