Martinsville a Mystery for Edwards
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone | MRN.com on October 30, 2011 | 11:15 A.M. EST
Carl Edwards will start from the pole on Sunday at Martinsville Speedway. (Photo: Getty Images)
Carl Edwards has not fared well at Martinsville Speedway in his career, a pattern he looks to change in Sunday’s TUMS Fast Relief 500.
The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup point leader has had a rough go at the .526-mile Virginia short track and looked to his Roush Fenway Racing teammate Matt Kenseth for some help on Sunday.
"We hope to have a good run here,” Edwards said. “We're leaning on Matt Kenseth's success here from the last race and how well he ran, and I feel that we've got a good car, but you never know.
“This place has been a really tough race track for me and for our team, but we have had some really good runs here, and Matt's good run in the spring is really what gives us the confidence we have here, and, hopefully, we can go run well and keep this points lead or extend it moving forward toward some tracks that we're really confident about."
The Martinsville problems are puzzling for Edwards, who doesn’t dislike Martinsville or short track racing for that matter.
Unfortunately, he hasn’t been able to be as successful at Martinsville over the years as he had hoped.
"I don't mind driving here,” Edwards explained. “I think part of my problem here maybe is the way that I practice and the way that I want my car to feel in practice because it just seems like we start the race and I always struggle in the race. A lot of times we finish practice and we go, ‘Okay, we're not that bad. Everything is gonna work,' and then it just turns into 500 laps of really, really tough work.
“I think in 2008 we came here to this race and finished either third or fourth and that was a spectacular run for us, and then last year in the spring we had a great run going and got a flat tire, so we've had some flashes where I thought, ‘Okay, it's all working out,' but most of the time I feel like it's a pretty big job to run well - a pretty tough job to do it."
Edwards and Kenseth for that matter who also doesn’t run particularly well at Martinsville may have caught a break this weekend when qualifying was rained out. That puts the teammates who come into the race 1-2 in the Chase standings on the front row, a decided advantage according to the point leader.
“Qualifying, I think, is one of the most important parts of this race and it’s no secret that’s been a tough thing for me and Matt as well,” Edwards said. “So I think it’s best case for us that we get to start on the front row, and even better is the pit stall selection.
“I think that’s going to last all day no matter how much we have to work on the car or things we have to do. That first pit stall will be great. This is my first time having it, I believe, so it’s the best qualifying we could have hoped for.”