Taking no prisoners

Carl Edwards in the garage uring practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 5, 2014 in Richmond, Virginia. (Getty Images)

Carl Edwards in the garage uring practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 5, 2014 in Richmond, Virginia. (Getty Images)

RICHMOND, Va.—With everything that will be on the line in Saturday night’s Sprint Cup race at Richmond, don’t be surprised if drivers amp up the level of aggression in the closing laps, says Carl Edwards, a two-time winner in the Sprint Cup Series this year.

“I expect some pretty ruthless racing if a guy has an opportunity,” Edwards said Friday after final Cup practice. “I think you are going to see that not just (Saturday night) but at the third race of the Chase, sixth race and ninth race—and definitely in Homestead.

“NASCAR has done a good job of putting us in a position where a lot can depend on one pass, one lap, one restart. Everything can depend on that, and I think, for us as drivers, sometimes that’s frustrating, but it will definitely create some excitement.”

And just because Edwards is already qualified for the Chase, he doesn’t plan to take it easy in the final regular-season Cup race. After all, the three-point bonus for a victory entering the  Challenger (first) round of the Chase could prove important.

If anyone knows how valuable a point can be, it’s Edwards, who lost the 2011 Sprint Cup championship to Tony Stewart on a tiebreaker.

“If we have a shot to win, we have to go win the race,” Edwards said. “I know how tough Chicago, Loudon and Dover (the first three Chase races) will be, and if we miss the cut by two points and had an opportunity to win this race, it would be hard to sleep on that.

“I think we’ve got a car that could potentially win. I love this place and if we have a shot at it I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t race as hard as humanly possible to get it.”

Short strokes

Brian Vickers cut a tire in the final Sprint Cup practice session and tagged the wall with his No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota. The accident forced Vickers to a backup car…

Hendrick Motorsports announced an expanded sponsorship role for Nationwide Insurance, which will be the primary on Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s No. 88 Chevrolet for 21 races next year, up from the 12 previously announced…

In the wake of an announced date changed to Labor Day weekend next year—the traditional position on the schedule for the Bojangles’ Southern 500—Darlington Raceway announced that Bojangles’ has extended its entitlement agreement for the race through 2019. Track officials told the NASCAR Wire Service on Friday that ticket sales have been brisk since the announcement of the race’s return to the Labor Day date.

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