The 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season has not been a good one for the #99 Roush-Fenway Ford driven by Carl Edwards - at least by his standards. With 11 races left in the regular season before the Chase begins, Edwards sits 11th and because of the wildcard system where victories are rewarded, Edwards would not make the playoffs. Is it possible that the man and team that tied for first last season with Tony Stewart, but lost to Stewart on the tiebreaker, might not even make the Chase?
Even Edwards can't argue with his cars difficulties saying: "Right now we are kind of the slow car on the team." (Source - Roush-Fenway)
Teammates doing fine though
And as an instance, this last race at Michigan, Edwards fellow teammates Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth were quite competitive with both of them starting in the top six and finishing in the top four. After those finishes, Kenseth is first and Biffle is not far behind in third overall in the point standings. Edwards had a fuel pickup problem which didn't allow him to qualify, forcing him to start in 42nd. And that's been Edwards' whole story this year; bad luck here, missed opportunity there and not quite enough speed at times, all of which has set back the usually very strong #99.
It should be noted, however, he hasn't had a completely bleak season with eight Top 10s over the first 15 events this year.
I've not heard anyone mention it but could there be some relation between Edwards not running the Nationwide series and in-turn taking away his ability to gain a feel for the track before the Cup race? It is something to consider as 2012 is the first year Edwards hasn't run Nationwide (source - Globe and Mail) since the beginning of his NASCAR career almost ten years ago.
I've never been the type who believes teams need to or should change crew chiefs and Edwards is a perfect example of what continuity can bring to a team as he and Bob Osborne have been together for nine straight seasons. In that time, the two-some have managed 19 victories and 152 Top 10s plus no rank lower than 12th at the end of any full Cup season. Good crew chiefs like Osborne don't get dumb all-of-a-sudden.
Edwards was a contender in '05 with four wins and ended up tied with his teammate Biffle for second behind the champion Tony Stewart. In 2008, Edwards came on at the end of the season with three wins over the last four events but even with nine wins for the year, couldn't catch Jimmie Johnson.
Wins are tough to come by
Edwards has not won a race since March 2011 in Las Vegas and in fact he has only three wins over the last four years. And consider this: he has had a similar season to 2012. In '09, he went winless and had only seven top fives all year. Could it be that Edwards may fall back into a mediocre season like he had three years ago?
With the new format, wins matter a lot and if Edwards could garner one or possibly two wins over the summer with decent finishes otherwise, he should be able to make the Chase.
But how far the mighty have fallen when it was just last October that we saw Edwards and Stewart going neck-and-neck to the finish for a championship - now Edwards is just scrambling and hoping to make the playoffs. Cousin' Carl needs a win.
Sources - NASCAR, Racing Reference, RCR
Daryle has been involved in motorsports most of his life and has three decades of experience inside racemarketing, plus for several years has blogged about every type of racing.