Monday, August 13, 2012

Roush Fenway Rewind: Two men, two points and one common goal

While their Ford Racing teammate Marcos Ambrose celebrated in victory lane, the Roushketeers walked away with top 15 finishes at Watkins Glen, a pretty successful day overall.

With just four races remaining until the Chase field is set, Carl Edwards chances of making the roster grow slimmer each week. Edwards did manage a win this weekend in his return to the Nationwide Series. The trip to victory lane delighted Edheads while ruffling the feathers of some competitors who cited his driving as aggressive.

Teammates Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth are just two points behind new points leader Jimmie Johnson and well on their way to bringing home a championship.

Greg Biffle, No. 16 3M
Started: 15th
Finished: 6th
Points: 2nd (-1)

Greg Biffle and crew chief Matt Puccia had the two pit stop strategy and stuck to the plan, making it work despite handling issues.

Running in or near the top 10 all afternoon, Biffle was in fourth in the final laps when he slid in the oil laid down by Bobby Labonte. Loosing a bit of track position, The Biff finished in sixth.

“It was a pretty good day. It’s unfortunate that I got in that oil. I had a fourth-place finish locked up because I almost wrecked and lost those spots. There for a while we were gaining on the 9 a little bit, but we were just off a little bit today.”

Matt Kenseth, No. 17 Ford EcoBoost
Started: 24th
Finished: 8th
Points: 3rd (-2) 

Starting the day in 24th, Matt Kenseth gained those positions at a feverish pace. Moving into the top 20 on the opening lap, Kenseth complained that the No. 17 EcoBoost was "out of control loose" and that would be an issue throughout the day. Crew chief Jimmy Fennig went to work, trying to get the handling to Kenseth's liking.

In the closing laps, Kenseth's spotter Mike Calinoff said "U GOT IT!" Finishing the race in eighth, Kenseth tied his career best finish at The Glen. Kenseth is now third in point, just two markers behind Jimmie Johnson.

Asked if he had a good day, Kenseth replied, “Yeah, we need to get a couple of top 10s here before the Chase to make sure we’re in. I know most people look at it and they just think we’re a shoe-in because we’re so far ahead of 11th, but after wrecking out the last two weeks in a row, we needed to get a solid finish and this is definitely not a good track for me, so it’s good to get a solid finish.” 

Credit: Todd Warshaw, Getty Images for NASCAR
Carl Edwards, No. 99 Fastenal
Started: 18th
Finished: 14th
Points: 12th (-147) 

Finally Carl Edwards got to victory the Nationwide Series but hey, it was a win! To the delight of the Edheads everywhere, Edwards pulled off his trademark backflip and the judges give him a 9.9 for the landing.

Looking to sweep The Glen, Edwards and crew chief Chad Norris had a good car all weekend. Running strong in practices, Edwards qualified in 18th and would work his way into the top 10 by lap 16.

In sixth as the field started to cycle in for pit stops at Lap 40, Edwards jumped to fourth and was called to pit road by Norris. The caution came out and stuck them out an additional lap which was a costly one, the No. 99 Fastenal Ford Fusion ran out of fuel and had problems refiring on pit road.

After restarting in 20th, Edwards was able to move up to 14th in the closing laps but the finish was in no way reflective of their day. Still sitting outside of the Chase and needing a win to hope for the Wild Card, time is running out with just four races to go.

“It’s a shame that caution came out when it did,” Edwards said. “I knew it would be close on fuel running that extra lap, even under caution. Being out of gas made it tougher to get the car started on pit road after our stop. Then by the end of the race the Fastenal Fusion had lost rear grip so it was hard to get our track position back. Our car was better than a 14th-place finish, but we’re already looking forward to racing at MIS next weekend. We have a very strong record there and it should be a good race for us.”


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