2010 Stats: Points Finish 4th, 2 Wins, 9 Top Fives, 19 Top Tens, Average Running Position 13.2, Average Finish 11.8, Laps Led 427, Driver Rating 91.8
Carl Edwards ended 2010 with two straight wins and by many he’s proclaimed as the driver with the best chance to beat Jimmie Johnson in 2011. His two wins came on tracks that are very different from one another which is important (Homestead & Phoenix).
The biggest thing that happened to Carl Edwards in 2010 was not his Brad Keselowski incidents, it was the full-time roll out of the FR9 engine. The new engine was a game changer. His average finish from the summer Daytona race to Homestead was 8.6 (Daytona was the approximate full-time roll out of the FR9). His average finish in the prior races of the season was 15.3
Strengths – Just like his fellow Roush teammates you’ll find Edwards having his best days on intermediate tracks. Carl Edwards isn’t a one trick pony. He’s capable of excelling at every track type. Carl Edwards is also a very consistent. Last season he finished on the lead lap 32 races.
Weaknesses – The main weakness you need to look out for Edwards is “organizational downswings”. Roush Fenway Racing is very susceptible to down years. Fortunately for Edwards 2011 is looking like an up year for that organization.
Intermediate Track Grade- A, Edwards has been an elite intermediate track driver since he first started racing in the cup series. At the beginning of the 2010 season Edwards was nothing special on these tracks. At the midpoint after the FR9 was rolled out full-time the performances of Edwards and his teammates vastly increased. The particular turning point race for Edwards was Chicagoland when he finished second. In the next two intermediate races he finished third and second. Edwards wrapped up the season by taking the checkered flag at Homestead.
Flat Track Grade- A-, Edwards was competitive in every flat track race of 2010 except the first New Hampshire race. The next time the series visited New Hamsphire he was much more competitive. He finished 11th but his average running position was 6.5 . His small flat track highlight of the year was Phoenix when he won from the pole and led 93 laps.
I really like Carl Edwards on the big flat tracks. In the first Pocono race he finished 12th, but in the second visit to the tricky triangle he finished 3rd with the aid of the FR9 engine. At Indy he finished 7th.
Restrictor Plate Track Grade- B+, Many people don’t think of Carl Edwards as a good plate driver but I have for a long time. His traditional best plate race of the year is the July Daytona race. Last season Edwards finished in the top eleven in three of the four plate races.
Short Track Grade- B+, In 2010 Carl Edwards scored the third most points in the series on short tracks. His worst finish was 12th, and if qualifying matters to you he also started in the top thirteen in all but one race. His average finish in 2010 between the three was 8.16 (Bristol, Martinsville and Richmond). My concern here and the reason why I didn’t give him an A- is because his Martinsville and Richmond results weren’t typical from him.
Road Course Track Grade- A-, I have no problem at all picking Carl Edwards at a road course. He’s perhaps the most underrated road course driver in the entire series. At Watkins Glen he’s only finished outside the top ten once and at Infineon he would be 3 for 6 but one race he ran out of gas right at the end.
How to use Carl Edwards from a Fantasy NASCAR Perspective in 2011? If you’re in an allocation league you should focus on using Carl Edwards at intermediate tracks and big flat tracks.