Carl Edwards has had a rough season so far. Compared to last year, Edwards has been relatively quiet. He has not yet won a race and is still trying to make the chase. He sits 11th in points, and while he has not been the talk of NASCAR, Edwards has done enough to place himself close to the top 10.
Edwards is due for a hot streak. The driver of No. 99 came so close last year to winning his first championship that it's only a matter of time before we are reminded why Edwards is such a good driver. That time is now as Edwards makes his charge into the chase.
From Last Season to Now
When comparing last season to the current one, Carl Edwards has been struggling. For example, last season Edwards had an average start of 9.4 and an average finish of 9.3. For the current season, though, Carl has had an average start of 16.4 and an average finish of 14.3.
Statistically Edwards has dropped. We could compare last season with this one and say that Edwards losing to Tony Stewart last year had some type of impact on him this year. Or maybe something was going on with his racing team and Edwards was just not connecting with Bob Osborne like he was last season.
Edwards has been all over the place this year. While he does have nine top-10 finishes, including two top-five finishes, Edwards has also finished 39th, 31st, 26th and 21st in several races.
While Carl has had some poor finishes this year, he has still managed to keep himself 11th in the standings. With seven races left, Edwards clearly still has a chance.
Will Carl Edwards make the chase?
Looking at this same stretch of schedule from last season that remains this year, Edwards managed four top-10 finishes, two of which were top-five finishes.
Expect Edwards to have solid finishes the rest of the season as he begins his hot streak that takes him into the chase.
With Bob Osborne stepping down as the crew chief of the No. 99 team, it can easily end up being something positive or negative for Edwards.
Regardless, though, it's a fresh start for Carl Edwards.
Osborne isn't leaving because of problems with Roush-Fenway or Edwards. He was quoted on NASCAR.com as saying:
At this time in my life, however, concerns with my health have necessitated that I change my role within the organization. This transition is not an easy one, but I'm thankful to have the full support of Jack, Carl and the entire organization. I also have every confidence in Chad Norris, and I look forward to working with him as we continue to pursue a championship in 2012. I also appreciate the privacy and respect that the community will give me and my family during this difficult time.
Chad Norris will be taking over for Osborne and has been with Roush-Fenway since 2005. He has been the crew chief of Ricky Stenhouse Jr. during his Sprint Cup series races and has also been crew chief of Trevor Bayne in his Nationwide series schedule.
Carl Edwards has already spoken highly of Norris. He was quoted at NASCAR.com as saying:
We're very fortunate to have Chad Norris as part of our organization to take over for the No. 99. I've known Chad for a long time and he is a fierce competitor.
There is no question that Bob Osborne has played a major role in making the No. 99 a championship-caliber team. With Osborne gone though, Carl Edwards has a fresh start that could be just what he needs for a hot streak.
The New Top Dog
By now you know about Matt Kenseth and his departure from Roush-Fenway at the end of the year. Of the three full-time Sprint Cup series drivers racing for Roush-Fenway right now, Kenseth is the only one to have brought a championship to the racing organization.
So who will be the new top dog at Roush-Fenway now that Kenseth won't be around next season? After finishing second last season, a solid finish to this year or even winning the championship would easily prove that Edwards is the new top driver at Roush-Fenway.
Edwards has a lot to prove. If he wants to be the go-to guy for Roush-Fenway, he needs to start next week when NASCAR heads to Indy.
With a new crew chief and so much on the line after having a great season last year, look for Edwards to take off on a hot streak as we get ready for the chase.