After winning nine Sprint Cup Series races last season, Carl Edwards came into 2009 expecting bigger and better things.
Expectations have fallen short for the No. 99 Aflac Ford team, to say the least. Despite having seven top fives and 13 top tens this season, Cousin Carl is without a win and out of contention for this years Chase.
And if there was a place for the Roush-Fenway group to rebound, Martinsville wouldn't be at the top of their list. Edwards finished 26th the last time the series visited the track, and has an average finish of 18th.
Things were tough on Friday, when Edwards finished the one practice of the weekend 34th on the speed charts.
Edwards also made the trip to Memphis Motorsports Park for the Kroger On Track For The Cure 250. He started in the back after having Auggie Vidovich qualify his No. 60 Save-A-Lot Ford earlier in the day.
He was involved in two incidents on the day—the first coming on lap 25 when he was spun by Tony Raines which also collected several other cars.
With just 20 laps to go, Edwards was running fourth when eventual winner Brad Keselowski also sent the No. 60 spinning into the field, collecting rookie Matt DiBenedetto, Brian Ickler, and Justin Allgaier. Cousin Carl was able to rally back and finish sixth.
“I hope it was just a racin' deal. I like Brad, I like him a lot. He probably didn't go out there and think 'hey, I'm gonna wreck him', but he probably didn't give me any space either.”
With three races left on the Nationwide schedule, Edwards is 215 points behind leader Kyle Busch.
Edwards was one of five Chasers that qualified 20th or worse, including teammates Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle, with his 29th place starting spot in the Tums Fast Relief 500.
Cousin Carl took his time, steadily working his way up through the field. By lap 200, he had finally made it into the top five. It didn't last long, though, as Jimmie Johnson, who was on a charge all day, passed him just three laps later.
Edwards would remain in the top 20 for the rest of the race, eventually making his way back inside the top 15 with the green white checkered approaching.
However, Edwards' disappointment of the weekend continued, as he spun out with just a lap remaining in the race. Instead of restarting his car and going across the start finish line, a visibly frustrated driver jumped out of his car and walked away.
With a 20th place finish, Edwards remained 10th in points, and is now 413 points behind Jimmie Johnson.