Win gives Edwards room to maneuver

DOVER, DE - MAY 29:  Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, sits in his car in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway on May 29, 2015 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

DOVER, DE – MAY 29: Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, sits in his car in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway on May 29, 2015 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

DOVER, Del. –Carl Edwards won’t celebrate his 36th birthday until Aug. 19, but in last Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, he got a couple of early presents—an unexpected fuel-mileage victory in NASCAR’s longest race and an all-but-guaranteed spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs.

“We were far enough back in points, and we had not been having good luck, (so) we were going to be pretty content with ninth, 10th, somewhere in there in that race,” Edwards said of his mind-set at Charlotte. “The win was a shock, really. I don’t think it set in until – it took about 24 hours for me to really realize we can go to Dover and just hang out and have some fun.

“We don’t have to worry. We get to go to all these tracks that I really love like Sonoma and Watkins Glen, just work on stuff and have fun racing. It took me a little while to shift my mind-set from digging in and getting points runs to, ‘Hey we’re in this thing.’ It’s pretty cool.”

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