Edwards Expands Points Lead at Talladega
TALLADEGA, AL - The one race in the 10-race Chase that every driver agrees is a wild-card is Talladega. The best driver or the best car can be out of contention in the blink of an eye if caught at the wrong place at the wrong time. Carl Edwards and the No. 99 Subway team did their best to avoid that situation and it paid off in the end.
After spending the entire race in the back of the field with Roush Fenway teammate Greg Biffle, Edwards avoided the accidents and surged to the front with two laps to go for an 11th-place finish.
Edwards and Biffle worked well together at the other restrictor-plate races this season and once again agreed to help each other throughout the race. When the green flag flew, Edwards began to drop back in the field as planned to ride in a two-car draft with Biffle until late in the race.
The Edwards/Biffle tandem strategy worked well. They experimented early to be sure they could get to the front when they were ready, meanwhile avoiding the inevitable accidents along the way. Each driver took a turn leading a lap during a caution on laps 164 and 165 before pitting and returning to the rear of the field
With 10 laps to go Edwards was 23rd and wanted to wait a bit longer before aggressively moving to the front. It was a smart move as an accident happened in front of him with six laps to go. He pitted one last time for tires since he ran over some debris and was still 23rd when the race resumed with two laps to go.
Biffle stuck with Edwards and pushed him up through the field. He was 15th with one to go, and gained a few more positions to finish the race in 11th place
Clint Bowyer won the race followed by Jeff Burton, Dave Blaney, Brad Keselowski and Brian Vickers. Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin, Michael Waltrip and Martin Truex Jr., rounded out the top 10.
"I don't know that I have ever been so excited about 11th place," Edwards said. "This race was one that was nerve-racking for everyone but we came in here with a small point lead and that was a huge day for us. I cannot believe how much Greg helped us today. I owe him a lot. Greg stuck with me all day. On the last lap he was driving my car from back there. We got separated and he was screaming, ‘Go, go, go.' Somehow I found him and he pushed us back up there a little bit. It was a very good day. I appreciate Subway being on board and it is good to get them a good finish even though it is not a win, it is a big battle in the war and a huge day for us."
Edwards and the No. 99 team now lead the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase point standings by 14 points over RFR teammate Matt Kenseth with four races remaining. The next Chase race will be Sunday, October 30 at Martinsville Speedway. Coverage will begin at 12:30 p.m. (CT) on ESPN.