Edwards Gamble Comes Up Short
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone | MRN.com on August 27, 2012 | 9:32 A.M. EST
Edwards had hoped the race’s pattern of caution flags would have allowed him to save some precious fuel in the final stages under yellow. (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)
Carl Edwards took a shot at playing the fuel mileage game Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway only to have the strategy backfire in the IRWIN Tools Night Race.
Edwards waved off crew chief Chad Norris calling for a fuel stop with 85 laps left in Saturday night’s race when caution flew when Casey Mears stalled on track.
But with the No. 99 car in the lead and Edwards in a desperate spot to make something happen in order to get into this year’s Chase field, the decision to stay on track was made.
It turned out to be a disastrous call as Edwards eventually ran out of fuel and sputtered home to a 22nd-place finish.
Edwards made no excuses for his actions and the thought process that drove the decision.
"Right or wrong – right now it's wrong – I said ‘Heck with it, I'm staying out and hoping for cautions,'" Edwards said. "I'm not looking at points, I feel like our best chance is to get that win."
Edwards had hoped the race’s pattern of caution flags would have allowed him to save some precious fuel in the final stages under yellow. But when things settled down and the race stayed green most of the closing laps, his theory was cooked.
"If we get caution after caution, short runs, I think we could have held those guys off at the end," Edwards said. "There are no tires on the car and we ran out of fuel. We needed the stars to align a lot better than it did. We had a shot at it and if things would have fallen a little differently, I think we could have held some of those guys off on short runs."
Edwards thought he had figured out the window that he needed to pull off the strategy and maintain his lead for the precious win. But unfortunately the numbers didn’t add up the way he had hoped.
"...We stopped with about 180 laps to go and our mission was to stop with about 160," Edwards said. "So, when we stopped at 180, we were in a box. We didn't plan on coming back in, but we needed a lot of caution laps. And I knew when Chad said, ‘Hey, come in and we're going to put fuel in it only' that he realized that we were short.
"I just said (expletive), I'm staying out, we're in the lead.'"
Now with two races left in the regular season, the odds of Edwards getting a Wild Card spot to make the Chase are even longer. He understands there’s only one approach left the next two weeks.
“We'll go to Atlanta, we'll go to Richmond, those are two good racetracks," Edwards said. "I'm going to drive like an animal and do all I can and hopefully I can get a win.
"We're going to lay it on the line and go for it."