LOUDON, N.H. (July 15, 2012) – New Hampshire Motor Speedway is known as the “Magic Mile,” but some days it is not magic for everyone. Carl Edwards fought the handling of his No. 99 Fastenal Ford all day, and after gaining good track position on the final pit stop he fell back to 18th to finish the race.
Edwards started the 301-lap race in 21st place. With only three cautions the entire race it was difficult to gain track position as the field was strung out most times. He was up to 16th by the halfway point and the crew made adjustments on each stop to try to improve the car’s handling.
Edwards was in 13th when the third and final caution of the race came on lap 235. For the first time all day crew chief Bob Osborne opted for a two-tire stop in order to gain track position for the final green-flag run. The Fastenal Blue Team had a good stop and Edwards returned to the track in ninth place.
Unfortunately he was not able to maintain that position when the race resumed with 60 laps to go. Edwards told the crew the car was extremely loose and he fell back to 18th within 10 laps. He was able to hold onto the car, but was never able to regain any of his lost track position and finished the race in 18th place.
Kasey Kahne won the race followed by Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Brad Keselowski. Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Greg Biffle and Ryan Newman rounded out the top 10.
“Our strategy was very good, but when we put on two tires at the end we went backwards because we hadn’t put on two tires to that point and it was extremely loose,” Edwards said. “The pit stops were great and I thought the strategy was great, but we just missed something in the setup. It’s really frustrating because, obviously, we needed a good run here today for the points, but we’ll keep fighting and make something happen.
“We’ll use this upcoming off weekend to regroup. I think this will be good for us. We’ll go back to the shop and get a real war plan. I say war plan because I think it’s going to be tough, but we’ve got to plan for the next seven races. We can do it though, and now we’ve just got to get it done.”
Edwards and the No. 99 team remain 11th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings, 46 points behind 10th place. After the last off-weekend of the season, the next race will be Sunday, July 29 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race will begin at 1:00 p.m. (ET) on ESPN.