Carl Edwards Begins His Search For A New Edge
By Rick Minter | Senior Writer
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – When he took his turn answering questions from the media at Daytona International Speedway on Thursday, Carl Edwards seemed upbeat about 2012 despite his heart-breaking loss in the 2011 championship battle.
He said neither he nor crew chief Bob Osborne are second-guessing any of the decisions they made down the stretch last fall, and he’s ready to go for it again this year.
But he also acknowledged that he’s aware of the recent trend in the Cup Series in which the runner-up one year is a non-factor the next.
Edwards is one who personally knows that pain. In 2008, he won nine races and finished second in the standings to Jimmie Johnson. The next year he had no wins and was 11th in the final standings. Mark Martin was one of the biggest stories of 2009, with five wins and a runner-up points finish. Then he came back in ’10 with no wins and a 13th-place finish in the standings.
In 2010, Denny Hamlin won eight times and lost the championship to Johnson in the final race. Last year, he had one win and was ninth in points.
“I am one of the ones that kind of started that deal in 2008 and 2009,” Edwards said. “We have lived
that, and it was really painful. I hope that that kind of takes us out of repeating that statistic.”
Edwards pointed out that the stats prove that success one year does not guarantee a thing going forward.
“That is the way this sport is,” he said. “We have made the mistake of resting on our laurels and focusing on a couple little things, but you can’t do that. You have to keep looking at everything.”
One thing that is working against Edwards and Osborne this year is the change from four Cup teams to three at Roush Fenway Racing.
Losing the No. 6 Ford on a full-time, fully sponsored basis not only takes away total revenue from the organization, it means that some employees with knowledge of the team’s strategies and race car info have moved on to other teams and taken that information with them, as Edwards’ teammate Matt Kenseth pointed out.
“I think we’ve lost some important people and some people – not on the 17 but within the organization –that had access to everything (and) are pretty much at every single different team throughout the garage,” he said. “So I think anything you have that you maybe thought was an advantage through last year, things we learned, has certainly disappeared.
“I think that’s going to make us have to work extra hard to be able to find something that’s a little bit better to try to get an edge on some of them guys again.”
And finding that edge is something Edwards believes his team can do, even in a continually tough economic climate.
“Jack (Roush) and Robbie (Reiser) are very smart racers, and they have both raced with nothing,” Edwards said. “They both had to prioritize for a large portion of their careers, and I would say that if it were a game of racing with the least amount of resources, those would be the guys you want.
“I feel good about that. Robbie and I talked about that a little bit. He feels confident and Jack feels confident and from a resources side I don’t think we have lost anything with engineering, all our simulation programs and the support from Ford all of it stayed almost intact and some of it has grown.”
– Rick Minter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.orgNo Comment