Three Races Remain for Edwards' Chase Hopes
CONCORD, N.C. -- As the summer winds down so does NASCAR's regular season of racing. Only three races remain before the cutoff to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup at Richmond on September 8. Carl Edwards currently sits 12th in the points but the next three races are at tracks where he runs well and could help secure his seventh Chase berth.
"I haven't seen the track since they changed it so I'm not exactly sure what to expect. Who knows what will happen. Any time you change a track like that there is no telling. It might make it a completely different race and I guess in the end that is what they are trying to do. I think all of us are hoping for a really good race. We've had some success there so I feel like we can go there and win, and that is what we need right now. It would be huge to get the Fastenal Ford in victory lane," Edwards said.
Bristol Motor Speedway starts off the stretch. Edwards has two wins, four top-five and seven top-10 finishes in 16 starts at the half-mile bullring. He has led 300 laps there and is usually a contender for the win if he can avoid other drivers' misfortunes. In the spring he was caught up in an accident on lap 24 which sent him behind the wall for lengthy repairs.
Crew Chief Chad Norris said, "Bristol is a lot of fun when you are running well and running up front, although it can turn on you pretty quickly. It doesn't take much to get caught up in someone else's mess, which is what happened to Carl in the spring race. We know we need to get a win this weekend to keep our Chase hopes alive so that is what our game plan is for the weekend."
Atlanta Motor Speedway is the track where Edwards earned his first Sprint Cup and Nationwide wins, on the same weekend, back in 2005. In 14 Cup races there he has three wins, eight top-five and 10 top-10 finishes, and led 345 laps.
Edwards nearly claimed a win in the spring at Richmond International Raceway after leading 206 laps. A late-race penalty on a restart dashed his shot at victory lane. Although he has never won a Cup race at Richmond, he has three top-five and eight top-10 finishes in 16 starts. He has led 442 laps which is fifth-best among active drivers. Edwards has made his way to victory lane three times in the Nationwide Series at Richmond.
Sitting 38 points out of 10th place, Edwards and the No. 99 Fastenal Blue Team are looking for at least one win in the final three races to put them in the running for the wild card position and a shot at the 2012 Sprint Cup championship.