NORRIS, EDWARDS HAVE WORK TO DO – He doesn’t drive a race car, but few people will be under more pressure in the NASCAR garage over the next two months than Chad Norris.
Norris replaced Bob Osborne as crew chief for Carl Edwards and his Roush Fenway Racing team this week. The No. 99 team has an uphill climb ahead to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup field, and making sure the cars are well-prepared and the race strategies are near-perfect will be the Norris assignment.
“Well, the good thing is, Carl is one of the best in the business,” Norris said on SPEED. “I wouldn’t want to go into this fight with anybody else out there. So, that’s a big helper on my side of the deal here.
“We’re just going to go out and do our best, put our heads down for the next seven weeks and go do what we know how to do. Win races, get in the Chase and fight for it at the end.”
Edwards hasn’t won a race since March 2011, and he’s currently 11th in points, 46 out of 10th. With no victories, he isn’t in the running for one of the two wild-card spots in the Chase. He either has to make his way into the top 10 in points or get two or three victories to possibly qualify for a wild card.
Norris said he and Edwards must get on the same page – and quickly.
“I think he just wants to make sure all the details get taken care of,” Norris said. “We’ve probably got to over-communicate a little bit, and say things twice, just to make sure we’re both on the same page. We’re both kind of committed here to doing that for the first seven, so we don’t make a mistake down the road and make a decision that might cost us some points or a victory.”
Seven races remain until the Chase cutoff.
“I’m super-excited for this opportunity to come aboard with Carl and try to get this car in the Chase,” Norris said.
PETERS SEEKS TO PAD LEAD – Timothy Peters, having taken care of a streak extension, will look to boost his point lead in the Camping World Truck Series in Saturday’s American Ethanol 225 at Chicagoland Speedway.
Peters won last week’s race at Iowa Speedway, giving him a Truck win in each of the past four seasons.
“Last year, we struggled really bad there (at Chicagoland), and I feel like that's where we lost some of our momentum,” Peters said. “Our package then to now is 10 times better, and I can't wait to get to these tracks that challenged us last year because I think that's where you'll see us shine."
Peters leads second-place Justin Lofton by 12 points entering the Chicagoland weekend. Ty Dillon is third, 14 points back.
LOGANO RACES, HAMLIN DRIVES – Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano are going in different directions on this off weekend.
Logano plans to race in a Late Model event Saturday at Riverside International Speedway in Nova Scotia, Canada.
Hamlin will be in Lake Tahoe, Calif., playing in a celebrity golf tournament.
RYAN TRUEX BACK WITH JGR – Ryan Truex will race in back-to-back events in the Nationwide Series for the first time this year. He’s entered in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Camry for Sunday’s STP 300 at Chicagoland.
Truex finished 10th last week at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and will be making his fifth seasonal start for JGR this year.
Mike Hembree is NASCAR Editor for SPEED.com and has been covering motorsports for 30 years. He is a six-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.