Edwards Claims Three Awards in Phoenix; Year-End Contingency Race Tightens Seven Year-End Awards To Be Decided At Homestead-Miami Speedway CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Nov. 15, 2010) -- Carl Edwards and the No. 99 Aflac team demonstrated the consistency and...
Edwards Claims Three Awards in Phoenix; Year-End Contingency Race Tightens
Seven Year-End Awards To Be Decided At Homestead-Miami Speedway
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Nov. 15, 2010) -- Carl Edwards and the No. 99 Aflac team demonstrated the consistency and patience it takes to win at Phoenix International Raceway to capture the Kobalt Tools 500 and three post-race contingency awards. Meanwhile, as the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup enters its final weekend with the closest points battle in its history, seven year-end contingency award titles will also be decided at Homestead Miami Speedway.
While the Chase battle is separated by just 46 points among the top three competitors, battles on the track, pit road and crew chief strategies will determine who claims annual titles in the following contingency award categories: Coors Light Pole Award; DirecTV Crew Chief of the Year; Goodyear Gatorback Fastest Lap Award; MAHLE Clevite Engine Builder Award; O'Reilly Auto Parts Position Improvement Award; Tissot Pit Road Precision Award and Wix Filters Lap Leader Award.
The standings for many of those awards only got tighter in Phoenix. Denny Hamlin captured his fourth Goodyear Gatorback Fastest Lap of the Race Award, tying him with Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch for the year-end award. After leading 190 laps on Sunday, Hamlin earned his eighth Wix Filters Lap Leader of the Race Award, taking a narrow lead over Kyle Busch (7) in the year-end standings.
Kevin Harvick claimed his sixth O'Reilly Auto Parts Position Improvement Award of the year, taking the lead in that category over Hamlin, who has won the weekly award five times.
In his first victory in 70 races, Edwards earned the Sunoco Diamond Performance Award of the Race as the highest finishing eligible driver. Crew Chief Bob Osborne captured his first DirecTV Crew Chief of the Race Award, given weekly to the crew chief of the driver who has demonstrated the best qualifying and race effort based on finishing times during the weekend. Additionally, the No. 29 Richard Childress Racing team, which sits third in the Chase standings just 46 points behind Hamlin, was named the fourth-quarter winner of the Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award, for its pit road performance during that time period.
The Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award, which is determined by a vote of each team's crew chief, is given quarterly to the top-performing pit crew in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The four quarterly winners are eligible for the year-end Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award presented during Champion's Week in Las Vegas. The four finalists are the No. 56 Michael Waltrip Racing team, No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing team, No. 00 Michael Waltrip Racing team and the No. 29 Richard Childress Racing team. These awards are part of the NASCAR Prize Money and Decal Program, also referred to as the Contingency Program, which provide teams prize money and weekly awards based on performance in several categories.
In remarks regarding race strategy and fuel mileage, Osborne said, "It was a gamble at the end of the day ... That's when it comes into trying to keep Carl informed on how many laps short we are, his best judgment on whether he can save that many laps or not. It's either, 'Yeah, I think I can save that many laps, we take the gamble,' or, 'Positively no way I can save that many laps,' and we decide to come up with a strategy to pit."
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship will be decided, along with the seven year-end contingency awards, this Sunday at the Ford 400 (ESPN; 1 p.m. ET).
Official winners of this week's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Prize Money & Decal Program special awards include:
* COORS LIGHT POLE AWARD: Carl Edwards (136.389 mph)
* DIRECTV CREW CHIEF OF THE RACE AWARD: Bob Osborne (crew chief for Carl Edwards)
* GOODYEAR GATORBACK BELTS FASTEST LAP AWARD: Denny Hamlin (130.336 mph, Lap 108)
* MAHLE CLEVITE ENGINE BUILDER OF THE RACE AWARD: Tom Ghent (engine builder for Carl Edwards, No. 99)
* MECHANIX WEAR MOST VALUABLE PIT CREW AWARD (Q4): No. 29, Richard Childress Racing
* MOBIL 1 "COMMAND PERFORMANCE DRIVER OF THE RACE" AWARD: Kurt Busch
* MOOG CHASSIS PARTS PROBLEM SOLVER OF THE RACE AWARD: Alan Gustafson (crew chief for Mark Martin)
* O'REILLY AUTO PARTS POSITION IMPROVEMENT AWARD:Kevin Harvick (23 places)
* SUNOCO DIAMOND PERFORMANCE AWARD: Carl Edwards
* TISSOT "PIT ROAD PRECISION" AWARD: Jimmie Johnson (170.246 seconds)
* WIX FILTERS LAP LEADER AWARD: Denny Hamlin (190 Laps)