Atlanta II: Edwards - NASCAR spotlight

* Carl Edwards taking NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series by storm in first full-time season DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 25, 2005) -- The field of drivers in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup contains names one would expect to see in the championship hunt...

* Carl Edwards taking NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series by storm in first full-time season

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 25, 2005) -- The field of drivers in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup contains names one would expect to see in the championship hunt as well as others that may have surprised some people.

Carl Edwards (No. 99 Office Depot Ford) falls into the latter group.

Coming into 2005, the 26-year-old from Columbia, Mo. was entering his first fulltime season in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series after taking over the No. 99 for Roush Racing with 13 races left in the 2004 season. While Edwards had shown some promise, it wasn't until he completed his first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March that he back-flipped his way into the spotlight.

Edwards won his first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race there after a daring last-lap pass of Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet). He also celebrated with his trademark back-flip off of his car. Now, returning to the site of that memorable win, Edwards looks to complete the season sweep and inch closer to the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup championship.

"A sweep would be awesome," Edwards said. "We're going to Atlanta to try and get as many points as possible, that's our primary goal. But if we win, that would be great, it would mean a lot. We definitely have the car and the team to do it."

This team has been getting it done all year. Edwards has 14 top-10 finishes on the season, including four during the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. He currently sits in fifth place in the point standings, 149 points behind leader Tony Stewart (No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet).

"Right now we're fifth in points and the next four tracks are tracks that I like, so I'm looking forward to running up front and doing everything I can to try and win this championship," Edwards said.

Even if he can't catch Stewart and the second-place Johnson, his 2005 success should ensure that Edwards will continue to be mentioned among annual title contenders.

"I think as a driver and a team we have come a long way," Edwards said. "I think the biggest thing that I've learned this year is patience and it is starting to pay off."

-nascar-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Tony Stewart , Jimmie Johnson , Carl Edwards