Carl Edwards has been down on his luck.
Through 11 races this season, the driver of the No. 19 Toyota currently sits at the No. 18 spot in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings and has yet to record his first win with Joe Gibbs Racing.
But Edwards believes he and his team began taking steps toward reversing their misfortunes on Thursday, finishing third in qualifying at Charlotte Motor Speedway for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600.
“I’m really happy with everything,” said Edwards about Thursday’s results. “I’m happy the car was fast. Now I’m excited to run in race trim, just get the car tuned in and hopefully do what Denny (Hamlin) did last week.”
In order to emulate his JGR teammate’s win in Saturday’s Sprint All-Star Race, Edwards knows he will need to continue to post the speeds he ran Thursday.
Edwards kick started Thursday’s action by rounding the 1.5-mile track at a speed of 192.273 mph, pushing him ahead of four-time Coca-Cola 600 champion Jimmie Johnson for the 90-minute practice session’s top speed.
“This place just requires a really fast race car,” Edwards said. “You’ve got a good car, its a pretty straightforward track.”
Edwards speaks from experience when he says what it takes to have success in Charlotte. Out of all active drivers, he has the best average finish at the Coca-Cola 600 at ninth. He walked away with a fourth-place finish in the event in 2014.
By finishing third in qualifying, Edwards will be starting in the top 10 at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the seventh time in his career. He has six top-10 starts in 12 races this season, but if Thursday’s results are any indication, Edwards believes his luck could possibly begin to change this weekend.
“I’m really looking forward to it. We’ve had bad luck,” Edwards said. “Some of our problems were self-inflicted, but really we’ve had just a lot of bad luck. We just haven’t had that really good race yet.
“We need a race where we need to just compete for the win and get a result that’s representative of our efforts, and I think we can get that this weekend.”