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Phone: (843) 395-8811

Race Coverage
Non-Daily
Kris Johnson, NASCAR Scene
Second Place

A Matter of Trust

    
     If you’ve been married for any length of time, you know that the secret to a strong relationship is trust. Second on the list likely comes compromise.
     Carl Edwards is single, and at 28, one of the most eligible bachelors in the sporting world. But when his day comes to tie the knot, Edwards will have Bob Osborne to thank for some valuable lessons learned.  
     With rain certain to fall at Pocono Raceway and a red flag looming as a possibility, Osborne suggested his driver pit less than 10 laps after he had taken full service.
Did we mention Edwards was leading on lap 128 and the race would be official if Mother Nature had her way the rest of the day?
     After a back-and-forth exchange between the two on the team radio – you’ll have that in the best of relationships – Edwards begrudgingly did so. 
     “I was planning on pitting,” Osborne said. “Carl said, ‘What would you do if you thought the track would get cleaned up and we’d run it green?’ And I told him we would come for two tires. When the time came, he came for two
tires.”
     “Man, I was feeling really nervous we made the wrong call,” Edwards said.
     It turned out plenty right.
     Edwards’ victory in the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 marked Ford’s fourth of the season – all of them courtesy of the Roush Fenway Racing driver. Tony Stewart finished 3.858 seconds behind Edwards. Polesitter Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick and David Ragan rounded out
the top five.    
     But it was Edwards, regardless of weather or fuel considerations, who deserved to win on this day. On lap 110, he darted to the inside of Johnson to take the lead coming out of Turn 1. Green-flag pit stops were about 10 laps away as storm clouds began to gather on the horizon. Edwards and Johnson both took four tires with no chassis changes on lap 119. The rain came on lap 126.
     Then, just two laps later, Edwards and most of the leaders all came in to pit again under caution. Edwards led the parade down pit road, but not without some serious misgivings. Osborne, along with Johnson crew chief Chad
Knaus, Tony Eury Jr. (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) and Steve Letarte (Jeff Gordon), was betting on a brief shower and the race resuming in short order. 
     Most important, Osborne believed the team was in a new fuel window and capable of making it to the conclusion of the 200-lap event on one more stop, given a favorable combination of caution laps. But what if the weather worsened? The day would be a wash.
     Edwards restarted 22nd, and the event was halted on 131 due to rain. Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin had stayed out and stood 1-2-3 when the red flag, which would last 41 minutes, was thrown. The decision would have proved golden for Kahne, who likely would have swept Pocono’s events (as Hamlin did in 2006) had the weather worked in his favor.
     “We were going for the win. If it keeps on raining, we win,” Kahne said. “It didn’t and we got seventh. We took a chance, and it just didn’t work out like we wanted it to. We still got a top-10 and had one of the best cars out
there.”
     Unlike Edwards and Osborne, Kahne and team director Kenny Francis agreed on their strategy prior to the rain.
     “You never know what’s going to happen, so I decided not to pit,” Francis said. “I figured that half the field was going to pit and the other half would stay out. Track position here is really important and we really weren’t at our fuel window where we could make it to the finish on one more stop.”   
     Kahne and Francis won the June 8 Pocono 500, a race run in hot and humid conditions, but this event was conducted in comfortable 70-degree weather more akin to autumn than early August. Except for the summer showers.
     The resulting rain delay gave Edwards and Osborne time to continue their discussion atop the team’s pit box.
     “Then it started raining harder and Carl’s on the pit box with me and we’re arguing at that point about why we did what we did, so it was a stressful day, but it worked out for us,” Osborne said.  
     Edwards felt like too much of the decision was put on him, and it was sealed when he learned of Johnson’s plan to pit. The discussion with Osborne turned into a full-blown tiff when the weather worsened.      
