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Championship rivals have opportunity to gain on Edwards, Kenseth in Martinsville

By admin | October 25, 2011

By Richard Allen

After all the dust had settled on the Sprint Cup Series race in Talladega, Roush Fenway Racing teammates Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth emerged as the two top runners in the standings of NASCAR’s top division. However, a statistical look ahead reveals the possibility that their advantage could be short lived.

Edwards currently holds a 14 point advantage over Kenseth who in turn stands another four points ahead of 3rd place Brad Keselowski.

But as the series heads for its next race at the Martinsville Speedway in Virginia, Edwards and Kenseth are vulnerable to attack from their rivals. Neither of the RFR drivers has a particularly stellar record on the paper clip shaped half-mile track.

The Martinsville Speedway is one of Edwards’ worst statistically. In fourteen starts there, he has managed only one top-5 and four top-10 results. His 16.9 average finish position is his worst on any track aside from the two restrictor plate tri-ovals of Daytona and Talladega.

Edwards finished 23rd in the spring race held here earlier this season.

Much like his teammate, Kenseth would probably prefer to be headed to some other locale this weekend. Martinsville has been no better to him throughout his career.

In 23 starts on the oldest track currently in use on the Sprint Cup circuit, Kenseth has scored only two top-5 and seven top-10 finishes. His average finishing spot is a meager 15.8 here. Of 11,409 completed laps, the driver of car #17 has only been scored as the leader for 68 circuits.

Kenseth did finish 6th here in the spring.

Of course, one other fact about this track looms in the histories of these two drivers. It was here that Edwards threatened to punch Kenseth in a post-race confrontation several years ago.

Despite the controversy that went along with it, Ford and Roush Fenway Racing had to be happy for its two Chase for the Championship contending drivers to come out of Talladega with the top spots in the standings. However, this weekend will provide a serious threat to that leadership.

Should either or both of these teammates still be at the top of the Sprint Cup standings on Sunday evening they will no doubt feel better about their chances for the rest of the way.

Can Johnson and the Busch brothers take advantage of Edwards and Kenseth weakness at Martinsville?

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