No pressure for Edwards, except delivering a title

MARTINSVILLE, VA - OCTOBER 30: Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 XFINITY Toyota, looks on from the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 30, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)
MARTINSVILLE, VA - OCTOBER 30:  Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 XFINITY Toyota, looks on from the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 30, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)
MARTINSVILLE, VA – OCTOBER 30: Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 XFINITY Toyota, looks on from the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 30, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)

MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Carl Edwards came within an eyelash of winning a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title in 2011, when he lost the championship to Tony Stewart on a tiebreaker.

At the time, Edwards drove a Ford for Roush Fenway Racing. Now, in his first season in a Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, the pressure to win a championship may be even greater than it was four years ago—because Toyota is still seeking its first title in NASCAR’s foremost series.

“(Team owner) Joe Gibbs makes it real clear that we are here to compete, and that’s what he does this for,” Edwards said on Friday at Martinsville Speedway. “Toyota let me know that they already have a spot for the trophy. It’s ready. They are in this to win. That’s what all of these folks do. ARRIS (Edwards’ sponsor) came on board, and first thing they told me was that ‘We have the fastest modems, and we better have a fast race car.’

“Everybody wants to win, and it’s cool to be part of a group like that. They’ll do what it takes and they work hard. We have four races left. We’re in the hunt. At the beginning of the season I didn’t feel like … I thought the chance of sitting here being able to say that after about eight races were slim. We were struggling, and I’m really proud of everybody for coming together. This is going to be fun, this is what it’s about.”

Edwards struggled in qualifying and will start 14th Sunday.

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.