Time For Kaiser Soze To Stand Up Straight

Tom ThomasonCorrespondent ISeptember 18, 2009

LOUDON, NH - SEPTEMBER 18:  Carl Edwards, driver of the ##99 AFLAC Ford walks on crutches during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 18, 2009 in Loudon, New Hampshire  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Watching Carl Edwards walking around with crutches and a limp reminds me of Kaiser Soze. Any minute I expect him to throw the crutches aside and lose the limp. Not to doubt the authenticity of his injury but, after the season he had last season I half expect him to confess he was playing possum all year.

I mean how do you go from nine wins while dominating NASCAR to making the chase with consistency and points racing? I just can't shake this feeling like he has been saving himself for the chase this year. Remember the Kaiser Soze quote from the movie "The Usual Suspects"? "The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he doesn't exist".

So maybe the greatest trick Carl Edwards ever pulled was convincing the world that he can't win this year. He hasn't been spanking the competition like he did last year so, many fans have written him off for 2009. But, its important to remember that it would be difficult for anyone to repeat what he did in 2008.

The athletic Edwards not only won nine races last year. He had an incredible 27 top ten's, with a gaudy 19 top five's. I'm thinking that Edwards realizes that he can still make the chase while saving a little bit for a Championship run. After all, it doesn't matter how you get in the chase. As long as your there.

Of course you have to take into account the points you can pile up in the chase with regular season wins. But do regular season wins necessarily mean chase Championships? Well let's see. In 2004, Jeff Gordon had five wins to lead the field going into the chase. He ended up Third to Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson.

IN 2005 Tony Stewart and Greg Biffle lead the chase standings with five wins a piece going into Loudon. They ended up finishing first and second respectively. Biffle actually scored another win during the chase but, Stewart finished with the most points.

In 2006, things were a little weird with Kasey Kahne having the most wins with five. But, he started 10th in points going into the chase.Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth were actually leading the chase in week one with four wins each. Jimmie Johnson won the first of what would be three championships in a row.

So the answer appears to be no. Regular season domination does not equate to championships. It appears that the chase is just like any other playoff series. It's pretty much a whole new season were every driver has a chance.

So maybe the injured guy on crutches is just biding his time. He's just letting people wonder what happened to his dominating ways of 08. He's Kaiser Soze plotting the demise of the other 11 drivers while they forget he is even there. Time to stand up straight Kaiser...