There’s a simple solution for Carl Edwards to climb out of the Chase cellar and into the final four at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Edwards just needs to win.
A victory in Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 will automatically lock the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing team into the Champion’s Round.
“It’s not a position you want to be in 30-something points down, but yet it does make things very simple,” Edwards said. “There’s only one direction to go and that’s forward…so that’s what we’ve got to do.”
As soon as we had the tire trouble at Martinsville the first thing I thought of was how fortunate we are to be going to Phoenix and Texas
Edwards finished 36th at Martinsville after he blew a tire 357 laps into the 500-lap race. Although he was running at the completion on the Goody’s 500, Edwards entered this weekend’s event 39-points behind leader Jimmie Johnson.
But traditionally, Texas Motor Speedway is one of Edwards’ best tracks on the NASCAR circuit. He’s enjoyed three wins, seven top fives and 12 top 10s at the 1.5-mile track. Edwards was second-quick in single-lap runs during first practice at Texas on Friday. The No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing team qualified ninth of 40 cars for Sunday’s race.
“As soon as we had the tire trouble at Martinsville the first thing I thought of was how fortunate we are to be going to Phoenix and Texas,” Edwards said of his next two opportunities. “I feel like we had an opportunity to win both of those races and we had speed at both of the tracks and obviously we could’ve won both of them if things had gone a little differently.
“So, yeah, these are two great tracks to go to when you have to win for us and practice was fast. Hopefully, it just keeps rolling along like that.”
Two tracks he's proven he can win at
Edwards won the pole here in the spring and led 125 laps — the second most in his career at the 1.5-miler. In his last four Texas starts, his worst finish is 10th. When Edwards earned his first win in the Lone Star State in 2005, he race from 30th for the win.
If Edwards can’t accomplish the feat at Texas Motor Speedway, there’s always Phoenix International Raceway next weekend. Kevin Harvick has won six of the last eight races at PIR and is currently outside of the top four in the standings as well. But Edwards out-dueled his competition in the desert for his second Phoenix win in 2013.
And in the spring at the one-mile track, he qualified second, led 65 laps but finished second to Harvick by 0.010-seconds when the race went into over-time.
“Really it’s time to get to it,” Edwards said. “If we want to win the championship we have to win Homestead anyway so it’s good to get in this mode.
“If we can get it done the next two races it’s only going to help us at Homestead so I think in that respect it’s good.”