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Points, Not Poles, Are What’s On Edwards Mind

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, September 24 2016
Carl Edwards' is hoping to pick up his Chase pace on Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Gary Ellis)

Carl Edwards is hoping to pick up his Chase pace on Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Gary Ellis)

By Mike Harris | Senior Writer

LOUDON, NH – NASCAR doesn’t award any points for winning poles and, as pleased as Carl Edwards is to have won his third pole in his last four tries at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, that is far from satisfying.

sprint-logo-08“Sometimes, it’s tough,’’ Edwards said as he prepared to lead the field into Sunday’s Bad Boy Off Road 300. “You can run a fast lap here, but there’s a lot more to it than that when it comes to the race.’’

Edwards, who has yet to win on the one-mile oval, finished seventh and fifth last year after winning the pole for both Sprint Cup races. He was even worse here in July, starting 13th and finished 20th.

“It’s very difficult,’’ Edwards said. “If you look at the track map or a satellite view, it’s about the most straightforward track we go to. It’s a true oval, a mile and it’s pretty flat, and that’s what makes it so tough.

“Everyone can get around here really well. It’s that last little bit (that makes the difference). Trying to figure out how to pass people here is every hard. Your car has to be very good. It’s just deceivingly tough.’’

Edwards has finished second in the season points twice _ 2008 and 2001. He goes into Sunday’s race _ the second of 10 Chase events _ ninth in the points after a frustrating start last week at Chicagoland Speedway.

“Yeah, Chicago was frustrating and I was real upset about it for about a day,’’ Edwards noted. “If we have a bad day here, I’m going to be real upset about it for about three or four days and then, if you have a bad day (next week) at Dover, you’re going to be upset for the rest of the year.

“It’s tough, but this format allows you to hang onto the idea of going out and winning and each of us have different strengths at different race tracks. We feel like we run really well here, but we’re certain we can go to Victory Lane at Dover. So you just have to stay in there and dig.’’

Heading into Sunday, Edwards’ Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Matt Kenseth is the man to beat, racing for his third straight victory here.

“He’s figured something out here for sure,’’ Edwards said. “It gives guys like me hope, you know. You go to these places and hope that you figure something out.

“But, really, I think it’s our team. You know the JGR Toyotas are very good. Our teammates, Kyle (Busch) and Denny (Hamlin) are very good, and that stuff adds up to more speed.’’

Martin Truex won at Chicagoland and leads the Chase, ahead of former series champions Brad Keselowski and Busch. Denny Hamlin is fourth, followed by Joey Logano, Chase Elliott, 2003 Cup champion Kenseth and six-time champ Jimmie Johnson.

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, September 24 2016
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