Edwards hopes finish shows he's back on track

Thursday, June 1, 2006

Carl Edwards, coming off a third-place finish in Charlotte that equaled his best performance of the year, is trying to shake off what for him has been a slow start to the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup season.

Heading into Sunday's race at Dover, the 13th race of the season, Edwards is 14th in the standings, trailing series leading Jimmie Johnson by 530 points. More important, though, last year's third-place Cup finisher trails 10th-place Kevin Harvick by 95 points.

The top 10 drivers in the standings and any others within 400 points of the leader after the first 26 races are eligible to race for the title in the 10-race Chase for the Championship.

At this point last year, in his first full season in Cup, Edwards was eighth, 288 points behind Johnson. He made the Chase easily. This year, things have come harder and it has been frustrating for Edwards and his No. 99 Roush Racing crew.

"We're faster than we've been at every racetrack that we've gone to, we've just had wrecks and failures and mistakes," he said. "But we're faster and that's the hardest part. I think we're fine.

"We just have to go out and race real hard and see what happens. It's car racing and there are a lot of things that can go on, but I can guarantee you haven't seen the best of our team yet."

One positive for Edwards is that he has performed well at the upcoming tracks on the schedule, including Dover, Pocono -- where he won a race last year -- and Michigan.

"I really like these tracks we're racing at now all the way up until Sonoma because that's the one I'm really worried about," he said, referring to the season's first road course. "That will be a fun challenge as well, but I'm really excited to go to Pocono.

"That's one of my favorite race tracks. We seem to run well so, if we can just finish the races and run how we've been running, we'll be great."

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