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2009 Season Review: Carl Edwards

2009 Ride: No. 99 Roush Racing Ford
2009 Primary Sponsors: AFLAC, Subway, Claritin
2009 Car Owner: Jack Roush
2009 Crew Chief: Bob Osborne

Stats: 36 starts, 0 wins, 7 top fives, 14 top 10s, 3 DNFs, 11th in points
Best Finish: 2nd – Pocono (June)
Average Finish: 15.1

High Points: Unfortunately for the No. 99 team, the only high points for the 2009 season were Carl Edwards’s never-ending optimism and the amount of air between his car and the track at Talladega. Sure, there was a second-place finish at Pocono and a third place at Watkins Glen, but after last year’s numbers (a series high nine wins, 19 top fives and 27 top 10s), the season just seemed to be one frustration after another.

Low Points: Without a doubt, the heights that Carl’s car reached up on the fence at ‘Dega, as well as the resulting fan injuries from debris were the lowest point for Carl all season. Sadly, the wreck was a direct result of what could have been a season “high point” after a last-lap pass put Carl into the lead. But an attempted block of Brad Keselowski off turn 4 sent Carl spinning into the path of Ryan Newman, who then sent the No. 99 airborne into the fence. Even though the fence did do what it was designed to do, which is to send the cars back onto the track, eight fans where injured by flying debris – mostly from the fence itself. But despite the resulting carnage and disappointment, Edwards’s good nature was still evident as he crawled from his mangled machine and ran across the finish line in the spirit of Ricky Bobby!

Summary: As mentioned before, after coming off a career year of 2008 with a series-high nine wins, everyone expected Edwards to possibly be the one man that could break Jimmie Johnson’s stranglehold on the Cup. But Roush’s struggles quickly left that an impossibility, leading to the one question everyone kept asking: “When is Carl gonna win a race?” We, of course, know now that “he won’t!” With 2009 statistical numbers that are just marginally better than those of his debut in 2004, in which he ran only 13 races, this year was nothing short of utter frustration for both the No. 99 team and their fans.

Off-Track News: AFLAC will continue to be the primary sponsor for Edwards with the addition of Kellogg’s for a few races, as the cereal giant jumps from the Hendrick organization to the Jack Roush bandwagon. Away from the track altogether (I presume… but who knows!?) Edwards and wife, Dr. Kate Downey, announced that they will be expecting a new house member (a baby girl) to arrive just before the 2010 Daytona 500! And Edwards’s patented victory backflip, while not used in the Cup Series this year, had to take a hiatus from use at Nationwide events too as Edwards broke a bone in his foot during a “freak Frisbee accident” suffered while playing with friends. But even though the foot wasn’t quite up to snuff, after a recent Nationwide victory at Phoenix, Edwards delighted the crowd by doing the best he could with a backwards somersault. Reports are that the foot should be OK come Daytona 2010.

Team Ranking: As miserable as Edwards’s season was, the misery was spread throughout the entire Roush organization nearly all year long. So even with Matt Kenseth’s first two race victories of the ’09 season (the only ones for Roush all year besides Jamie McMurray‘s Talladega triumph), Edwards still has to be considered the marquee player of the Jack Roush stable.

2010 Outlook: “The future is so bright he has to wear (a particularly ugly) pair of shades.”

So said Frontstretch’s own Matt McLaughlin, as he wrote this very review last year. As it turns out, Edwards’s season was every bit as ugly! “When is Carl gonna win?” is going to asked again and again until he finally does (and then everyone can go back to wondering about Dale Earnhardt Jr.) But despite the results of this year, Edwards did make the Chase, and you’d be a fool not to wager that he’ll be there again in 2010. Personally, I predict a MUCH higher Chase finish in 2010 than this year! Kinda hard to go wrong on a bet like that (especially considering his past track record)!

2006 Frontstretch Grade: B
2007 Grade: B-
2008 Grade: A+
2009 Grade: C-

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