     “The argument came when it started raining real hard, then we were trying to blame one another for the idea of coming [in to pit],” Edwards said. “He said it was my idea, and I really felt like it was his idea, so that’s where
the argument came. I had to leave the pit box because I was worried Bob was gonna punch me in the neck or something.”
     In the postrace press conference, the driver turned to Osborne and said, “You were looking kind of angry.”
     After trust and compromise, relationships are all about open and honest communication, right?
     Most times, anyway.
     “I had to walk away, but, personally, I feel like we have a really good relationship,” Edwards said. “We can be brutally honest with one another and that’s really valuable. There’s no beating around the bush. If Bob feels a certain way about something, he tells me and I tell him and, to me, that’s really valuable.”
     Sixty-seven laps remained when competition went green again on lap 134 with an estimated fuel window of 33-35 laps.
     Edwards could make it on one more stop, which he made on lap 166. Team owner Jack Roush called Osborne’s call “courageous,” but he didn’t realize the discord between his crew chief and driver.
     “I wasn’t aware about the shouting match,” Roush said.
     Roush is fully aware of his driver’s ability, though, saying after the race that Edwards is now capable of winning a Sprint Cup title.
     “I’ll look at Carl and I’ll say this and he may slap me, and he can if he wants, but he wasn’t ready to win a championship, I think, until this year,” Roush said. “I think this year he can go head to head with Jimmie Johnson or Tony Stewart or with anybody else that’s there and I think he can close the deal.”
     The driver concurred, mostly.
     “I don’t know if I wasn’t ready to win a championship, but I can tell you that I feel like I’ve learned a lot and Jack has helped me a lot and Bob has helped me a lot, and my teammates and all the struggles and successes, I feel like I’m better now, and I do understand things better than I ever have. I don’t necessarily agree 100 percent with Jack, but I agree with his point,” Edwards said.
     Now third in points, and racing only for wins until the Chase starts, Edwards is unquestionably Ford’s chief threat. With five races remaining before the postseason field is set, Edwards has more bonus points than anybody except Kyle Busch – though he has four wins, he has only 30 bonus points due to an early-season penalty – and the freedom, for now, to run unfettered where traditional points racing is concerned.
     “Anything other than winning back to about 25th [place] right now isn’t gonna make a difference for the end of our season as far as the result. So, for us, we have to win right now and we can’t give up opportunities to win
races,” he said. 
     Johnson, however, is in a similar position. He’s one spot and just 15 points behind Edwards. With two victories, he needs to score more bonus points to enhance his Chase start.
     Johnson led 33 laps on the day and coasted home third.     Literally.
     Johnson dropped out of the lead for his final pit stop on lap 167 – a lap later than Edwards and the other frontrunners – thinking he had plenty of fuel. After working hard to get by the No. 66 of Scott Riggs in the waning laps, he did not.
     “We ended up almost a corner short,” Johnson said. “I was just happy to see at the end it didn’t come down to some crazy strategy with the rain and tires and fuel and all that stuff.”
     Johnson and Knaus – like Kahne and Francis – were on the same page with their pre-rain pit strategy.
     “We really felt like we were going to finish up the race under green,” Johnson said. “We saw on the radar, it showed there were some cells popping up, but it wasn’t a front moving through that was going to wash us out. So
we just stuck to that plan.” 
     Edwards and Osborne perhaps are still progressing in building a relationship that will yield the multiple championships enjoyed by Johnson and Knaus. 
     “Carl and I, I don’t know what the perception is, but we argue on a regular basis,” Osborne said “We might argue again on the same subject and walk away and come back together, but through the arguments and through the discussions and through the handshakes and the hugs, we come to terms with what we want to do and when we want to do it, and 99 percent of the time it works out for us.”

