Engine problems catch up with Edwards late in race

Sunday, March 1, 2009 | 9:37 p.m. CST

LAS VEGAS — Engine woes were a prominent problem at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, starting Friday when five Toyota teams had to change motors for various reasons.

The problems stretched into the race, though, when Roush Fenway Racing drivers Matt Kenseth and David Ragan both lost their motors. Before leaving the track after his own early failure, Kenseth predicted more engines would break before the race was over.

Sure enough, Ragan's went about 70 laps later.

"In four years at Roush Fenway, this is the first time I've had an engine failure," Ragan said. "On the restart, it just started skipping and popping and we switched ignition boxes because I felt like it might just be something small, but it kept getting worse and worse."

When word of the engine issues spread through the Roush Fenway race team, Carl Edwards immediately asked his crew what to do.

"Should I be worried?" Edwards asked.

"I have no information for you," crew chief Bob Osborne radioed back before huddling with Kenseth's crew chief to assess the issue.

Edwards' motor eventually did fail, with two laps to go while he was running fourth, and he finished 17th.

In all, three of the five Roush Fenway drivers lost engines.

"It wasn't something new or experimental, I had great confidence in it," owner Jack Roush said.

Mark Martin's engine also failed for the second straight week, another uncharacteristic malfunction from the typically sound Hendrick Motorsports. A team spokesman said the issues were different in each of the two failures, and crew chief Alan Gustafson called Sunday's problem "pretty catastrophic."

"It was a great run. I have to feel bad for Alan and the guys on the (No.) 5 car," Martin said. "They're doing a great job. We're learning and getting better and it was a great run. Encouraging run, but disappointing."

Martin finished 40th.

All the Toyota motors that were switched this weekend went the distance, and three Toyota drivers finished in the top 10.


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Charles Dudley Jr March 2, 2009 | 3:37 a.m.

Man that is hard losing a motor that close to the finish line.

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