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Edwards Fires Back: Everything is Fine

John Sturbin | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, April 4 2009

Carl Edwards  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Carl Edwards (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

By John Sturbin | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

Fort Worth, Texas – Carl Edwards briefly bared his fangs Friday at Texas Motor Speedway, where he is poised to rewrite the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series record book a second time.

Edwards became the first Cup driver to sweep both races on the 1.5-mile quadoval last year, part of his series-leading nine victories. Edwards also won the fall race here in 2005, and his three TMS wins are a series-best at “The Great American Speedway.”

Today, Edwards can become the first driver to win three consecutive Cup races in Cowtown should he prevail in the Samsung 500. Edwards enters the 334-lapper winless in six starts, and with only two top-10 and one top-five finish (a third at Atlanta Motor Speedway). Edwards scored his 16th career and most recent Cup victory in the 2008 season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 16.

Because of all that, Edwards is perceived to be in a slump. At one point during an interview here, the driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion was asked if he was the same Carl Edwards as last year, when he finished second in the points chase to three-time and reigning champion Jimmie Johnson.

Enter those fangs.

“You’re wrong. That’s not accurate at all,” Edwards said. “Results and performance are two different things. We are the same team. I am the same driver, everything’s fine. I think if you look at the drivers that have won no races for the last year, the drivers who have won one race in the last year or year and-a-half, (it) shows you how difficult winning races is. And so it makes those seasons, like last season, seem that much more special.

“But, literally, we could win here and win the next 10 in a row, or we could run second in the next 10 and the difference could be six inches in each race. And people would say, ‘Wow. Why haven’t you won a race?’ It’s been a total of five feet, you know? The perception is always different than the reality. It’s kind of interesting. I guess my answer is…it’s been six races since we won. I don’t think we’re in any sort of trouble.”

Edwards’ success at TMS has maintained the domination of Roush Fenway Racing drivers begun by Jeff Burton in the inaugural Cup event in 1997. Edwards’ average finish in eight TMS starts is 13.9, and he has led four of eight events for 467 laps.

“This track is great to us,” said Edwards, who qualified 13th Friday at 189.175 mph. “We’ve had a lot of success here, run really well and I love coming here for a number of reasons. This is a great place to win – for a number of reasons. It would be really good for us right now – our finishes the last couple of weeks – it would be perfect to win a race right now.”

Edwards completed NASCAR’s two-race short-track swing with finishes of 38th at Bristol Motor Speedway and fifth at Martinsville Speedway.

“It’s been six races since we’ve won,” Edward repeated. “I don’t think we need to panic. We’re fine. We’ve performed very well. For instance, last week we were the best I’ve ever been speed-wise at Martinsville. I’m really proud of that. Had a flat tire and didn’t finish well in the race, but we’re doing fine. Obviously, we’d love to have six wins, but we’re fine.”

John Sturbin | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, April 4 2009
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