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Carl Edwards Is All About the Chase

by Monte Dutton

The current season has brought Carl Edwards considerable doses of both good and bad news. The good news is that Edwards is fifth in the Sprint Cup standings and virtually assured of a spot in the Chase. The bad news is that Edwards, who won more races (9) than anyone else in 2008, still hasn’t won a race this season at the Cup level. Edwards, 30, has come close. His seven top-five finishes are exceeded only by point leader Tony Stewart (13), Jeff Gordon by Monte Dutton (11), Jimmie Johnson (9), Denny Hamlin (8) and Greg Biffle (8). The Nationwide Series race in Montreal brought a new achievement, however. Edwards passed Marcos Ambrose on the final lap to win the 23rd series victory of his career, and third this year. It was Edwards’ first triumph on a road course. His primary attention, of course, must be directed to the Sprint Cup Series and the Chase. “I go do the best I can,” said Edwards. “If I win the next 10 in a row, that’s what happens, and if we don’t win one, we don’t win. All I can do is the best I can, and I put more pressure on myself than anyone.

“Right now — as much as peoplewould like to write the story, ‘Hey, theybroke through and got a win this season’— I’m way more interested in being inthe Chase and winning the championship.That’s the key.”A year ago, Edwards, who is from Columbia,Mo., finished second to Johnson in the final Cup standings. In 2005, he was third behind champion Stewart and Roush Fenway teammate Greg Biffle. In only his fifth full season at NASCAR’s top level, Edwards already has 16 career victories. “You could definitely win a championship without winning races,” said Edwards. “I’d rather not win one that way. “I drive as hard as I can. I try to get everything I can. At the end of the race, you get your result. If it’s a win, then that’s great. If it’s 20 th and you did your job right, that’s all a person can do. … I’ll just keep driving.”

Monte Dutton has covered motorsports for The Gaston (NC) Gazette since 1993. He was named writer of the year by the National Motorsports Press Association in 2008. His blog NASCAR This Week (nascar.rbma.com) features all of his reporting on racing, roots music and life on the road. E-mail Monte at nascar_thisweek@yahoo.com.

(c) 2009 King Features Synd., Inc.

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