Bristol II: Carl Edwards preview

IT'S CRUNCH TIME FOR EDWARDS AND THE NO. 99 TEAM Concord, N.C. (August 24, 2005) - In his last 36 NEXTEL Cup starts, Columbia, MO native Carl Edwards has racked up two wins, eight top five and 14 top 10 finishes. Edwards two wins along with...

IT'S CRUNCH TIME FOR EDWARDS AND THE NO. 99 TEAM

Concord, N.C. (August 24, 2005) - In his last 36 NEXTEL Cup starts, Columbia, MO native Carl Edwards has racked up two wins, eight top five and 14 top 10 finishes. Edwards two wins along with seven of his top five and nine of his top 10 finishes have come in 2005, good enough to place him ninth in the overall point standings and one of only 10 drivers currently eligible for the "Chase".

With just three races remaining until the "Chase", Edwards reflected on how far he has come over the last year.

"It would mean a lot to make the 'Chase' at this point in my career," said Edwards. "It's hard to believe I've been in the NEXTEL Cup Series for a year and I already have two wins and am looking at the possibility of competing for the championship. It's pretty amazing when you think about it."

It's been an up and down year for Edwards and the team who got their first win at the fourth race of the year in Atlanta then followed that up with a win at the first Pocono race in June. After his second win and a solid top five run at Michigan, Edwards encountered a series of races where he finished 33rd or worse. The No. 99 Ford was involved in wrecks at Infineon, Daytona and Chicago and after leaving Michigan sitting fourth in the point standings, Edwards dropped to a season low 12th in the point standings sitting 99 points out of 10th place. Since that time Edwards has risen like a Phoenix sitting 56 points ahead of 10th as he heads to Bristol for the first of three night races.

"I love night racing and I'm extremely excited for Bristol." Edwards continued, "The Office Depot team needs to have a good run at Bristol and I think we are due for one. We had some bad luck there earlier this year and I think I'm going back to the track a lot smarter than I was several months ago. I love the track and I have run well there, we just need to do everything we can to control as many of the variables as we can and have a good solid race.

"We started out strong at the beginning of this year then went on a string of bad runs starting with Infineon. That really hurt us in the points. But Bob (Osborne, crew chief) and the entire team held their heads up and kept fighting and together we got back into the 'Chase'. Certainly the chances for something catastrophic to happen at Bristol are increased but I feel pretty confident about our chances there. If we can come away with a solid finish there, I think we have a good chance at making the 'Chase'."

Edwards and the No. 99 team started out the year with two goals. One, to win a race and two, to make the "Chase". Having achieved his first goal, how does Edwards feel about making the "Chase" this early into his career?

"It would be more than I deserve at this point in my career," said Edwards 23 starts into the season. "It was one of our goals heading into the season but honestly at this point I don't expect it. It would be great, don't get me wrong but if it doesn't happen I'm not going to get upset. There are a million reasons we shouldn't make it looking back. If we make it that will be awesome but if we don't, there will still be 10 races remaining that we can win and that's what we will go try to do. Perform our very best and win races. If we do that, the championships will come."

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Carl Edwards