Edwards wins second in row; NASCAR Chase points race tightens

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 14, 2005

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) - Carl Edwards is having fun, and that translates to success on the racetrack.

‘‘I haven't been racing for a real long time, but I've been racing long enough to know that I can approach it a couple of different ways,'' Edwards said Sunday after gambling on a late pit stop for tires, charging from sixth to first in 11 laps and winning for the second straight week.

‘‘I can be extremely focused and stressed out and think of it as a have-to-do-this-a certain-way manner, or I can just go and prepare the best I can, then go race and have a good time.''

Email newsletter signup

He chooses the latter and, with his fun-loving approach, the 26-year-old Roush Racing star is accomplishing things a driver with his limited experience isn't supposed to - such as thrusting himself into the midst of NASCAR's Chase for the championship with two races left.

Brimming with confidence, Edwards told his team members during the stop that if they could get him back out on the track in the top six, he could win it.

‘‘All night the car had been awesome on the restarts,'' Edward said. ‘‘The last restart it was really good and I just felt like as long as they could get us out in sixth or better, no matter what happened, I just felt really comfortable for some reason.

‘‘That's how I saw my chances, so that's what I told them and they did the job.''

And so did he.

Edwards, who was racing in the Craftsman Truck Series before being promoted to Cup midway through 2004 by team owner Jack Roush, would not be denied Sunday, passing teammate Mark Martin for the lead two laps from the end of the Dickies 500.

Meanwhile, Tony Stewart had a solid if unspectacular day. The 2002 champion finished sixth and saw his lead in the Chase for the championship drop from 43 points to 38 over Jimmie Johnson, who managed to pass Stewart two laps from the end and finish fifth.

Edwards, who has four victories in his first full season in Cup racing and in 47 races in NASCAR's top series, jumped from a tie for fourth in the Chase, 107 points behind, to sole possession of third, 77 behind Stewart.