Half-full or half-empty? Edwards’ all-star glass a lot of both
Carl Edwards (right), driver of the No. 99 Ford, battles with Jamie McMurray's No. 1 Chevrolet during Saturday night's All-Star Race at Charlotte, while the No. 4 Chevy driven by Kevin Harvick gives chase.
In the distinctly regional vernacular of NASCAR racing, for Carl Edwards, Saturday night’s Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway was one of them glass-half-full, glass-half-empty deals.
The half-full part?
After a mostly disappointing start to the season for Roush Fenway Racing, Edwards had a wicked fast race car on Saturday night, putting his No. 99 Fastenal Ford on the pole for the all-star race and leading heading into the final 10-lap segment.
The half-empty part was a comparatively poor final restart that saw Edwards fade to fifth place at the end of the race. Instead of the $1,035,734 that race winner Jamie McMurray got for his victory, Edwards’ take was a more modest $105,686.
And instead of having a second all-star trophy to go with the one he captured in 2011, Edwards walked away from the 1.5-mile CMS track with a whole lot of woulda, coulda, shoulda on his mind.
As is typically the case in the all-star event, this one came down to the final 10-lap shootout.
Edwards finished the fourth and final 20-lap segment in 10th place, but used a great pit stop to retake the lead heading into the 10-lap final dash for cash. Unfortunately for him, it was McMurray who got the better restart, and with a distance that short, it was impossible for Edwards to make up the distance to win.
Indeed, Edwards faded over those final 10 laps, finishing behind McMurray, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth and Dale Earnhardt Jr. It was the final restart that won the race for McMurray and lost it for Edwards.
"Jamie did a perfect job," Edwards said. "I actually got a jump on him. Our restarts had been great all night and I wouldn’t have even been in that position if it weren’t for my crew. We went from fifth to first in the pits, so my Fastenal guys did perfectly."
Edwards said picking the low lane instead of the faster top groove proved to be the wrong strategy.
"I should have pulled up in front of Jamie going into (Turn) 1, but I just was reluctant to give up the bottom and I pulled back down and he played it perfectly and hung on my right-rear quarter and got by me, and then raced me clean and really hard," Edwards said. "That was really hard racing those few laps and he got it, so he deserves it. I learned a lesson, but that’s a tough one to swallow."
In defeat, Edwards was gracious, but understandably frustrated.
"My hat is off to him (McMurray), but it’s so tough to swallow being that close to winning a million dollars from Sprint, and this race is so special," said Edwards. "That’s a tough one to lose."