Points race far from foregone conclusion DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 7, 2005) -- When the NASCAR Busch Series left Nashville Superspeedway on March 26, Carl Edwards (No. 60 Charter Communications Ford) had a comfortable 95-point lead on Reed ...
Points race far from foregone conclusion
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 7, 2005) -- When the NASCAR Busch Series left Nashville Superspeedway on March 26, Carl Edwards (No. 60 Charter Communications Ford) had a comfortable 95-point lead on Reed Sorenson (No. 41 Discount Tire Co. Dodge) in the series standings, despite the first victory of Sorenson's series career.
During the subsequent six races, Edwards' lead in the rankings expanded significantly, from 95 to 180 over Clint Bowyer (No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet) following Edwards' second win of the season at Richmond.
At that stage, Edwards' fellow competitors -- including defending NASCAR Busch Series champion Martin Truex Jr. (No. 8 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet) --were beginning to wonder instead if they would be vying for second place in the championship rankings. Truex, a preseason favorite to defend his title, was as many as 348 points behind Edwards after Phoenix, just six races ago.
But what looked like a runaway by Edwards has suddenly turned into an intriguing chase for the 2005 title.
Edwards' lead has been cut to 74 points over the last two races, due to two of the three worst finishes of his NASCAR Busch Series career -- 35th at Charlotte and 31st at Dover -- coupled with the resurgence of Truex and the dogged determination of Sorenson and Bowyer.
After collecting just two top-10 finishes in his first eight races, Truex has registered five top 10s in his last six outings, including victories at Talladega and Dover. Sorenson has two top-five finishes in his last two races, while Bowyer, although in a bit of a slump of late, runs well at Nashville with top-five efforts in his three NASCAR Busch Series races at the track.
Edwards admitted that he was thinking about the points "just a little" following his bad luck at Dover, but remained confident nonetheless. "We lost 100 points to Martin, but that's racing and we'll gain them back," he said.
Truex, however, began to sound more like a man on a mission. "Our race team is really strong -- it's stronger than last year, I feel," he said. "We've got some really strong cars right now, and communication is better than ever. We just had some bad races throughout the year. If I could have done a few things different or we have a couple less flat tires, we could be the points leader right now.
"It's not a matter of if we can do it, it's a matter of when we just put it all together like we did last year. I feel like we're on the right track to doing that."