A year ago, Edwards went to the Ford EcoBoost400 finale leading the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup™. He didn’t win the championship, losing to Tony Stewart on a most-wins tiebreaker, but the season obviously ranked the best of the Missouri native’s NASCAR Sprint Cup career.
What a difference a season makes. Instead of building on the “near-miss” title and a Coors Light Pole for February’s Daytona 500, Edwards’ No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford became ensnared in a season-long down draft. Edwards goes to Sunday’s season finale without a win and outside the Chase.
Ranked 15th in points with just three top fives and 13 top 10s, the 2012 season statistically is Edwards’ worst in his eight years as a full-time series competitor.
Homestead-Miami Speedway, however, is a good place to kick-start 2013 and end the year on a positive note – for Edwards and RFR. A victory, and the bonus points that go with it, could make Edwards a spoiler and perhaps have an impact on who ultimately claims this year’s championship.
Edwards has been superlative at the 1.5-mile Homestead layout, fashioning a pair of victories (2008, 2010) and finishing eighth or better in seven consecutive races. The Columbia, Mo., veteran has an average finish of 5.2 and a series-leading Driver Rating of 120.9. Since 2005, Edwards has dominated virtually every Loop Scoring Data category and led 26.2% of the eight races.
Roush Fenway Racing has won seven of 13 Homestead races – including five in a row between 2004 and 2008. Current drivers and Chase qualifiers Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth have combined for four victories.