A Matter of Trust

    
     If you’ve been married for any length of time, you know that the secret to a strong relationship is trust. Second on the list likely comes compromise.
     Carl Edwards is single, and at 28, one of the most eligible bachelors in the sporting world. But when his day comes to tie the knot, Edwards will have Bob Osborne to thank for some valuable lessons learned.  
     With rain certain to fall at Pocono Raceway and a red flag looming as a possibility, Osborne suggested his driver pit less than 10 laps after he had taken full service.
Did we mention Edwards was leading on lap 128 and the race would be official if Mother Nature had her way the rest of the day?
     After a back-and-forth exchange between the two on the team radio – you’ll have that in the best of relationships – Edwards begrudgingly did so. 
     “I was planning on pitting,” Osborne said. “Carl said, ‘What would you do if you thought the track would get cleaned up and we’d run it green?’ And I told him we would come for two tires. When the time came, he came for two
tires.”
     “Man, I was feeling really nervous we made the wrong call,” Edwards said.
     It turned out plenty right.
     Edwards’ victory in the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 marked Ford’s fourth of the season – all of them courtesy of the Roush Fenway Racing driver. Tony Stewart finished 3.858 seconds behind Edwards. Polesitter Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick and David Ragan rounded out
the top five.    
     But it was Edwards, regardless of weather or fuel considerations, who deserved to win on this day. On lap 110, he darted to the inside of Johnson to take the lead coming out of Turn 1. Green-flag pit stops were about 10 laps away as storm clouds began to gather on the horizon. Edwards and Johnson both took four tires with no chassis changes on lap 119. The rain came on lap 126.
     Then, just two laps later, Edwards and most of the leaders all came in to pit again under caution. Edwards led the parade down pit road, but not without some serious misgivings. Osborne, along with Johnson crew chief Chad
Knaus, Tony Eury Jr. (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) and Steve Letarte (Jeff Gordon), was betting on a brief shower and the race resuming in short order. 
     Most important, Osborne believed the team was in a new fuel window and capable of making it to the conclusion of the 200-lap event on one more stop, given a favorable combination of caution laps. But what if the weather worsened? The day would be a wash.
     Edwards restarted 22nd, and the event was halted on 131 due to rain. Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin had stayed out and stood 1-2-3 when the red flag, which would last 41 minutes, was thrown. The decision would have proved golden for Kahne, who likely would have swept Pocono’s events (as Hamlin did in 2006) had the weather worked in his favor.
     “We were going for the win. If it keeps on raining, we win,” Kahne said. “It didn’t and we got seventh. We took a chance, and it just didn’t work out like we wanted it to. We still got a top-10 and had one of the best cars out
there.”
     Unlike Edwards and Osborne, Kahne and team director Kenny Francis agreed on their strategy prior to the rain.
     “You never know what’s going to happen, so I decided not to pit,” Francis said. “I figured that half the field was going to pit and the other half would stay out. Track position here is really important and we really weren’t at our fuel window where we could make it to the finish on one more stop.”   
     Kahne and Francis won the June 8 Pocono 500, a race run in hot and humid conditions, but this event was conducted in comfortable 70-degree weather more akin to autumn than early August. Except for the summer showers.
     The resulting rain delay gave Edwards and Osborne time to continue their discussion atop the team’s pit box.
     “Then it started raining harder and Carl’s on the pit box with me and we’re arguing at that point about why we did what we did, so it was a stressful day, but it worked out for us,” Osborne said.  
     Edwards felt like too much of the decision was put on him, and it was sealed when he learned of Johnson’s plan to pit. The discussion with Osborne turned into a full-blown tiff when the weather worsened.      
     “The argument came when it started raining real hard, then we were trying to blame one another for the idea of coming [in to pit],” Edwards said. “He said it was my idea, and I really felt like it was his idea, so that’s where
the argument came. I had to leave the pit box because I was worried Bob was gonna punch me in the neck or something.”
     In the postrace press conference, the driver turned to Osborne and said, “You were looking kind of angry.”
     After trust and compromise, relationships are all about open and honest communication, right?
     Most times, anyway.
     “I had to walk away, but, personally, I feel like we have a really good relationship,” Edwards said. “We can be brutally honest with one another and that’s really valuable. There’s no beating around the bush. If Bob feels a certain way about something, he tells me and I tell him and, to me, that’s really valuable.”
     Sixty-seven laps remained when competition went green again on lap 134 with an estimated fuel window of 33-35 laps.
     Edwards could make it on one more stop, which he made on lap 166. Team owner Jack Roush called Osborne’s call “courageous,” but he didn’t realize the discord between his crew chief and driver.
     “I wasn’t aware about the shouting match,” Roush said.
     Roush is fully aware of his driver’s ability, though, saying after the race that Edwards is now capable of winning a Sprint Cup title.
     “I’ll look at Carl and I’ll say this and he may slap me, and he can if he wants, but he wasn’t ready to win a championship, I think, until this year,” Roush said. “I think this year he can go head to head with Jimmie Johnson or Tony Stewart or with anybody else that’s there and I think he can close the deal.”
     The driver concurred, mostly.
     “I don’t know if I wasn’t ready to win a championship, but I can tell you that I feel like I’ve learned a lot and Jack has helped me a lot and Bob has helped me a lot, and my teammates and all the struggles and successes, I feel like I’m better now, and I do understand things better than I ever have. I don’t necessarily agree 100 percent with Jack, but I agree with his point,” Edwards said.
     Now third in points, and racing only for wins until the Chase starts, Edwards is unquestionably Ford’s chief threat. With five races remaining before the postseason field is set, Edwards has more bonus points than anybody except Kyle Busch – though he has four wins, he has only 30 bonus points due to an early-season penalty – and the freedom, for now, to run unfettered where traditional points racing is concerned.
     “Anything other than winning back to about 25th [place] right now isn’t gonna make a difference for the end of our season as far as the result. So, for us, we have to win right now and we can’t give up opportunities to win
races,” he said. 
     Johnson, however, is in a similar position. He’s one spot and just 15 points behind Edwards. With two victories, he needs to score more bonus points to enhance his Chase start.
     Johnson led 33 laps on the day and coasted home third.     Literally.
     Johnson dropped out of the lead for his final pit stop on lap 167 – a lap later than Edwards and the other frontrunners – thinking he had plenty of fuel. After working hard to get by the No. 66 of Scott Riggs in the waning laps, he did not.
     “We ended up almost a corner short,” Johnson said. “I was just happy to see at the end it didn’t come down to some crazy strategy with the rain and tires and fuel and all that stuff.”
     Johnson and Knaus – like Kahne and Francis – were on the same page with their pre-rain pit strategy.
     “We really felt like we were going to finish up the race under green,” Johnson said. “We saw on the radar, it showed there were some cells popping up, but it wasn’t a front moving through that was going to wash us out. So
we just stuck to that plan.” 
     Edwards and Osborne perhaps are still progressing in building a relationship that will yield the multiple championships enjoyed by Johnson and Knaus. 
     “Carl and I, I don’t know what the perception is, but we argue on a regular basis,” Osborne said “We might argue again on the same subject and walk away and come back together, but through the arguments and through the discussions and through the handshakes and the hugs, we come to terms with what we want to do and when we want to do it, and 99 percent of the time it works out for us.”