CONCORD, N.C. – Another driver who will have to overcome the odds to fulfill his wish list is Carl Edwards, the defending winner of the Coca-Cola 600.
Not since Jimmie Johnson triumphed in the 2005 race during a string of four straight victories at Charlotte has a driver won NASCAR’s longest contest two consecutive times. Edwards, of course, would like nothing better than to break the current 10-year streak of different winners.
There’s a big difference in circumstances, though. Edwards came to Charlotte last year without a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory, struggling during the early stages of his maiden season with Joe Gibbs Racing.
This year’s Edwards has won twice and has clinched a spot in the Chase.
“It’s probably the biggest race that I’ve ever won,” Edwards said. “There was so much going on last year at that time – we won the race and I was so relieved with everything we’d been through up to that point in the season.
“There was a lot of pressure, so we won the race and the pressure came off and I was like, ‘Man, it’s great to get that win.’ Still, it’s just one of those wins that over time it’s just grown, and when we came here to do the media, I was telling the folks when I was here and I was reading through the run of show, they had me listed as the Coca-Cola 600 champion and I was like, ‘Man, that’s really cool.’
“I’m still getting my head around the fact that we won that race. It would be nice to do it again.”
Edwards will start 9th Sunday.