It was a long day for Carl Edwards and the No. 99 Aflac team on Sunday in New Hampshire. Although the team had a solid qualifying effort and a good pit stall, they fought to overcome the handling throughout the entire race. After falling a lap down late in the race, Edwards was able to get the lucky dog to finish on the lead lap in 19th place.
Edwards started fifth but was not able to stay in the top 10 for long. The Aflac Ford was tight through the center and lacked grip much of the race. The crew made adjustments on every stop which seemed to help the car on the short runs, but unfortunately the race consisted of many long green-flag runs.
By halfway Edwards was 20th and still unhappy with the handling. The race went nearly 100 laps without a caution which eventually put Edwards a lap down with 45 laps to go. He remained in position to be the lucky dog and finally a caution for debris was thrown on lap 274. Edwards was able to regain his lap and pit for four tires.
He restarted the race 19th with 23 laps to go, but with many lapped cars in front of him he was not able to gain any track position in the closing laps.
Denny Hamlin won the race followed by Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Clint Bowyer and Kasey Kahne. Brad Keselowski, Tony Stewart, Joey Logano, Brian Vickers and Ryan Newman rounded out the top 10.
“It was just frustrating,” Edwards said. “That’s as fast as our car will go. We’ve got some work to do and we all know it, so we’re just going to go back and work really hard. I think the balance was as good as the guys could get it. I think Chad (Norris) and those guys did a good job with it, but there is just something missing from our whole setup and that’s what we’ve got to work on.”
Edwards and the No. 99 team remain 15th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings. The next race will be Sunday, September 30 at Dover International Speedway. The race will begin at 2:00 p.m. (ET) on ESPN.