Subway Fresh Fit 500 Results: Edwards Makes a Statement
This wasnât just a win for Carl Edwards. This was a statement.
With merely a few laps remaining in the Subway Fresh Fit 500, Edwardsâ rear view mirror was filled with the images of the winners of the last 6 Sprint Cup championships: Jimmie Johnson & Brad Keselowski.
Edwardsâ seemed to be pulling away from the duo until a late race caution brought on a green-white-checkered finish. The news didnât sit well with the crew chief of the #99 Ford, Jimmy Fennig, who wasnât even sure they could make it the scheduled distance on fuel, much less overtime.
But, on that restart, Edwards got a push from Keselowski and rode off into the desert sunset, clinching his first win in 70 races.
Even in the post race victory celebration, Edwards seemed rusty. On the way to pulling off his trademark backflip, he slipped a couple of times on his way out of the driver seat.
Is Carl Edwards back? Iâm not sold yet. I am impressed by the determination of Edwards, who seemed to be put in a worst-case scenario during the final restart, and still managed to hold off the two biggest title contenders here in the early goings of the Sprint Cup season.
Hereâs a breakdown of what we learned this week at Phoenix:
1. Jimmie Johnson is not playing around. The #48 car looked strong throughout Sundayâs race, and was in position to win during the green-white-checkered finish. If it wasnât for Carl Edwards jumping the restart (allegedly in JJâs eyes) the Loweâs team might have found themselves in victory lane again.
2. Brad Keselowski is also not playing around. The blue deuce was also in position to win on that late restart, and his bumper might have been the cause of Carl Edwards quick trigger to the green flag. A strong run at Daytona (with a damaged car, mind you) and another solid run at Phoenix means the Penske switch to Ford doesnât seem to be hurting the team one bit. Also, during Denny Hamlinâs last lap dive through the backstretch tri-oval, the usually aggressive Keselowski gave the #11 & #48 cars room to race. That shows me heâs thinking big picture.
3. Danica had a tire blow. Seriously, do you want me to rip her for that? She didnât just decide to make a right turn, the tire exploded. Not her fault. However, she was running in the back before the tire blew, and THAT raises eyebrowsâ¦
4. Carl Edwards isnât backâ¦but heâs not playing around either. This has got to feel good for Carl. But, letâs not forget, this is the second time this has happened. Edwards broke another 70 race winless streak at Phoenix back in 2010 (freaky, I know). Heâs just really good at Phoenix. Letâs see what that Roush-Fenway team has in store at a mile and a half racetrack like Las Vegas before we backflip to conclusions.
Tommy Joe Martins is a former NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver & a weekly racer at the historic Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway. Â A graduate of the University of Mississippi, heâs been a sports columnist for The Daily Mississippian, a radio host & a life-long NASCAR fan.