Monday, May 14, 2012

The "Lady In Black" goes easy on the RFR drivers

Points leader Greg Biffle
Photo by Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs
The “Lady in Black”, aka Darlington Raceway, wasn’t quite as vicious this year as she usually is, but she still managed to claim some damage in the Bojangles’ Southern 500 on Saturday night. 

Luckily, the Roush Fenway Racing boys managed to avoid damage during the race and still all finish in the top 12.

Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M/OH/ES Ford, started the race as the polesitter, his second pole position of the season (with the first being at Bristol Motor Speedway in March). Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 EcoBoost Ford, started the race in 7th position. Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 Zest Ford started the race on the inside of the 10th row, in 19th position.

Given the race had no cautions until Lap 172, the Roush drivers and teams went through three rounds of green flag pit stops until the first caution came out. In each pit stop, the teams all went for fresh tires, fuel, and minor air pressure adjustments. Throughout the race, the RFR Ford cars handled well, for the most part, with only minor wedge, track bar, and air pressure adjustments needed.

All of the organization's drivers stayed within the top 10 until around Lap 230. At that point, Kenseth and Edwards occasionally found themselves dropping into positions in the high teens. Biffle managed to stay within in the top six for the most part.

With 38 laps to go, caution number eight allowed an opportunity for yellow flag pit stops. Biffle and Kenseth chose to stay out, but Bob Osborne, crew chief of the No. 99 car, chose to have Edwards pit for new tires, a wedge adjustment and fuel. Edwards would restart in the 17th position (with Biffle in fifth and Kenseth in sixth, having not pitted.)

This decision proved to be somewhat helpful for Edwards. With fresh tires and no need to save fuel like most of the other drivers on the lead lap, Edwards was able to climb into the top 10 in just a small number of laps. Another caution came out, but unfortunately for Edwards, there were no pit stops from those ahead of him to allow him to gain extra positions.

With a green-white-checkered finish, Jimmie Johnson finally gave Hendrick Motorsports their elusive 200th Cup series win. Kenseth finished highest for RFR, in the sixth position, with Edwards right behind him in seventh. Biffle would battle with old tire issues and finish in the 12th position.

Biffle remains atop the point standings, with Kenseth only two points behind him in second. Edwards gained a spot this week, now in the 10th position, 74 points behind Biffle.

Congratulations to Johnson and Hendrick Motorsports on the win at Darlington. Also, congratulations to all the RFR drivers for their respectable finishes.

See you at the All-Star race!

*No Top Tweets this week. Our RFR drivers were surprisingly quiet, for the most part. Look for great tweets next week, though, as the drivers are at the home base in Charlotte for two weeks!*


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