Carl Edwards headed to Martinsville Speedway as the leader of the Sprint Cup Standings and was hoping to hang on to the top spot while facing a track that has eluded him in the past. Starting from the eighth position, the Roush Fenway Racing driver battled an ill handling race car shuffling him back early on. After some good adjustments by the No.99 team, Edwards worked himself up to the second spot with approximately 143 laps remaining. While running in the top-five, Edwards got sideways bringing out the yellow flag at lap 458. With less than 50 laps remaining after the misfortune, Edwards was forced to settle for a 13th-place finish in Sunday’s STP 500.
“We’ve always had a little bit of trouble there,” Edwards said leading into the Martinsville race weekend. “We have struggled at Martinsville, it’s a tough place. Overall, it is nice to go there with a win and to be in the points lead because we can go and have some fun.”
The Columbia, MO native qualified in the eighth spot, earning his best start in the last five Sprint Cup Series starts at the half mile track. The No. 99 Fastenal Ford Fusion was tight in the center to begin the day and lacked rear grip which was a concern for Edwards as he lost spots early on. With the necessary adjustments, Edwards bullied his way back into the top-ten.
Edwards would eventually find himself as far back as the 22nd-position but his team once again fought back to regain their top-10 standing at the halfway point of the 500 lap race, getting the car to a place that was “pretty good” and “manageable” per Edwards. The NASCAR champion wheeled his way up through the field posting fast lap times and passing his competition one by one, reaching the second spot with 143 laps remaining.
The lack of grip eventually caught up with Edwards as he lost control of the rear at Lap 458 bringing out a caution. The No. 99 team would settle for a 13th-place finish when the checkered waved.