LONG POND, Pa. — Carl Edwards had just about everything go right last season in the chase for his first Cup championship except win more races than Tony Stewart.
Edwards is finding a repeat run toward a historic finale a bit trickier this season. Forget racing for the championship in the last race of the season. Edwards finds himself parked outside of the 10 automatic spots for the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.
It’s not a quite a runner-up hangover. Edwards is having a solid season with eight top-10 finishes in 14 races that have him in 11th place entering Sunday’s race at Michigan. Edwards has just run into a series of bad breaks that has the No. 99 needing a series of strong runs to crack the field.
He was whacked with an early pass-through penalty for not falling to the rear of the field on an early restart last week at Pocono Raceway. He crashed because of a cut tire a week earlier at Dover. He ran out of gas in the final lap at Phoenix. He was caught up in wrecks at Talladega and Bristol.
“It’s like my brother was telling me, he said, ‘It’s just luck,”’ Edwards said. “‘Last year, your luck was awesome. This year, it’s terrible.’ Hopefully, we can kind of use all that bad luck and still make the Chase and turn it around because I know we can do it.”
Bad luck has played a factor. But Edwards does have to start running better and fall more in line with his Roush Fenway Racing teammates. Matt Kenseth leads the points standings and Greg Biffle is having a fantastic season and is third.
Behind Martin Truex Jr., Stewart, Clint Bowyer and Brad Keselowski is Edwards. With no victories yet this season, Edwards wouldn’t even earn one of the two wild-card Chase entries. Those spots belong to Kyle Busch and Ryan Newman for now.