Minter: Drivers Insist Numbers Do Lie
By Rick Minter | Senior Writer
Hampton, Ga. – In his interview session at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday, Carl Edwards weighed in on a subject that has always been one of great intrigue in motorsports – and other sports too for that matter.
His comments point out the fact that a driver’s skill level doesn’t always match up with the performance of his car.
Most any driver who is well into his career will say that he’s a better race driver than he was early on, even though he may have been winning more in days gone by.
Bill Elliott, who hasn’t won a Cup race since 2003, often insists that as far as driving he’s probably better at it than when he was winning regularly in the No. 9 Ford he drove in his heyday. Elliott also has experience in ending long losing streaks. He once went without a win from the middle of the 1994 season to midway through 2001.
Edwards said that he too is an improved driver this year, even if the statistics might lead one to believe otherwise. He said that although he hasn’t won a Cup race and has led just six laps all year, he’s better behind the wheel than he was in 2008, when he led the Cup circuit in victories with nine.
“I can tell you that I feel like my ability in the race car has steadily gone up,” he said. “I feel like I have more experience, and what I do now is look back and think, ‘Man, I should have won so many more races.’
“If I had it to do over again, we had those screaming fast cars in 2008. In 2005 is a perfect example. I thought, ‘It’s only going to get better.’ I thought, ‘This is easy. We’re going to win five or six next year and eight or 10 the year after
that.’ I thought, ‘This is great.’
“Looking back, I had the golden ticket that year and just didn’t know how to use it well enough, I guess.”
Edwards said his up-and-down seasons have had a profound effect on him.
“I feel now I have a much better perspective on this sport, and I’m not as quick to judge someone’s talent as I used to be,” he said. “I feel like now I’m just waiting for our cars to be perfect and everything to click and then we’re going to just go, so I have more patience, but I’d sure like to have those nine-race wins every season. That would be nice.”
And Edwards said the fact that he’s fourth in the points standings shows how much he and his team are capitalizing on what speed they do have.
“That six laps led this season [statistic] kind of shows me that we’re able to make more with less, and not make those dumb decisions on the race track that I’ve made before,” he said. “I believe if we can get it all put together, it’s going to be really good.
“We’ve just got to go do it.”
– Rick Minter can be reached at email@example.com Comments