As the summer winds down so does NASCAR’s regular season of racing. Only three races remain before the cutoff to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup at Richmond on September 8. Carl Edwards currently sits 12th in the points but the next three races are at tracks where he runs well and could help secure his seventh Chase berth.
Bristol Motor Speedway starts off the stretch. Edwards has two wins, four top-five and seven top-10 finishes in 16 starts at the half-mile bullring. He has led 300 laps there and is usually a contender for the win if he can avoid other drivers’ misfortunes. In the spring he was caught up in an accident on lap 24 which sent him behind the wall for lengthy repairs.
Atlanta Motor Speedway is the track where Edwards earned his first Sprint Cup and Nationwide wins, on the same weekend, back in 2005. In 14 Cup races there he has three wins, eight top-five and 10 top-10 finishes, and led 345 laps.
Edwards nearly claimed a win in the spring at Richmond International Raceway after leading 206 laps. A late-race penalty on a restart dashed his shot at victory lane. Although he has never won a Cup race at Richmond, he has three top-five and eight top-10 finishes in 16 starts. He has led 442 laps which is fifth-best among active drivers. Edwards has made his way to victory lane three times in the Nationwide Series at Richmond.
Sitting 38 points out of 10th place, Edwards and the No. 99 Fastenal Blue Team are looking for at least one win in the final three races to put them in the running for the wild card position and a shot at the 2012 Sprint Cup championship.