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NASCAR

Carl Edwards’ Run to the Chase Starts at Michigan

After losing the Sprint Cup Championship to Tony Stewart in a tiebreaker, Carl Edwards was one of the odds on favorite to win the 2012 championship. Fourteen races into the season and Edwards find himself 11th in points, three points behind Brad Keselowski for the 10th and final spot.

It has been a season of disappointments for Edwards. His performance has not been the same as last year and he has also been caught in more trouble this year then he had all of last season.

Last weekend at Pocono looked to be a good turnaround for Edwards after qualifying second. However, on lap 1 Denny Hamlin got loose going into the first turn and hit Edwards which caused him to make a pit stop and was behind in the race early. He recovered to finish 11th, but the day could have been much better for the 99 team.

Edwards losing streak is over one year now, but Michigan International Speedway might be the place for him to snap that winless streak. He has the best average finish among active drivers (8.1) in the past 14 races at Michigan and is tied with his teammate Greg Biffle for the best driver rating at 106.5. Michigan is a perfect track for the Roush-Fenway cars and Edwards is the perfect driver for a track like Michigan.

This year’s race will be different at Michigan as the track has been repaved. At first glance that might seem like a bad thing for Edwards. He has had so much success at that track and loves to race on slick bumpy surfaces. However, this new surface means the track will be fast, very fast. The Roush cars all have the power to give them an advantage and Edwards is one of the best at being a hard-charger into turns, which is going to be done with the new surface providing grip.

Right now Edwards is in a position where he needs to try to get his consistency back to get into the top, while at the same time needing some desperation for a win if he continues to slip.

There are 12 races left before the Chase for the Sprint Cup begins and Michigan is where Edwards needs to start making his run. He has tracks coming up on the schedule like Kentucky, Chicago and again at Pocono that should benefit him and his team. He needs to capitalize on his stronger tracks and can’t afford to do bad on them.

The goal for Edwards this season has to change right now. Coming into the season he wanted to win the championship, now he just needs to focus on at least making the chase. Edwards knows from his experience last season, with Stewart winning five out of the last 10 races, that if you just make the chase then you have a shot to win the title.

Look for Edwards to be strong this weekend and to get his season back on track.

 

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