Absent from the Chase, Carl Edwards needs a new goal

Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Fastenall Ford, looks on from his car in the garage during practcie for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2012 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)

 

Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Fastenall Ford, looks on from his car in the garage during practcie for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2012 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)

JOLIET, Ill.—Carl Edwards is ready to go, but there’s a problem.

There’s no big prize in front of him.

Winless since March 2011, Edwards won’t be part of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup this season. When the driver who lost last year’s championship on a tiebreaker comes to the track for the final 10 races, there will be a void.

“Everything I’ve done this year has been geared toward these 10 races, and the idea of missing them… that wasn’t the plan,” Edwards told reporters after Friday’s Roush Fenway Racing sponsorship announcement at Chicagoland Speedway.

“I’m physically fit as I can be. I’m mentally fit. I’m prepared, and I feel like we’re ready to go, and there are still victories out there, but there’s not that huge goal, and that’s tough. I don’t know how to really put that into words.”

Whether it’s battling Kyle Busch for 13th in the standings or helping teammates Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle–both of whom qualified for NASCAR’s playoff–Edwards needs something to compensate for the absence of a title run.

“I need a challenge,” Edwards said. “That’s what I told Jack and the guys. If there’s anything I can do to help Matt and Greg, anything to give me a goal, that’s how I’m built.”

To Edwards, perhaps the most disappointing aspect about missing the Chase is the knowledge that any of the 12 eligible drivers can put together a 10-race championship run, as Tony Stewart proved last year when he won five races in the Chase and overtook Edwards for the title.

“That’s why it’s so painful for Kyle and I, to be on the outside, because we know anything can happen,” Edwards said. “What if I go out there in this 99 car, and me and (crew chief) Chad (Norris) win six races and dominate. How sickening would that be, to not be in it?”

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.