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Edwards Clinches His First NASCAR Busch Series Championship

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« on: November 06, 2007, 03:54:31 pm »

Edwards Clinches His First NASCAR Busch Series Championship
Carl Edwards, No. 60 Dish Network Ford Fusion

Texas Motor Speedway/November 3, 2007

FT. WORTH, TX (November 3, 2007) – Carl Edwards and the No. 60 team clinched the 2007 NASCAR Busch Series Championship this evening on the1.5-mile oval at Texas Motor Speedway.  This was Edwards’ first NASCAR championship and Roush Fenway’s fifth.  Edwards is the second driver to win the Busch Series Championship for Roush Fenway and Ford.  Greg Biffle was the first Roush Fenway Racing driver to win the title.  He achieved that feat in 2002 and, ironically, he was behind the wheel of the No. 60 Ford.  This was also the first championship won by the Ford Fusion.  Edwards clinched with a 552 point lead.  Edwards will be the last driver to be crowned the Busch Series Champion; next year the series will be known as the Nationwide Series.  Edwards will run the full series next year and his goal as the defending champion will be to be the first to win the first Nationwide Series.

The No. 60 team struggled through both practices with their setup.  Everyone was skeptical on what the Ford would produce for qualifying.  Edwards drew a 22nd place qualifying position and went out to blister off a 28.31 second run.  He took over the pole position and held it until Tony Stewart knocked him off.  Edwards ended up in the 3rd starting position.

When the green flag dropped Edwards started sliding back a couple spots because his Ford Fusion was too tight in the center.  The second of four cautions flags flew on lap 21 and Edwards was in 6th.  The Dish Network team blistered off a 14 second flat stop making air and wedge adjustments.  Several strategies went in to affect, some were two tires, some took fuel only, etc.  Edwards took four tires and fuel.  Edwards found himself in 8th when the race went green on lap 26.

Edwards stayed in the top-10 over the next 34 laps and then entered the top-5 again on lap 60.  He moved up to his race high of 4th on lap 89, but green flag pitted on lap 90.  Edwards had advised crew chief Pierre Kuettel that the car had great balance, but needed more power.  The No. 60 crew completed another great stop in 14.1 seconds making just minimum air and wedge adjustments.  Edwards resumed racing on lap 93 in the 7th position.

Edwards stayed in the top-10 and pitted for their final stop on lap 127 for a round down on the track bar, four tires and fuel.  This was the 60 teams’ best stop of the night with 13.78 seconds.  The Dish Network crew turned in their best stops of the year on the way to their first championship.

Edwards maintained a top-10 spot until lap 177 when he started feeling a bad vibration in the right front side of his Ford.  Edwards held on to finish 11th in the O’Reilly Challenge 300 and captured his first NASCAR Busch Series Championship.
“It feels great clinching this Busch Series Championship,” stated Edwards.  “In 2005, we went out to run the Busch Series full time.  At the beginning of the year, we didn’t have a full time sponsor for the Cup side and I was really excited about running for a championship in 2005.  We got close, then in ’06 we got a little bit closer. This year, especially the first half of the year, was just so spectacular.  PK [Pierre Kuettel] and all of the guys did such a great job and we had luck on our side.  It just feels great to win a championship. It feels great.”

“It’s just amazing.  I say this a lot, but I’ve lived two completely different lives,” continued Edwards.  “I’ve been to Texas Motor Speedway.  I was here in 2000 with Mike Mittler working on his truck.  I rode in the right seat of the semi here from Missouri.  I don’t remember where I stayed, probably in somebody’s roll away in the hotel.  I came here and carried ice bags.  I just helped out.  I did that and to be standing here on pit road with the championship trophy in the NASCAR Busch Series, it’s amazing.  A lot of good people have helped me.  These two up here [Jack Roush and Pierre Kuettel] have done an amazing amount of work for me and I’m extremely grateful.  It’s a great feeling. I can’t wait to start the season next year as a defending champion and hopefully do it again. Oh, yeah, for sure.  I’ll be back next year to defend this championship.”

“It feels really good to clinch this championship,” stated crew chief Pierre Kuettel.  “I finished in the Cup series a couple of times in the top five.  I finished second in the sports car championships and finally getting to be a champion is a really good feeling. Being in this a long time and finally getting to this point, it’s quite and accomplishment.  Fifteen years ago or so whenever I saw this on TV for the first time and thought this was pretty cool and thought maybe I’d like to do this.  So the hard work doing all sorts of different jobs from driving the truck to doing everything and getting to this point is great.  I’ve worked with a lot of different guys and people.  Jack was nice enough to give me a job back in ’99. I worked with Jeff Burton for a number of years and won a lot of races. I’ve had a lot of great equipment and a lot of great people to work for.  It’s been pretty easy with Jack. Our goal for the rest of the year is to win races.”

Next week the No. 60 team heads to Phoenix International Raceway.  There are only two races left in the 2007 season and now that they have clinched the Busch Series Championship they are focused only on winning the races.  The No. 60 team will be in the World Financial Group colors and they are determined to get back into Victory Lane.

About Roush Fenway Racing

Roush Fenway Racing is NASCAR’s largest team operating 14 motorsports teams, five in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup with drivers Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and David Ragan; five in the Busch Series with Kenseth, Biffle, Edwards, McMurray, Ragan, Todd Kluever, Michel Jourdain Jr. and Danny O’Quinn Jr.; and three in the Craftsman Truck Series with Edwards, Peter Shepherd, Travis Kvapil, Erik Darnell and T.J. Bell; and one in the ARCA/REMAX Series with Colin Braun and Darnell.

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