A while back, Carl Edwards was always considered a threat to win at Texas Motor Speedway.
The Roush Fenway Racing driver first conquered the 1.5-mile oval in 2005, and three years later, he swept both races there.
But in the 11 races at TMS since, Edwards has only been able to claim three Top-5 finishes, the last of which came in the spring of 2013.
“The problem with the success I’ve had at Texas is it happened a long time ago,” Edwards admitted last weekend at Martinsville, where he opened his Eliminator Round with a middling 20th-place finish.
“A lot has changed and for some reason we have not been as fast at the mile-and-a-halves as we once were, so I don’t know.
“I think Texas is one that I’m actually a little more nervous about than this track or Phoenix. I wish it weren’t true because it’s such a fun race track to do well at, so I’m not sure what to think about Texas yet. I think it’s gonna be tough.”
Today, TMS hosts the middle race of the Eliminator Round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup. And Edwards can’t afford to be what he has been lately there – not with him being 15 points below the cutoff to advance to the Sprint Cup Championship Race.
A win is probably a tall order for Edwards considering the strength on 1.5-mile ovals of his Chase rivals, particularly those from Hendrick Motorsports (Chase Grid leader Jeff Gordon), Team Penske (Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski), and Stewart-Haas Racing (Kevin Harvick). His best chance for victory definitely lies with the Eliminator finale next weekend at Phoenix.
But Edwards has had a lot of decent days on 1.5-milers this season. In the nine races that have been run this year on tracks of that size, he’s earned four Top-5s and six Top-10s. And during the Chase, Edwards has earned a fifth at Kansas and an eighth at Charlotte.
If he can come up with something like that today, his points deficit may come down to single-digits and a more manageable state going into what would be his biggest race of the year in the Valley of the Sun.