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Edwards looking to finish strong

October 29, 2013, Kenny Bruce, NASCAR.com

Edwards has fallen from fifth to 10th in the standings since the Chase started

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Carl Edwards won early and won late. He led in points after the season's first 26 races before they were re-set for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. And he has to remind himself "those are big accomplishments."

"Honestly, compared to no wins and not making the Chase, this is a very good season," he said Tuesday during an appearance at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Things haven't exactly gone swimmingly for the Roush Fenway Racing driver since the Chase got under way seven weeks ago, and as a result Edwards and the No. 99 team have fallen from fifth to 10th in the points standings.

Officially, his Chase chances linger. Realistically, they were snuffed out at Dover, Del., where a wheel problem relegated the talented 34-year-old to a 35th-place finish.

"We knew going into the Chase we had not been a dominant team," Edwards said. "We had gutted it out and fought and scratched to be at the top of the heap and led the points after Richmond. We had two wins, but we knew that we were going to have to really be consistent and not make any mistakes in the Chase. 

"And when that wheel came loose … I mean my heart sank, and everybody on the crew – the crew chief (Jimmy Fennig), everybody knew that that was going to be really hard to recover from. And it has been. 

"If you look at the guys in front of us, all nine guys in front of us, there aren't very many mistakes in that group, and at this level right now at this point in the sport, you can't have those kind of mistakes."

There's hope for a strong finish, if not for a title, as the series turns to Texas Motor Speedway and this weekend's AAA Texas 500. Edwards' three Cup victories on the 1.5-mile track is tops in the field. He finished third there earlier this year. 

"A place like Texas would be a great place for us to … show what we've been working on," he said.  "I have a feeling (teammate) Greg Biffle is going to be really tough there. He obviously wasn't happy after Martinsville. He is hungry right now … our test (there) went really well. I'm hoping that it turns into a really good race. 

"But at the same time, every week you see guys like the Gibbs (Joe Gibbs Racing) bunch and the Hendrick (Motorsports) bunch, they are able to step it up and keep moving so it's going to be a really tough race." 

Matt Kenseth (Gibbs) and Jimmie Johnson (Hendrick) are currently tied for the points lead heading to TMS. Jeff Gordon (Hendrick) is now third and the series' most recent winner. 

Kyle Busch, Kenseth's teammate at JGR, won the spring race at Texas. 

It's the seventh Chase appearance for Edwards, who through the years has won eight times during the 10-race playoff. He's finished second in points twice – including the 2011 season when he and Tony Stewart went toe-to-toe down the stretch. 

Tied after the final race, Edwards lost the title on a tiebreaker – Stewart had more wins during the season. 

"We've been very close," Edwards said. We've tied for second in 2005, actually did really well in 2008 but Jimmie … got us; and then that battle with Tony was … that was unlike anything I've ever been a part of. 

"Other than winning or not winning … it was the most fun thin I've been a part of in my career as a race car driver. 

"It changed my outlook on every little point. I think a lot of people … point to that season and that Chase and say 'man, every single point matters.' 

"You always know that and everyone says it, but that really galvanized it."

Edwards recently appeared in country music star and fellow Missourian Sara Evans' music video for her new song, "Slow Me Down." Watch a behind the scenes clip from the making of the video below: 

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