Before the race, Carl Edwards wasn’t sure whether he’d ever win another NASCAR race, must less complete his customary back flip.
A victory Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway answered both of those questions.
Edwards snapped a 70-race winless streak that created a shakeup at Roush Fenway Racing and completed the back flip.
“I’m not a psychologist or anything, but I can tell you that my little bit of experience with race car drivers is we all have pretty fragile egos,” Edwards said. “That’s probably one of the things that makes us perform so well is you’re always questioning yourself, you’re always working hard.”
Edwards had two crew chiefs last year – Bob Osborne and Chad Norris – before settling with Jimmy Fennig for the current season. He got off to a rough start with five accidents at Daytona International Speedway for the Sprint Unlimited exhibition race and the Daytona 500.
After struggling last year, Edwards was concerned things still weren’t back on track. And at times, he wondered if he was the problem.
“I’m always trying to be better and I think all of us are like that, but when you’re not getting that positive reinforcement and you’re not winning, it is tougher,” he said. “You have to really be objective, as objective as you can, which is hard to do when you’re thinking about yourself, but you try to think, ‘Am I doing the right things? Am I working the right way? Am I being a good team player?’ (Car owner) Jack (Roush) has helped me a lot with that.”
ALL-STAR FORMAT CHANGES: The Sprint All-Star race on May 18 changed its rules again with a format that’s supposed to eliminate sandbagging during the early segments to gain an advantage for the final sprint.
The race – open to race winners from 2012, former All-Star winners and series champions from the past 10 years, two qualifiers from the Sprint Showdown for non-qualifying drivers and the winner of a fan vote – now will feature five formats. The starting lineup for the final 10-lap run will be based on the finishing average of the first four segments.
The winner of the non-points race will earn at least $1 million. Charlotte Motor Speedway track owner Bruton Smith said he will add $1 million if any driver is able to win all five segments.
There now have been 11 format changes since the non-points race started in 1985.
CHANGES COMING TO SPEED: There are big changes coming to SPEED, the Fox affiliate network dedicated solely to auto racing.
The network will be re-branded Fox Sports 1 by the end of summer, the Charlotte Observer reported.
The change will allow Fox to change the formatting to include NFL and Major League Baseball. SPEED currently broadcasts most of the practice sessions for NASCAR’s Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck series, as well as all truck series races.