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Friday, June 12, 2009

Edwards ready for return to 2008 form

BROOKLYN, Mich. -- In the final 10 races of 2008, Carl Edwards finished lower than 4th place on two occasions. He ended up with nine total wins last year.

The first 11 races this season, he was been a far cry from those numbers with only four top-10s and no wins so far.

Fortunately for Edwards, he has gotten his mojo back over the past few weeks, with finishes of 4th, 7th and 2nd. The pick by many to take the championship this year is finally looking like he can actually contend for that honor.

And it doesn’t hurt that he’s racing this weekend at a track where he won last August.

MIS sits in Ford Motor Co.’s back yard, so team owner Jack Roush is especially proud of his many wins here. Edwards said he was proud that Ford has been able to avoid bankruptcy and stay alive without government help.

“I couldn’t be more proud to be aligned with Ford Motor company,” he said. “I’m not an economist, but what I do know is Ford can stand on its own feet. They make good decisions, and the cars they make are the best cars on the road, they’re fun to drive. Hopefully that’s what allows Ford to be the No. 1 auto manufacturer in the world in the future.”

The Roush team drivers took a trip Thursday to see the newest vehicles Ford is offering, as is hoping to put a big smile on the faces of his team owner and Ford employees.
“We stopped up there at Ford yesterday. We got to drive all the new vehicles. We abused some of them terribly. We had a great time,” Edwards said. “It would be great to be here. Wins here are very special. You see Jack Roush’s face light up. All the folks from Ford, all the pride they have to run well here.”

Edwards, who is very capable of delivering that win this weekend, recognizes that just because he’s won before, that doesn’t mean he’ll win again.
“This is not easy. Your past success does not guarantee you anything in the future.”

So can Edwards regain that magic he found at the end of last year that almost led him to a title? He certainly hopes so.
“At the end of last season, I felt like every track we went to we could win. We haven’t had as much speed this year, but we’re kind of creeping up on it,” said Edwards, who also noted his pit crew is performing better recently. “If we can kind of peak at the right time, with 10 races to go, it’ll be good.”

Edwards says if he doesn’t start to win, it’s not for a lack of effort.
“You guys look at the stats, but the fact is I get in that race car and I drive my ass off. I do it every week. If I win the race, that’s great. If I finish 20th, I drove just as hard,” he said.

Anyone who saw his kamikaze attempt to win at Kansas last year should know he’s telling the truth. And with that kind of ambition, I’d bet he’ll soon return to being a regular fixture in Victory Lane.

Edwards: Don’t rush to judgment on Mayfield
Edwards also weighed in on the situation involving Jeremy Mayfield, who is accused by NASCAR of violating the sport’s drug policy, expressing concern with some of the media reports on the situation.

“We don’t know all the details. We don’t know what happened,” he said. “I don’t think it’s right to run a guy through the wringer in the media speculating a bunch of stuff based off some source. I don’t think it’s right at all.”

Biffle on Roush, auto industry woes
Edwards’ teammate Greg Biffle said the Roush-Fenway race team hasn’t gotten worse this year, they just haven’t gotten better, and he believes the team can reach the competitive level of teams like Hendrick Motorsports.

“The 48 (Jimmie Johnson) continues to be the best car in the field right now. I think the Roush Fenway team is off just a tick this year, not much, but it seems like we’re not quite as competitive as we were last year just ever so slightly,” Biffle said. “I don’t think we’ve slid down the slope any, it’s that the other guys have gotten a few steps up the slope and gotten a little better.”

He also weighed in on the issue of how much support the automakers will be able to provide teams in the future, and didn’t seem too worried.

“Certainly there is always going to be auto manufacturers, but we’re gonna be racing race cars with or without them,” he said today at MIS. “The amount of support they provide us is important, but we can continue to race without their support. It just means the amount of cutback on technology or testing or whatever else.”


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