Could Carl Edwards be a Chase sleeper Sunday in Kansas?

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With Greg Biffle’s elimination from the Chase last weekend at Dover, Carl Edwards is now Roush Fenway Racing’s proverbial last bullet in the chamber.

Edwards has been overshadowed by the other title contenders going into Sunday’s Contender Round opener at Kansas Speedway, perhaps a byproduct of RFR’s largely so-so performance this year.

But with two wins in 2014 (Bristol in the spring, Sonoma in the summer), Edwards has been the team’s best. And with 10 Top-10 finishes in 14 Cup races at Kansas, he’s coming to a track that he definitely likes.

Then there’s the recent test he had with RFR at Texas Motor Speedway. Could any of the lessons that RFR learned in the Lone Star State help him do well in a Contender Round that starts with two 1.5-milers at Kansas and Charlotte before ending at Talladega?

If so, then Edwards might have a chance to move on the Eliminator Round even if he doesn’t have a win in his pocket before ‘Dega – which, in contrast to perhaps the majority of the Chase drivers, he’s actually looking forward to because of the new Chase format.

“I think this format perfectly suits our situation in that we have not been the dominant car all year, but right now we are tied with guys like Brad Keselowski and Jeff Gordon,” Edwards said Friday in reference to the points reset that occurs before all rounds of the Chase.

“We have an opportunity now to make something happen and if I were those guys I would be frustrated but right now we are going to take advantage of this.

“For Talladega in particular, it gives us an opportunity to go out and regardless of our performance here at these two tracks, we know we have a good superspeedway program and have nothing to lose and can go race for that win.”

Still, Edwards – a native of Columbia, Missouri – desperately wants to win at Kansas, which he considers his home track on the Sprint Cup circuit.

And that hunger may be the biggest intangible in his favor here.

“To be driving here now and to be driving a Sprint Cup Series car here is almost like a dream world,” he said. “It is something I thought about every day and I just dreamed of. For me, it is really important.

“A win here would be so special. Just to race here is neat as winning at some of the other tracks I’ve won at. I am not just saying that. It is really a special place.”

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry.

The idea of Hamilton attending the season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).