Edwards Fast Track To Success

The good news for the competition is that there is not another intermediate track on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule for more than a month.

But for Carl Edwards, this might be a bit of bad news.

This is the first year for intermediate tracks on the schedule with the new Sprint Cup car and no one has taken a liking to them more then the driver of the No. 99 Roush Fenway Ford.

Edwards has put together some stellar numbers in the four races on intermediate tracks this season, which includes wins at California, Las Vegas and most recently Texas. And even with the 100-point penalty, and the suspension of his crew chief at Las Vegas, Edwards finds himself 10th in the standings.

"Our cars are really good," Edwards said after winning at Texas. "And it does feel good to win, though, and look in there and see the oil-tank cover on the car (referring to the Vegas penalty). That's good. It's what we do. We go out and try to win, and the other stuff doesn't matter."

With seven of Edwards' 10 career wins coming on intermediate tracks, he talked about why he loves to race on them so much.

"The part that I do like, that I can specifically say I love, is I feel like at a race track like this, and maybe it's just my car, but I feel like I can make a difference out there lap to lap," Edwards said. "I can pitch the car sideways a little bit here, or play with the throttle a little bit here or there, and I can change what that stopwatch says every lap. And that's cool. That's what it's about. That's what I grew up doing in Missouri on the local dirt tracks is being able to make a difference by pushing those pedals and stuff. So, for me that's fun."

Along with the wins, Edwards' statistics speak for itself. In the four races, Edwards ran the most fastest laps in each, for a combined total of 282. He is also ranked No. 1 in NASCAR's Loop Data driver ratings in three of the four races, including a personal season high 139.8 out of 150 at Texas. Even at Atlanta where he fell out of the race due to mechanical problems, he finished second in the ratings to Kyle Busch.

Although they finished right behind Edwards in Sunday's Samsung 500, even two-time defending champion Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch, who won the Atlanta race, struggled with their cars during the race.

"The fact is that these are the 43 best drivers in the world," Edwards said. "The cars have 900 horsepower and go 200 miles an hour, and the track is slippery and the tires are slippery, and that's a spectacle—and that's what it's supposed to be. It's not supposed to be easy, everyone. It's not supposed to be driving down the interstate. I'm tired of hearing people complain, the media make up stories about how terrible it is and stuff—this is auto racing. There are going to be people that are faster."

The next 1.5-mile track on the schedule will be the two week stay at Lowe's Motor Speedway for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Challenge and the Coca-Cola 600 in May.

A week prior to that, the series will visit the newly repaved 1.366-mile Darlington Raceway for the second time with the new car. Last year in that event, Edwards scored his first top five with the new car after leading 33 laps from the fourth starting position.

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