Edwards Grabs Top-10 Finish in Much-Delayed Daytona 500
DAYTONA BEACH, FL -- This weekend marked the 54th running of the Daytona 500, and it was the first one ever delayed by rain. The race was eventually postponed until 7pm Monday evening and then a two-hour red flag made it an even longer night. Carl Edwards put his No. 99 Fastenal Ford Fusion on the pole and when all was said and done he overcame a few obstacles to finish eighth.
Edwards started the 500-mile race on the front row, but when the green flag dropped he did not lead a lap before settling into third place. The Fastenal Ford was a bit tight early but the crew made adjustments throughout the race to improve the handling.
At the halfway point he was in sixth, but dropped back as he reported the fuel pressure gauge was not reading correctly. After watching it for several laps it did not seem to cause any further problems so he decided to just keep racing. He was up to 15th on lap 133, but again fell back to 28th with 50 laps to go.
During a routine caution on lap 158 Edwards pitted for four tires and fuel. While the cars circled under caution, something caused Juan Pablo Montoya to spin on the backstretch where he hit one of the jet driers. Both vehicles burst into flames as jet fuel ran down the track. Luckily nobody was harmed, but the race was stopped for two hours as safety workers cleaned the track. Edwards sat in 16th place during the red flag.
Just before the race resumed a crew member for each team was driven to the cars to help the drivers buckle in again. A crew member removed a tear off from Edwards' windshield which is considered working on the car during the red flag, which is not allowed per NASCAR rules. Edwards was forced to restart at the back of the field in 28th place.
With 34 laps to make it to the front Edwards decided it was time to go. His progress was deterred by an accident on lap 187 which he almost avoided, but sustained some damage to the splitter and right-front fender. He pitted several times under caution to fix the damage and was able to remain on the lead lap.
Now with only seven laps to go Edwards was 22nd. He moved up to 18th before yet another caution for a multi-car accident forced a green-white-checker finish. Edwards was 12th for the final shootout and with one lap to go he remained 12th. On the final lap he was able to work his way up to eighth where he finished the race as his Roush Fenway teammates Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle battled for the win.
Matt Kenseth won the race, followed Dale Earnhardt Jr., Greg Biffle, Denny Hamlin and Jeff Burton. Paul Menard, Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Joey Logano and Mark Martin rounded out the top 10.
"I'm just really glad Matt ended up in Victory Lane," Edwards said. "That's huge for Roush Fenway, for Ford, for Best Buy. That's as big as it gets, and it ended up okay for us, too, for everything that we went through with the penalties and tearing the nose off of it. To finish eighth is huge. I think after that caution we were ready to go hard and then we had that penalty and we had to go back. That kind of screwed up our strategy, but that's okay. You can never say shoulda, woulda because we very well could be wrecked, so I'm happy as far as heading in the right direction. Thanks to Fastenal and Ford, and we'll head to Phoenix later this week."
Edwards and the No. 99 Fastenal team are currently eighth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings. The next race will be Sunday, March 3 at Phoenix International Raceway. The race will begin at 3 p.m. (ET) on FOX.