By NASCAR Wire Service
Carl Edwards has long advocated for NASCAR implementing a lower downforce aerodynamics package for it race cars.
Lowering the downforce on a car makes it harder to control, which causes more passing and emphasizes driver skill over engineering expertise.
His wish was granted this year.
Unsurprisingly, Edwards has excelled under NASCAR’s new lower downforce aerodynamics package. The No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota driver tops the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings on the strength of two wins, five top-five and eight top-10 finishes. He’s finished lower than seventh only once in the first nine races, three of which set records for green flag passes for the lead.
“I think it’s too soon to tell, but I believe that the lower downforce has been better across the board,” said Edwards, prior to his win at Bristol Motor Speedway. “Like I said over and over, I applaud NASCAR for doing it. I think that direction is the right direction.”
At the moment, Edwards is on one of the best runs of his career. The 36-year-old Missourian has won the last two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races and has led the most laps in the past three contests. He’ll attempt to visit Victory Lane for the third consecutive race in Sunday’s GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway (1 p.m. on FOX) – a track where he has never taken a checkered flag.
“Headed to Talladega to try to better our average finish there,” Edwards said. “We don’t have a win there, but the way our team has been running, I feel like I am on one of the best runs of my career. I’m having a real great time with my crew and these Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas are fast.”
Edwards has struggled at Talladega throughout his NSCS career. In 23 starts at the 2.66-mile behemoth, he claims three top-five and six top-10 finishes. His best showing was a third-place result in spring of 2013.
Despite his mediocre Talladega track record, Edwards believes he can build on his experience from this year’s Daytona 500, a restrictor-plate race where he rallied to finish sixth after sustaining heavy damage to his car.
“We ran well as a group in Daytona and we really worked great as a team together,” he said. “Hopefully we can do that again and have similar results.”
Image: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images