By Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service
Distributed by The Sports Xchange
RICHMOND, Va. -- The more action, the better in Saturday night's Federated Auto Parts 400, as far as Carl Edwards is concerned.
"Yeah, I'm hoping for an insane race," said Edwards, who is clinging to the faintest of hopes of claiming a wild-card spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. "I want things to just be off the chart. I want rain delays and oil on the track. I want things to happen.
"I need this race to be insane. I need people running out of fuel and crazy cautions and four-wide down in Turn 1. That's what I need, and I'll take whatever I can get."
An engine failure last Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway put Edwards in a tenuous position. Not only must he win Saturday's race at Richmond International Raceway to have any chance of making the Chase, but he also needs both Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon -- who are ahead of Edwards by 26 and 14 points, respectively -- to experience nothing short of catastrophe.
That's why Edwards hopes as many bizarre and extraneous factors as possible come into play.
"Somehow, I've got to hope for Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon to have bad nights, and we've got to win the race, so those are two things that have to happen -- I guess three if you count each of them as separate instances," Edwards said.
"But the only thing I can control is going out to win the race, so I'm going to go try to win the race. I think that we have a car that can do it."
If Gordon or Busch is in front of Edwards' No. 99 Ford at the end of the race, Edwards might create some insanity of his own.
"If Kyle and Jeff are in the positions they need to be, I would not want to be in front of our 99 car at the end of this race if it meant the win," Edwards said. "We have to win, and that's all there is to it."
NASCAR REAFFIRMS REAR SUSPENSION RULES
NASCAR views the technical bulletin issued to Cup teams this week as reaffirming existing rules regarding setup of the rear suspensions, but it does limit the amount of finagling crew chiefs can do with the truck trailing arm front mounting bushing assemblies.
If that techno-speak seems hopelessly arcane, NASCAR is making sure crew chiefs understand the limits, direction and freedom of "travel" or movement in the rear suspension that's allowed under existing rules.
The bottom line is that rear-axle steering improves the aerodynamic properties of the Cup cars and allows them to turn more easily through the corners. The bulletin specifies a quarter-inch of travel in one direction only, and the assemblies in question must move freely through that quarter-inch of travel (as opposed to locking in position, for example).
With Hendrick Motorsports at the vanguard, Cup teams have been working hard to maximize the aerodynamic advantages of rear suspension setups.
"This doesn't change any rules that we've already had," said Cup series director John Darby. "It reconfirms how far teams can go with their rear suspension setups. Teams have found that, with a car's rear-axle steer, more is better as it helps with aero and gets the cars through the corners faster.
"We are just reminding the teams what the limitations are and that they cannot go past these limitations."
Five-time champion Jimmie Johnson didn't appear concerned about the bulletin.
"I think NASCAR made it known that they are just putting parameters on what's going on," Johnson said. "There is no change."
STUMPING AT THE SPEEDWAY
Earlier this week, the race for President of the United States sojourned in the heart of NASCAR country when the Democratic National Convention came to Charlotte, N.C.
On Saturday, the campaign will go on the road with NASCAR's top series when Mitt Romney, Republican candidate for President, drops in on the last Cup race before the Chase field is set.
This won't be the first race of the season for Romney, who also attended the Daytona 500 in February. Romney enjoys considerable support in the NASCAR community. In mid-August, NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France and team owner Rick Hendrick hosted a fundraiser for the GOP nominee at the Duke Mansion in the upscale Myers Park section of Charlotte.
Romney's posture toward the automotive industry, however, has been an issue in the campaign. Under the headline "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt," Romney wrote an op-ed piece that appeared in the Nov. 18, 2008 edition of The New York Times opposing a bailout for U.S. auto makers.