Carl Edwards stays the course in Chase title bid

Associated Press

October 25, 2014

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Jeff Gordon (24) Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88) Kasey Kahne (5) Kyle Busch (18) Carl Edwards (99) and Jamie McMurray (1) head into turn one during an auto race at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kan., on Oct. 5th.

Six races into the 10-race Chase title playoff, NASCAR’s Carl Edwards hasn’t reached victory lane, gotten into a brawl with another driver or otherwise made many headlines.

“We admittedly have not been a dominant team all year,” despite two wins during the regular season, Edwards said Friday.

But Edwards, 35, has been consistent enough to remain in the hunt with seven other drivers who survived the first two rounds of NASCAR’s new knockout-style format for its Chase for the Sprint Cup.

There are three races left — Martinsville, Va., this Sunday, then Texas and Phoenix—to determine which final four drivers will battle for the championship at the season finale Nov. 16 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

If any of the eight win one of the next three races, they automatically advance to the final round. The others would advance based on amassing the most points over the next three races.

Edwards, known for his victory backflips, drives the No. 99 Ford for Roush Fenway Racing, but he’s already announced plans to move to another team, Joe Gibbs Racing, after this year.

“We’re looking forward to … hopefully advancing to Homestead, where we feel like we have a really good shot at winning the championship,” Edwards told reporters at Martinsville Speedway.

Edwards has only one top-five finish in the six Chase races so far. He’s also never won at Martinsville in 20 prior starts.

He’s a three-time winner at Texas Motor Speedway but “the problem with the success I’ve had at Texas is it happened a long time ago,” with a win in 2005 and two wins in 2008, Edwards said.

“Texas is one that I’m actually a little more nervous about than this track or Phoenix,” he said. Phoenix, in fact, might be Edwards’ best track for reaching the final round. He’s a two-time winner at Phoenix International Raceway, most recently last year.

But even if Edwards reaches the final round at Homestead-Miami, he’ll have to hold off the two Team Penske drivers — Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano — who together have won four of the first six Chase races.

“The people I think you’re going to have to beat to win the championship are the Penske cars,” Edwards said. “Brad and Joey are fast every week.”