Darlington: Carl Edwards preview

"Deja Vu -- Edwards once again finds himself in 13th place after 10 races" CONCORD, N.C. (May 11, 2006) -- The performance has been present, the speeds have been there, but the overall perception of the No. 99 Office Depot is they are less ...

"Deja Vu -- Edwards once again finds himself in 13th place after 10 races"

CONCORD, N.C. (May 11, 2006) -- The performance has been present, the speeds have been there, but the overall perception of the No. 99 Office Depot is they are less dominant than they were a year ago. One year ago after 10 races, Edwards found himself in the 13th position in the point standings. After finishing Richmond last weekend, the 10th race of 2006, Edwards again finds himself in the 13th position. To date, the Office Depot team has racked up more top 10's, more top five's, and led more laps than in the same time frame in 2005.

Edwards and Co. entered the 2005 season as an early preseason favorite to win the Nextel Cup Championship. But after wrecks in Daytona, Atlanta, and Texas, Edwards took a hit in the point standings. In both the Atlanta and Texas races, the Office Depot team felt they had a race car capable of finishing in the top five. "That's just racing," said Edwards when asked about the bad luck the team has tasted this season.

It wasn't until Phoenix that Edwards' bad luck seemed to change. Ironically, this was the same race weekend Edwards' fan club presented Edwards with a good-luck charm, a horseshoe. In each race over the last weeks, Edwards has been forced to the rear of the field and has had to drive his way back into the top 10. Maybe the good-luck charm was the turning point of his season.

In Phoenix, Edwards was forced to restart in the 38th position after a minor pit road accident. Edwards was able to pilot his Ford Fusion to a fourth-place finish. When the fuel catch can was left in the race car at Talladega, Edwards was forced to come down pit road for a second stop. He returned to racetrack, he found himself one lap down. Edwards was able to gain his lap back and finish the race in the seventh position. Last weekend in Richmond, Edwards was spun out by another car as he entered pit road during a green flag stop. Once more, Edwards found himself near the rear of the field and was able to race his way back into the top 10.

As Edwards enters the 11th race of 2006, he has already racked up three top-five finishes; one more than 2005. In the first 10 races in 2005, Edwards finished in the top 10 only four times. So far this season, Edwards has five. To note, fifty percent of Edwards' finishes in 2006 have been in the top 10.

Edwards knows the season is starting to head in the right direction.

"We need to keep having these kinds of runs," said Edwards. "Our goal right now is to just stay out of trouble and continue running well. And with Darlington this weekend, it's the perfect place to keep that ball rolling. Darlington is my favorite track to run at and a track our team has seen a lot of success in the past. Right now, we just have to continue bringing home these top-10 finishes and hopefully continue to move up in the point standings."

In 2005, the 11th race was Richmond, where Edwards finished in the 21st position. Edwards looks to improve that finish this weekend in Darlington, where his average finish at the track is eighth place. Edwards is only 53 points out of 10th place and hopes a strong finish at Darlington will move him a few steps closer to the "Chase for the Nextel Cup Championship.."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Carl Edwards