Winner from September's Richmond race has a harder time this go-around
RICHMOND, Virginia -- Carl Edwards visited Richmond International Raceway as the reigning champ at the three-quarter mile track after his win in September of 2013. The No. 99 Ford Always Racing Fusion started from the 16th spot and the combination of speed and impressive work on pit road put the Roush Fenway driver inside the top 10 about a quarter of the way through the 400 lap race.
After continuing issues with the right front tire required an early pit at lap 292, Edwards was set back two laps down in the 26th spot. The team fought back, and a late race call to stay out under caution put Edwards in position to rally for the top-10 finish; ending the day in ninth.
The cancellation of Sprint Cup qualifying on Friday due to rain meant that Edwards would start Saturday’s race based on his speed in the first practice, which put him in 16th. By lap 60 of the race the NASCAR Champion had driven up the field and into the 10th-position. A strong pit stop under yellow at lap 101 allowed him to jump up even further to the seventh spot, and he would settle into the top-10 for much of the day.
Tire issues plagued many drivers on the track and Edwards was no exception, as he experienced his right front giving up on numerous occasions throughout the evening. At lap 292, he had no choice but to bring in the Ford Always Racing Fusion in early to prevent the potential for a blown tire. This four tire pit set Edwards two laps back as he left pit road in 26th.
The No. 99 team never gave up and was determined to find a way to regain the ground that had been lost. Edwards fought hard to put himself in the “Lucky Dog” position and with 22 laps to go he made it back on to the lead lap when the yellow came out.
Edwards was in the 22nd spot when yet another caution took place with 15 to go, and Crew Chief Jimmy Fennig opted to stay out and gain position. This call bumped Edwards up to the 14th-position on the restart and he fought his way through the field on the final laps of the day to end up in ninth when the checkered waved.