After not making the Chase last weekend at Richmond, Carl Edwards felt this weekend’s race at Chicago was the start to his quest for the 2013 championship. After adjustments early in the race the No. 99 Fastenal Ford was in the top 10 until a pit road speeding penalty ultimately left Edwards with a 19th-place finish.
He started the 267-lap race in fifth place but fell back early as the car was too tight. The Fastenal Blue Team used the first few pit stops to work on the car’s handling. By lap 100 he was in 13th place.
For the first time in quite a while, Edwards caught a break on lap 150. While running 18th he was about to make a green-flag pit stop but a caution came just before he hit pit road, so he was able to stay out and gain valuable track position by pitting under caution. He was up to eighth when the race resumed on lap 158.
The adjustments the team made throughout the race seemed to help as Edwards was able to maintain his position in the top 10. His luck turned during a routine pit stop on lap 189. It looked as though he would restart 10th until NASCAR issued a pit road speeding penalty for being too fast entering the pits. The penalty put Edwards at the back of the lead lap cars so he was forced to drop back to 24th when the race resumed on lap 195.
Edwards spent the remainder of the race trying to regain his track position, but without another caution that task was a challenge. The field was spread out so he was only able to work his way up to 19th before the race ended.
Brad Keselowski won the race followed by Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Kyle Busch and Ryan Newman. Tony Stewart, Joey Logano, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Martin Truex and Clint Bowyer rounded out the top 10.
“The pit road speeding penalty hurt us for sure,” Edwards said. “We kept working on the car during every stop and could have had a top-10 finish today. We’ve still got nine races left this season and we are determined to get this team in victory lane.”
Edwards and the No. 99 team lost one spot and are 15th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings. The next race will be Sunday, September 23 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The race will begin at 2:00 p.m. (ET) on ESPN.
Roush Fenway Racing PR