March 28, 2014

Sprint Cup notes: Carl Edwards not ready to relax

More competitive cars mean there might be more than 16 winners this season.

Carl Edwards said he thinks there will be more than 16 winners this year, so he can’t relax, even though he knows he is in good position with a win on his ledger and the top spot in the point standings.

“I feel like if we can go another month or month and a half and we’re still leading the points or close, I feel like we’ll be locked in,” he said. “The easiest way for us, though, is to just go win a race. So right now, we’re going to go for it and try to get that win while we have the points to lose.”

If there are more than 16 winners on NASCAR’s Sprint Cup circuit, not every race winner will make the field of competitors for the championship. At a minimum, to make the Chase, drivers have to have a win and be in the top 30 in points unless they are the points leader.

“I believe, and it’s held true so far, I believe we’re going to have more than 16 winners,” he said. “It feels that way. It feels like there are more competitive cars. The disparity throughout the field is smaller between the cars, so I believe that it’s not just the win that has us feeling like we can be aggressive, it’s our points position.

“If we were 20th in points right now, we would feel a lot different. So if we were to have trouble the next couple weeks and fall in points, we would go back to racing just slightly more conservatively, so that we didn’t fall any farther.”

Stewart rebound

Tony Stewart is coming off his best two finishes of the season, but he’s not convinced he’s turned his season around.

“I know I said this last week after qualifying, but I think it’s still too early to say,” he said. “I’m very proud of our team, to do what we’ve done the last two weeks. A top-5 finish is always a good day’s work at Bristol.”

Stewart credited new crew chief Chad Johnston’s work last week at California.

“That’s the part that has me the most excited,” Stewart said. “Even though we have work to do, I’m not panicked about it because I know this is the group that can figure it out.”

New ‘Air Titan’

NASCAR introduced an improvement to its “Air Titan” track drying system that it said can cut in half the time it takes to get the surface ready for racing after rain.

“Air Titan 2.0” has three times the drying blades, uses 78 percent less fuel, emits 80 percent less carbon monoxide and reduces the drying time between 25 and 50 percent from the first version.

The improvements are possible because the system no longer has to be towed by support vehicles. Instead, the power unit can fit on the back of one truck, and up to 21 trucks can be deployed at the largest tracks.

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