Carl Edwards falls 2 laps down, comes back to finish 9th and boost Chase hopes

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In what may prove to be a season-saving performance, Carl Edwards rallied from two laps down to finish ninth in Sunday’s Eliminator Round middle race at Texas Motor Speedway.

With that, the Chase contender all but erased his deficit behind the cutoff to advance to the Sprint Cup Championship Race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

What was a 15-point gap going into Sunday has now been whittled down to one point behind Jeff Gordon, holder of the fourth and final advance position to South Florida.

Considering how much Edwards struggled over the first half of the race, the Top-10 finish is a small miracle for him and the No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing team.

Edwards started 11th but a tight condition on his car caused him to fall back during the opening stint. At Lap 102, he was running in 24th position when he was put one lap down by eventual race winner Jimmie Johnson, and on Lap 165, Johnson passed him again to knock him two laps off the pace.

That led to a bit of needed strategy to help Edwards climb out of the hole.

On Lap 222, a caution came out for debris and Edwards was advised to stay out on the track to take the wave-around and pull within one lap down. Through continued adjustments on the car and several other cautions, Edwards was able to put himself in position for the free pass (first car one lap down), and he got it thanks to a yellow on Lap 295.

Edwards was back on the lead lap, but now had to charge from 25th position and get as much as he could over the final 40 laps. With the help of several late restarts, Edwards was able to do just that.

Now, remarkably, he’ll have a chance to make the Championship next weekend at Phoenix, where he’s won twice in his Cup career.

“We got super luck there at the end and my guys never quit,” he said. “I am so proud of my guys…We certainly finished better than we should have tonight. It was a great night, when for awhile it didn’t look like it was going to be.

“We get to move on to Phoenix now and we will know what we have to do there. We will take it. My guys didn’t quit and I know they won’t quit and we are going to go next week and go for this thing.”

NEOM McLaren Formula E announces Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast for 2023 season

McLaren Formula E Hughes
McLaren Racing
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Doubling down on their commitment to electric auto sports, McLaren Racing announced Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast to compete in the 2023 Formula E Series (FE), which completes their driver lineup.

The NEOM McLaren FE team was formed by the acquisition of the Mercedes-EQ Formula E team that won the 2021 and 2022 championships with Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries behind the wheel.

“Today’s announcement feels like a long time coming,” said Ian James, managing director of NEOM McLaren Electric Racing in a release. “Since May this year, when we first announced McLaren Racing’s entry into Formula E, we have been working tirelessly to get in place the best possible team and structure for sustainable success.

“On the one hand, we have been working on the retention of the amazing talent that already was in place before going into the transitional phase. I’m proud to say I think we’ve done a great job on that front.

“On the other hand, we have been focusing on putting in place new processes and new talent – and the latter includes the drivers.”

The driver lineup clasps the two hands together.

Hughes brings 10 years racing experience in single seater cars, including a role with the acquired Mercedes-EQ team as a reserve and development driver for the past two seasons. He is the 2013 BRDC Formula 4 champion and has multiple wins in Formula 2, including two in 2020.

Announced in August, Rast joins the team after earning two podium finishes and six top-fives in 22 career Formula E starts for Audi Sport ABT before returning to the DTM Series last year. Rast’s best finish in Formula E came in the Puebla E Prix when he finished second to teammate Lucas di Grassi by less than a half second.

McLaren’s commitment to Formula E comes one year after they entered the Extreme E rally series in 2022 with Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour in the driver lineup. After a modest start to the season, the McLaren XE drivers crossed the finish line first in Round 4 in Chile, but were assessed a time penalty that dropped them to fifth. Last week in the season finale in Uruguay, they held onto a hard-earned second place finish.