Driver Feature: Carl Edwards Is On the Rise with Joe Gibbs Racing


By Joseph Wolkin

Carl Edwards admits he was overdriving last year, his first with Joe Gibbs Racing. However, come 2016, things are different. With two victories thus far, he is increasingly optimistic that the No. 19 team will be a title contender come Homestead in November.

You’re over 10 spots higher in the points this year. Were you ever worried you wouldn’t see the same results your teammates were having?

“Yeah; Last year was a struggle. We started this [No.] 19 team from scratch, and I tried a little bit too hard and made some mistakes. When the year turned for us when you look at the stats, it was that Coca-Cola 600 win. Darian [Grubb, crew chief in 2015] rolled the dice and he got us that win. It kind of set us up moving forward. I felt like after that, we could calm down a little bit and go racing. I thought if it didn’t rain at Phoenix, we would’ve had a shot at winning the championship, which is really cool for sure. But definitely, the first half of last season was a struggle.”

What do you feel like you can improve on for the rest of the season?

“We can always improve. I can improve on my restarts. I can work harder on communicating what the car is going to need for the race. Last week [at Charlotte], I made two pit road mistakes that were just stupid. Those kinds of things are ones you can always improve on.”

Do you want to go back to the XFINITY Series any time soon?

“I’d like to win a Cup championship and then go run all the XFINITY Series races that are the fun ones for me. The road courses, maybe if they go back to Gateway, I’d like to run there. The XFINITY stuff is a lot of fun. I just don’t want to take away from this Cup program right now. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime.”