Edwards Survives Wild Budweiser Shootout to Finish Ninth
DAYTONA BEACH, FL -- The Budweiser Shootout marks the first race of the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. It is typically a wild race with no points on the line, and Saturday's race was no exception. Three multi-car accidents took out much of the field but Carl Edwards was able to avoid both of them, for the most, part to finish ninth.
Edwards started the 75-lap race in 11th place based on Friday night's drawing. He pitted during caution for the first accident on lap 10 and a quick pit stop by the Fastenal Blue Team moved him up to seventh. The action was halted for a scheduled 10-minute break after 25 laps.
When the race resumed Edwards was sixth and moved up to second pushing his Roush Fenway teammate Greg Biffle to the lead. The duo looked good until the next caution on lap 33 which brought Edwards to pit road for right-side tires and fuel. Several teams opted for fuel only so Edwards restarted in 11th place.
With 25 laps to go he was riding single file in 14th place. That was likely a good strategy since several cars were involved in an accident in front him on lap 57. He moved up to sixth place for the restart, but again fell back to 15th with 10 laps to go.
Edwards was 11th with two to go when the leaders were involved in a huge accident that left Jeff Gordon on his roof (Gordon was not injured). Edwards made it through the melee with some damage to his right-front fender. He pitted for four tires and to patch the damaged sheet metal well enough to hold for a green-white-checker finish. He was 10th for the two-lap shootout and was only able to move up to ninth when the checkered flag fell.
Kyle Busch won the race followed by Tony Stewart, Marcos Ambrose, Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin. Greg Biffle, Ryan Newman, Clint Bowyer, Edwards and Juan Pablo Montoya rounded out the top 10.
"It was okay and with this style of racing you just never know what's going to happen," Edwards said. "I did the best I could and I thought we were going to have a shot at it at the end, but that's just tough. We'll be all right and we're going to have a fast car for next week. We learned a lot tonight."
The next race will be the Gatorade Duels on Thursday, February 23 at 1 p.m. live on SPEED. Those races will determine the starting line-up for next Sunday's Daytona 500.