Edwards Looks for Michigan Magic
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone | MRN.com on August 16, 2014 | 8:50 A.M. EST
Edwards will make his last Michigan start with Roush Fenway Racing after making his first career start at the track 10 years ago.
BROOKLYN, Mich. – Carl Edwards wants to bring Ford a good showing in the manufacturer’s backyard on Sunday when he makes his last Michigan start with Roush Fenway Racing.
Michigan International Speedway has always been important to the Ford stable because of the track’s close proximity to company headquarters in nearby Dearborn and Edwards hopes to play his part in making it a successful homecoming.
“This race is really important to us for a number of reasons,” said Edwards, who will start Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 from the third starting spot. It's our home track as a team.
“Our first trip to Michigan this year didn't go very well. Everyone at Roush Fenway Racing has taken the initiative to dig down and work as hard as we possibly can. The guys have been working long hours. The engineers have come up with new ideas. We've tested and we're hoping to come back to Jack Roush's and Ford's backyard and perform the way we know we can this weekend.”
Edwards Sprint Cup record at the two-mile track is impressive with a pair of wins, nine top-five finishes and a couple of Nationwide Series victories thrown in for good measure.
Getting around the lightning-fast two-mile oval, which saw 30 drivers exceed 200 mph in Friday’s qualifying session, is no easy task.
“You are just on the gas with super high speeds,” Edwards said. “The engines, everybody at Roush Yates engines has been doing a great job. The car has to be perfect. Not only does it have to handle perfectly but has to be the right distance off the racetrack. It has to be perfect.
“This is a place where there is a lot of engineering involved. As a driver you have to be ultra smooth. It is a huge corner and if you bobble or slit the stopwatch shows it."
While Edwards has two wins and will be in the Chase, the Roush organization has struggled overall this season and continues to look for improvement. Despite its long and successful track record at Michigan, the team's test in July was another example of the commitment to progress.
“Everyone at the shop has dug deep,” said Edwards. “Some of the meetings I have been in - the few I have been in relative to those guys it has been pretty rough. Everybody is digging deep trying to figure out what we need to do. The change is not one thing, it is the whole group.”
Speculation remains he’ll land as a fourth entry for Joe Gibbs Racing next year, but in the immediate future Edwards wants to end his Roush run with a bang.
"This race is always special,” said Edwards. “You guys know how proud I am to represent Ford. Right now my goal is to go represent Ford and drive as hard as I can for Jack Roush the same way I always have and to get us a championship. That would be I guess extra special to be able to do that right now."