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.”

X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E
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Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.