Carl Edwards currently sits fifth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings despite being winless entering this weekend's Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway but, buoyed by his Nationwide success in Canada on Sunday, is hopeful of turning things around.
On the cusp of the start of the Chase for the Championship, Atlanta is a critical race for Edwards' momentum, but also a track where the Missouri native has had incredible success.
Edwards comes to Atlanta Motor Speedway with three-career NASCAR Cup Series wins in just ten appearances at the track – including last year's Pep Boys Auto 500 – in addition to one win in four Nationwide Series starts. In 2005, Edwards pulled off a weekend sweep at Atlanta Motor Speedway by winning both the 2005 Golden Corral 500 Cup race and the Aaron's 312 support race in March.
Success in this year's Pep Boys Auto 500 would not only give Edward's his first win of 2009, but also critical bonus points entering the Chase.
“It will be fun to run the night race there,” he said, “In fact, the whole weekend will be fun. I think Atlanta is now my favourite track – Darlington was my favourite racetrack to drive and they repaved, but Atlanta has the bumps and the pavement is slick. It's probably the most fun oval we go to.”
“Atlanta has always been a really good track for Carl,” confirmed Roush Fenway crew chief Bob Osborne, “We're taking the same car that we finished third with at Atlanta in the spring, so hopefully it will run just as well, if not better.
"We won the fall race in Atlanta last year and it would be great to win it again this year for several reasons. First, because we haven't won yet this year, but also because of the special guests we will have with us from the Aflac Cancer Centre. I'm sure Jody [Lawrence] would love to see the car she designed in victory lane on Sunday.”
Aflac Cancer Centre patient Lawrence designed Edwards' paint scheme for the Pep Boys Auto 500 and will join the team as a special guest at the event weekend.
Edwards will also be back in Nationwide action in Atlanta as he joins a contingent of 15 Cup regulars on the entry list for Saturday night's Degree V12 300 to renew his title battle with Kyle Busch. In addition, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Georgia-native David Ragan - who recently claimed a Nationwide win at Bristol Motor Speedway - head a list that also includes a number of Cup drivers eager to get seat time at night prior to Sunday's Pep Boys Auto 500.