Whether it's Jimmie Johnson starting 30th and having trouble, a battle between top-35 contenders that triggers an accident or a driver settling a score in the season finale, Carl Edwards is looking for as much action as possible in Sunday's Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Otherwise, he figures he has little chance to overcome Johnson's colossal 141-point lead in the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings.
“All the drama that goes on in the last race – that's all potentially beneficial to us,” Edwards said. “We don't need a solid, green-flag race with no incidents. We need something to happen. I hate to say that, because it could happen to us.
“Everybody goes into this last race with different agendas. Guys want to get into the top 35; there might be some guys who want to settle some scores. Definitely, everyone wants to finish the season strong, so maybe you'll have some guys spicing it up by trying a little harder.
“I think that can only help us. The problem matrix is pretty small. We pretty much have to win the thing, and then Jimmie's either going to run like he normally does – or have trouble.
“If we don't run at the front, then it doesn't matter what Jimmie does. The only way for us to win this championship is to go win the race or run very, very well and hope for something to happen to him.”
Two-time Cup champion Ned Jarrett raced against Cale Yarborough and has the utmost respect for his former rival, but Jarrett believes that – if Johnson locks up his third straight title on Sunday – the Californian's three consecutive championships will be a greater achievement than Yarborough's.
“Back when Cale did it, there were really only about five or six teams and drivers that were capable of winning championships,” Jarrett explained. “I know we've had Jimmie and Carl and Kyle Busch who have won the majority of the races this year, but still there are plenty of other teams with the funding and the ability to win. It just hasn't been their year.”
Meanwhile, stock car racing superstition used to hold that a green car was unlucky, but that certainly doesn't apply to the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid pace car that will lead the field to the green flag in Sunday's Cup race.
Several Ford drivers, including Jamie McMurray, got a chance to drive the green (as in environmentally-friendly) pace car at Homestead-Miami Speedway. McMurray was impressed at how seamlessly the Fusion shifted between its electric engine and gasoline motor, which kicks in when the car exceeds 47mph.
“You really can't tell a difference,” McMurray said. “It's odd, because you start it, but you don't hear it start – and then it goes. You really can't tell if it is running on the electric motor or whether it is in the gas engine mode. There is no transition. You think you would feel something there, but you can't feel anything. It really doesn't feel any different than a regular car.”
Reid Spencer/Sporting News