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Will strong finish by Edwards result in 2011 success?

By admin | November 23, 2010

By Richard Allen

In 2008 Carl Edwards finished the NASCAR Sprint Cup season with a bang, or more like an explosion. He won nine races over the course of that season, including three of the final four events on the schedule. Had it not been for two particularly poor finishes within the final ten races he could very well have won the Chase for the Championship.

Going into 2009, many people(myself included) expected that he would be the driver to end Jimmie Johnson’s championship run(then at three). However, things did not go as planned for the back flipping Ford driver. That season he did not win a single Sprint Cup race, only had seven top-5s and finished a distant 11th in the final standings.

As a matter of fact, he went into such a dry spell following 2008 that his win in the 35th race of the 2010 season in Phoenix was his first victory since the end of the 2008.

Much like ‘08, Edwards ended this most recent season with a strong run. He won the final two races of the year to propel himself to 4th place in the standings. And again, his name is among those being tossed out there as potential challengers to the now five time defending champion.

A difference in this end of the season and that of ‘08 could be that Edwards and his team had been strong all year and perhaps got a bit too confident two years ago, or perhaps rested on their laurels. Even team co-owner Jack Roush admitted as much about his entire organization at the beginning of the 2010 season.

After having won only four races all year in 2010 there is little for Roush Fenway Racing to rest on. So, a repeat of what Roush labeled as a failure to focus on small details will most likely not be allowed to happen again.

In order for Edwards to truly contend for a championship next season he and his team have to demonstrate an ability to run at the front of the field on a more consistent basis. In 2010, it was the tenth race of the season before he led his first lap. Then, Edwards went another nine races before he led again. As a matter of fact, he only had four races all year in which he led a double digit number of circuits, and that includes the two races he won in Phoenix and Miami.

Carl Edwards has had good endings to seasons before. This time he and his need to find a way to carry that momentum into the next year.

Here are other columns you may find interesting:

Logano radio chatter foretold of second run in with Montoya

How long will it take for Kyle Busch to retaliate on Harvick?

What is the significance of five championships in a row?

Johnson claims fifth title as rivals falter

For links to all sorts of dirt racing news

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