Daytona 500 Starting Lineup: Carl Edwards Must Take Advantage of Top Spot

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 24:  Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Fastenal Ford, stands in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 24, 2012 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Jeff ChaseSenior Analyst IIFebruary 27, 2012

After only winning one race in 2011, Carl Edwards must get the 2012 season off to a hot start at the Daytona 500.

At this year's race, Edwards currently has the top spot on the starting pole, and while that position is likely to change throughout the race, Edwards must take advantage of his placement and stay towards the front of the pack the entire race.

He really needs to start winning again, as he has only won three races since he took a career high of nine in 2008.

The field has definitely changed since then, but with earning the top spot on the starting grid, this is Edwards' time to stay ahead and claim his 20th Sprint Cup Series title.

Edwards finished last season ranked second in the series, but he did that with just one win. It is time for him to start to show why he was ranked so high, and the best way in doing so is to take the year's first race by storm.

It isn't like Edwards is a long shot to win this one, but he does have drivers like Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr. sitting right behind him in the starting pole, so it is important that he doesn't let them pass him early on.

If he can maintain a lead with those guys trying to take the lead from him, Edwards really shouldn't have a hard time holding onto the lead.

Anything can happen though, and while his front of the pole position is definitely an advantage, Edwards still has to finish where he started.

If he can do that, then this year may be another for the making for No. 60.


Jeff Chase is a Featured Columnist for the Chicago Cubs and Arizona State football.

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