Carl Edwards finally ended Ford Motor Company’s winless string in NASCAR major-series racing this year by finishing first last week in the Nationwide Series race at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisc.
Now there is bigger game to hunt. Ford remains winless in Sprint Cup racing this season, a thorn in the side for the manufacturer as the schedule nears its halfway point.
“Everybody is working, and we’ve got to turn it around,” Edwards said. “We’ve got to do better, and I know we can. We’ve just got to keep working.”
Although Ford has not won a race, three of Roush Fenway Racing’s drivers – Edwards, Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle – are in the top 12 in points and thus currently eligible for Chase participation. So, as Ford teams search for entry into victory lane, they also don’t want to detour from the consistency that has resulted in points success.
“I think right now we’re just maintaining, which is a feat in itself,” Edwards said. “To not get further behind while you’re trying to catch up, I think we’re figuring things out at about the same pace as the rest of the field. We’re just a little behind them. At some point we have to leapfrog and figure out how to make that jump, but we’re not falling further behind.”
Edwards said it’s important to concentrate on the goals ahead and not wallow in the low spots.
“I’m trying to cope with our situation the best I can, but we have got to be better,” he said. “That’s the bottom line. Everybody is working really hard, and, like I said before, you’re very foolish if you can’t just stay focused and keep working.
“If you start pointing fingers and being mad and freaking out, that only digs you further into that hole. The reason we’re not running well is very simple – there’s something about our cars that we’re not doing right to make them as fast as the other cars. So it’s not that people aren’t trying. You can’t be mad at a race car, at least I don’t think I can be, so I think that’s the key is to just keep focus.
“I’m very frustrated. I want to run better. That run at Road America – I’m glad I had that run because that felt really good to just go out there and have the fastest car and dominate a race like that.”
The Road America win reminded him of what is possible, Edwards said.
“It reminded me of how easy it can be, and I think that’s important,” he said. “I’m really glad I’m running the Nationwide Series just for that one simple race. That changed my perspective going to Sonoma. When I was sitting back there struggling to run 12th at Sonoma, it reminded me that I can do this. It’s not that hard. We just have to keep working.”
Mike Hembree is NASCAR Editor for SPEEDtv.com and has been covering motorsports for 28 years. He has written several books on NASCAR, including "NASCAR: The Definitive History of America's Sport" and "Then Tony Said To Junior: The Best NASCAR Stories Ever Told". He is a six-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.