Motorsports Insider: Good to see, and hear, Carl Edwards back at the top

Posted Wednesday, May. 22, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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More information Series updates Sprint Cup Worst start: This is Tony Stewart’s worst start of his career. He sits 21st in points, and for the first time through 11 races, he does not have a top-five finish. Looking primed: Watch out for Kyle Busch this weekend. He’s been in the top five in five of his last six races at Charlotte and in the top 10 in 10 of the last 11. Bayne returns: Trevor Bayne will drive the No. 21 Ford for Wood Brothers this week. Nationwide Summer stretch: The series races for 21 consecutive weeks starting on Saturday. The next weekend off? Mid-October. Annett returns: Michael Annett is back in the seat of the No. 43 Ford this week. He suffered a broken sternum in the season opener at Daytona. Camping World Truck Hot streak: Brendan Gaughan has been second, fourth and third in his last three races. After an accident in the season opener left him 28th in points, he is up to fourth. Points look: Matt Crafton has a 22-point lead, a half-a-race cushion. Behind him, four drivers are within nine points of each other, including defending series champion James Buescher. IndyCar 15 Victories at Charlotte Motor Speedway for Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne. None for Dale Earnhardt Jr. Quotable “A lot of people will ask if it’s hard to stay focused, but it’s really not. If you lose focus, you will wreck.” Sprint Cup driver Joey Logano, on racing for 600 miles

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It looks like a rough year may be behind Carl Edwards.

You remember his 2012, don’t you? Miserable. Didn’t win. Raced around knowing he had lost the 2011 championship by a hair. Just one big slump.

But he sits second in points right now. He’s already got one win. He’s fast again. What a relief.

“The hardest part is when things aren’t going your way,” he said. “It’s very difficult when you transition from a very successful year to one that’s not so successful. We’ve all gone through that. I’ve gone through it pretty publicly a couple of times.

“At that time, to me, that’s when you have to be the toughest, that’s when you have to have the most persistence and believe in yourself the most.”

Edwards was speaking in a conference call with reporters this week, looking ahead to the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte on Sunday night.

Being in front of the media is a good sign. It usually means you’re running well. And when it’s Edwards in front of the media, it usually means good quotes.

Listen to how he set the scene when he was asked if he knew Dick Trickle, the well-liked retired driver who committed suicide last week.

“The first time I ever saw him, I was 16 years old,” Edwards said. “I was working on Kenny Schrader’s ARCA team in the garage at Michigan. It felt like it was 140 degrees outside. It was really, really hot. They sent me on an errand. I was walking through the Cup garage. I was really hot.

“I look over, and here is this gray-haired man standing in a black fire suit with a cigarette in his hand out in the sun, leaning on the garage. I think he had a cup of coffee in the other hand. I thought right then, ‘That must be the toughest human being on earth.’”

Good to have Carl back, all right.

Hinch deal

Texas Motor Speedway says keep an eye on James Hinchcliffe in the Indy 500 on Sunday. His finishing spot is how much a ticket to the Firestone 550 will cost you.

If he wins, a front-stretch ticket to the June 8 race is $1. If he’s last, or 33rd place, it’s $33. There’s an allotment of 500 tickets in the promotion, with a maximum of four tickets per purchase, available by calling the TMS ticket office at 817-215-8500.

Last year, Hinchcliffe was sixth.

Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407 Twitter: @calexmendez

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