Edwards: It's important to leverage limited testing
April 13, 2013, Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service, NASCAR.com
Driver touches on dilemma between testing at strong, weak tracks
FORT WORTH, Tex. -- With each NASCAR Sprint Cup organization getting four private tests throughout the course of the season, Carl Edwards believes it’s important to maximize the choices of venues the teams choose to visit.
But do you test at tracks that play to your strengths, or do you pick tests designed to improve your weaknesses?
The Roush Fenway Racing teams tested at Kansas recently because they thought a test there would have applications that could apply to other tracks.
"We went through the whole decision-making process earlier in the year… and we had a voting process," Edwards told the NASCAR Wire Service. "They said, ‘Hey, where do you want to test, and why do you want to test there?’ So everybody had input. We want to make the most of our tests, so that it benefits you more than just at that track.
"...you also have to weigh your weaknesses and strengths."
-- Carl Edwards
"That’s why we picked the tracks that we picked, and I think everybody in the sport did that. And you also have to weigh your weaknesses and strengths. That’s one of the questions I think everyone battles with. Do you work really hard on your strengths because you know you can achieve there? Or do you work hard on your weaknesses and try to raise them -- but it was a big decision-making process at RFR for us."
Striking a balance
Substituting for another driver may be more difficult than driving your own car, simply because of the variables involved.
Take Brian Vickers, whose first stint in Denny Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota is this weekend at Texas. Vickers will drive the car until Hamlin returns from a compression fracture in his first lumbar vertebra, and the relief driver has other things to consider beyond winning races.
Yes, Vickers wants to showcase his talents, in hopes of landing a full-time Sprint Cup ride next year, but he also has to be mindful of the No. 11’s position in owner points. The car can qualify for the owners’ Chase, even if Hamlin doesn’t make the cut for the drivers’ championship.
So does Vickers have to temper his desire to charge to the front with thoughts of keeping the fenders on the car?
"I really feel like that's always the balance we strive for in this series," Vickers told the NASCAR Wire Service. "Even though I might not be racing for the championship in this car, this car is still racing for a championship. They're still in the hunt for an owner's championship and we have to treat it as such.
"Granted you get the most points by winning and I think nothing would make me happier and this team happier than to win, nothing would help in the points more than to win and nothing would help March of Dimes more than a win for the FedEx team. Does that mean we're going to take unnecessary risk -- probably not. I think a good solid day would be good for us and good for everyone."
Comments are currently unavailable. We’re working on the development of a NASCAR fan forum – please stay tuned.