Right now, this new Chase is working, says Carl Edwards


Provided he can survive the likely carnage that will hit at Talladega Superspeedway this Sunday, Carl Edwards will advance into the Eliminator round in his final season with Roush Fenway Racing.

Edwards has flown a bit under the radar this Chase. But, with finishes of fifth and eighth in the first two races of the Contender round, Edwards currently sits fifth in points, 19 clear of Kasey Kahne in eighth, as he looks to advance.

Edwards didn’t know what to expect of the new format heading into it, but has liked what he’s seen thus far.

“I had no clue what to think. This format surprised me,” Edwards told reporters on a NASCAR teleconference Tuesday. “I didn’t think this was possible. The only thing I knew, I knew Homestead would be extremely interesting. If you would have said Charlotte would end the way it did, I would have never guessed that.

“I guarantee you Brian France is kicking back with his seat up, because right now this is working. All the teams are trying their hardest. From that point of view, it’s pretty amazing.”

The post-race drama from Charlotte helped to produce the highest-rated TV broadcast in this year’s Chase, although it was still down slightly from 2013 (3.4 to 3.1; announced Tuesday).

Edwards said the pressure has been amplified due to the new format.

“It’s gone from a full season, to a 10-race season, to now a series of 3-race seasons,” he said. “There’s no place to hide if you have a bad race with this format. It’s about as chaotic as it could be.”

He hopes that now that NASCAR has found a new format, that it sticks with it for the long haul.

“It’s a paradigm shift. But I don’t know if you would have seen the intensity at Charlotte (under the old format),” he explained. “I hope we look back and say we got it right and stick with it. There’s a lot of credibility to be had with something that’s the right format, and stays for a while.”

Heading into Talladega this weekend, needing only an 18th place finish or better to advance, Edwards said it’s not that easy a task.

“It sounds simple to do but isn’t at Talladega. It poses a bigger risk than most race tracks,” he said. “You’re literally in a pack of cars. One mistake, one parts failure could affect you. You’re not just subject to your own mistakes. You could finish 40th even if you do everything right.

“But I think everyone will go there and be very professional,” he added. “I hope you wouldn’t see any on-track retaliation at Talladega. There’s so much potential for collateral damage. My gut is that it will go smoothly. Martinsville, if there are hard feelings, that’s where you’ll see most of that dealt with.”

Edwards is Roush Fenway’s last possible title contender, with Greg Biffle having been eliminated after the Dover round.

IndyCar disappointed by delay of video game but aiming to launch at start of 2024

IndyCar video game 2024

An IndyCar executive said there is “absolutely” disappointment that its long-awaited video game recently was delayed beyond its target date, but the series remains optimistic about the new title.

“Well, I don’t know how quick it will be, but the whole situation is important to us,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said during a news conference Monday morning to announce IndyCar’s NTT title sponsorship. “Motorsport Games has spent a lot of money, a lot of effort to create an IndyCar title. What we’ve seen of that effort, which is not completely obvious, is very reassuring.

“I think it’s going to be outstanding. That’s our shared objective, that when it is released, it’s just widely accepted. A great credit both to IndyCar racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, something that our fans love.”

In June 2021, IndyCar announced a new partnership with Motorsport Games to create and distribute an IndyCar video game for the PC and Xbox and PlayStation consoles in 2023.

But during an earnings call last week, Motorsport Games said the IndyCar game had been delayed to 2024 to ensure high quality.

Somewhat compounding the delay is that IndyCar’s license for iRacing expired after the end of the 2022 season because of its exclusive agreement with Motorsport Games.

That’s resulted in significant changes for IndyCar on iRacing, which had provided a high-profile way for the series to stay visible during its 2020 shutdown from the pandemic. (Players still can race an unbranded car but don’t race on current IndyCar tracks, nor can they stream).

That’s helped ratchet up the attention on having a video game outlet for IndyCar.

“I wish we had an IndyCar title 10 years ago,” said Miles, who has been working with the organization since 2013. “We’ve been close, but we’ve had these I think speed bumps.”

IndyCar is hopeful the Motorsports Game edition will be ready at the start of 2024. Miles hinted that beta versions could be unveiled to reporters ahead of the time “to begin to show the progress in a narrow way to make sure we’ve got it right, to test the progress so that we’re ready when they’re ready.”

It’s been nearly 18 years since the release of the most recent IndyCar video game for console or PC.

“(We) better get it right,” Miles said. “It’s something we’re very close to and continue to think about what it is to make sure we get it over the line in due course.”