NASCAR Championship 4 Driver Spotlight – Carl Edwards

c4_edwardsBY THE NUMBERS

1 – Number of times Carl Edwards has made it to the Championship 4 in the new Chase format.
2 – Number of wins Carl Edwards has posted at Homestead-Miami Speedway (2008 and 2010) – most among the Championship 4
3 – Number of wins Carl Edwards has posted during the 2016 season; including one during the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup – (Bristol-1, Richmond-1 and Texas-2).
5 – Number of top-five finishes Carl Edwards has posted at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
6 – Number of Coors Light poles Carl Edwards has posted during the 2016 season (series-most).
7 – Number of top-10 finishes Carl Edwards has posted at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
9 – Number of top-five finishes Carl Edwards has posted during the 2016 season.
9.2 – Edwards’ average finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway (best among the Championship 4)
13.3 – Edwards’ average finish during the entire 2016 season.
14.9 – Edwards’ average finish during the first nine races of the 2016 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
18 – Number of top-10 finishes Carl Edwards has posted this season.
93.0 – Carl Edwards’ driver rating during the first nine races of the 2016 Chase.
109.4 – Carl Edwards’ career driver rating at Homestead-Miami Speedway (best among the Championship 4).
568 – Total number of laps led at Homestead-Miami Speedway by Carl Edwards (leads the series).

Edwards Looking For Redemption In Miami
Carl Edwards heads to Homestead-Miami Speedway attempting to win his first career Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship with redemption on his mind.

During the 2011 season, Edwards was denied the title in one of the most exciting season finales in NASCAR history. Edwards finished second in the race to Tony Stewart, but the duo ended the season tied in points. In a heart-breaking tiebreaker, Stewart won the championship after recording the most wins in the season of the two (Edwards had one to Stewart’s five).

On Monday night, NBCSN replayed the 2011 race – and while live-tweeting the event under the hashtag #NASCARthrowback, Stewart tweeted the following to fans hoping to see Edwards on the victorious side of history:

And 2016 is a different story – points and tiebreakers don’t matter on Sunday. Edwards just needs to post the highest finish among the Championship 4 drivers to earn his first championship.

Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3
In October, NASCAR held an organizational NASCAR Sprint Cup Series test at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Among the drivers who took part in the organizational test? Carl Edwards.

Edwards was the only Championship 4 driver at the test, which could pay huge dividends. (Brad Keselowski represented Penske Racing while Chase Elliott tested for Hendrick Motorsports.)

When asked about testing at Homestead-Miami, Edwards was confident in his ability to race well at the 1.5-mile track.

“This is a neat opportunity for me. This place, especially in the sun, you drive in the corners and slide up by the fence. I really feel like I am driving a race car here. I was just telling my spotter it’s a really fun place to drive.”

Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Racing Get Chance To Repeat
If Carl Edwards wins his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway, it will be the second-consecutive title for Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota. JGR captured its fourth Sprint Cup Series crown last season with Kyle Busch, while Toyota captured its first driver championship.

It would mark the first time since 2010 that the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has seen back-to-back team and manufacturer driver championships. Jimmie Johnson last accomplished the feat from 2006 – 2010 when he won his five consecutive championships for Hendrick Motorsports and Chevrolet.

Toyota is also on the verge of history. If the top finishing Toyota finishes 26th or better, it will clinch its first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series manufacturer’s championship.

No Ordinary Beginning
In his debut season as crew chief with Carl Edwards, Dave Rogers has the chance to win his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. This would be the second-consecutive season that a crew chief and driver have won the title in their freshman season together (Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch and Adam Stevens, 2015).

A Marshfield, Vermont, native, Rogers began his crew chief career working for Joe Gibbs Racing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series in 2006, where he won the 2008 NASCAR XFINITY Series owner title with the No. 20 team.

Rogers moved up to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2009 and worked as Kyle Busch’s crew chief until 2014, where he made the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup in four of five seasons. He then moved over to Denny Hamlin’s team in 2015, where the duo posted two wins and finished ninth in the Chase.

Atop the pit box, Rogers has 18 career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins, three of those with Edwards.

Heating Up At Homestead
For Carl Edwards, it’s home sweet Homestead.

In addition to leading the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in laps led at Homestead (568), he leads the Championship 4 drivers in wins at Homestead with two (2008 and 2010). Kyle Busch is the only other Championship 4 contender who has registered a win at Homestead (2015) – Jimmie Johnson and Joey Logano have never won at the 1.5-mile track.

He leads the Championship 4 drivers in driving rating at Homestead – owning a 109.4 driver rating in 12 starts. Additionally, Edwards is the only driver among the Championship 4 to ever register a perfect driver rating in a race at Homestead (2010).

He also leads the Championship 4 drivers in average finish (9.1 in 12 starts) in Miami.

Here are how the Championship 4 drivers’ average finishes at Homestead stack up against Edwards:

Joey Logano (17.7 in seven career starts)
Jimmie Johnson (14.1 in 15 career starts)
Kyle Busch (21.1 in 11 career starts)

If we’re going strictly by statistics at Homestead, advantage Edwards.

#CarlEdwards no more?
If you like social media, you should be rooting for Carl Edwards to win the 2016 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship this weekend at Homestead.

Why?

#CarlEdwards could be dropping the hashtag.

Edwards confessed in his media availability at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series organizational test at Homestead-Miami Speedway in October that he would join Twitter if he won the championship.

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