Carl Edwards having a tough follow up to last season's successful run
BY DAN GELSTON Associated Press
Friday, June 15, 2012
6/15/12 at 6:27 AM
LONG POND, Pa. - Carl Edwards had just about everything go right last season in the chase for his first Cup championship except win more races than Tony Stewart.
Edwards is finding a repeat run toward a historic finale a bit trickier this season. Forget racing for the championship in the last race of the season. Edwards finds himself parked outside of the 10 automatic spots for the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.
It's not a quite a runner-up hangover. Edwards is having a solid season with eight top-10 finishes in 14 races that have him in 11th place entering Sunday's race at Michigan. Edwards has just run into a series of bad breaks that has the No. 99 needing a series of strong runs to crack the field.
He was whacked with an early pass-through penalty for not falling to the rear of the field on an early restart last week at Pocono Raceway. He crashed because of a cut tire a week earlier at Dover. He ran out of gas on the final lap at Phoenix. He was caught up in wrecks at Talladega and Bristol.
"It's like my brother was telling me, he said, 'It's just luck,' " Edwards said. "'Last year, your luck was awesome. This year, it's terrible.' Hopefully, we can kind of use all that bad luck and still make the Chase and turn it around because I know we can do it."
Bad luck has played a factor, but Edwards must start running better and fall more in line with his Roush Fenway Racing teammates. Matt Kenseth leads the points standings and Greg Biffle is having a fantastic season and is third.
With no victories yet this season, Edwards wouldn't even earn one of the two wild-card Chase entries. Those spots belong to Kyle Busch and Ryan Newman for now.
Yet, bad luck or not, Edwards remains in the thick of contention. He's heading to the right track to get a needed jolt. Edwards has two career wins, nine top-fives and 12 top-10s in 15 career starts at Michigan.
Edwards knows he can't dwell on the mistakes and near-misses from this season. With only three points to make up and 12 races left until the Chase field is set, there is plenty of time for Edwards to make his big move into the top 10. But he's proved so far, nothing is guaranteed for the No. 99.
"We need a couple wins is what we really need," he said.
Original Print Headline: Edwards having tough follow-up to title chase
In this photo taken with a fisheye lens, Joey Logano (20) and Carl Edwards (99) take the green flag to start last Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Pocono 400. JARED C. Tilton/Associated Press