Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

March 6, 2013

Edwards ends victory drought in Phoenix

Harry C. Risher
Greensburg Daily News

— Carl Edwards out-drove the field in an overtime victory breaking a 70-race winless skid in Sunday’s Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. The popular driver of the #99 Subway Roush Fenway Racing Ford led a race-high 122 laps,including the final 78, to earn his first win since Las Vegas in March, 2011 - 70 races ago.

The hard-driving Missouri native appeared to be pulling away to a relatively easy victory over the fading challenges of second-place Jimmy Johnson and 2012 Nascar Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski in third.

But, Edward’s thoughts of an easy win went up in the smoke when veteran Kenny Schrader blew a tire and hit the wall, bringing out the caution flag with just three laps remaining. The caution set up green-white-checkered shootout to the finish with last week’s Daytona 500 winner Johnson and Edwards lined up on the front row. When the green flag flew, Edwards got the jump on Johnson thanks to a push from fellow Ford racer Keselowski. Edwards’ bright yellow #99 Subway Ford shot into a four car-length lead as Jonhson, Keselowski, and Denny Hamlin battled for second place. The determined Edwards was not to be denied as he took the checkered flag winning his 20th career Nascar Sprint Cup race. Johnson and Hamlin bounced off each other as Johnson edged Hamlin for second, with Keselowski, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. rounding out the top five finishers.

An ecstatic Edwards commented from victory lane on his popular victory in Sunday’s Subway Fresh Fit 500.

“I thought for the last few laps it was gonna be easy, and then they had the caution,” he said. “It was an awesome restart! Brad Keselowski pushed me and that meant a lot. He stayed in line there and he pushed me and we got our Ford to Victory Lane. I’ve got to thank Brad!”

Edward’s #99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford pit crew had a stellar day, spending the least amount of time on pit road contributing greatly to Roush’s 130th Nascar Sprint Cup victory, and the 613th win for Ford Motor Company. Edwards credited his pit crew in Sunday’s big win: “These guys were unreal and Subway, this is the Subway Fresh Fit 500. We just won the race in the Subway Ford Fusion!...I’m telling you we are back!...This is awesome, one of the coolest wins in my life!”

The Nascar Sprint Cup Series drivers now visit Las Vegas Motor Speedway next Sunday for the third race of the 2013 season.