2011 Stats: Points Finish 2nd, 1 Win, 19 Top Fives, 26 Top Tens, Average Running Position 12.0, Average Finish 9.3, Laps Led 903, Driver Rating 101.0
Strengths- Is there a better intermediate track driver then Carl Edwards? There’s some who are in his league, but by no means do I think anyone could say another driver is definitively better.
Edwards is a versatile driver who has a high level of fantasy viability at nearly every track. Some additional positives are that he’s an extremely consistent driver and the 99 team is able to overcome problems on Sunday and make the most out of a bad day.
Weaknesses- The main weakness you need to look out for is “organizational downswings”. Roush Fenway Racing is very susceptible to down years.
Intermediate Track Grade- A+, In 2011 no driver in the series scored more points than Carl Edwards at this track type. Matt Kenseth was the only driver who was even in the same ball park in terms of points accumulated. What made Carl Edwards really good on intermediate tracks was his consistency. In the seventeen races on this track type he only finished outside the top ten twice. He only won one race (Las Vegas) but he had the most top fives by far (4 more than Matt Kenseth and seven more then Jimmie Johnson who had the third most). Other intermediate track accolades was his average starting position (7.7, best in series), average finish (6.5, best in series), and laps led (669 laps led, best in series).
Flat Track Grade- A-, Edwards is an equally capable driver at both the big and small flat tracks. His best two flat tracks are Phoenix and Pocono. He’s always a top ten threat at both of these tracks and quite often battles for the win.
I don’t like him quite as much at Indy and New Hampshire but that doesn’t mean he’s not good there. At these two tracks he’s typically about a 7th through mid teens performer.
Restrictor Plate Track Grade- B+, Daytona was a rough track at first for Carl Edwards but he’s gotten the hang of it. Since the 2007 summer night race Edwards has averaged the second most points (33 points per race) and him and Kurt Busch are the only drivers who have finished in the top twenty in all but one race. In the 2011 “Great American Race” he finished second behind Trevor Bayne.
Edwards has come up big at Talladega many times but he’s also had problems in about a third of his races. In the last two years at Talladega he’s only finished in the top ten once but he still has a 11.3 average finish in those races.
Short Track Grade- A-, Last season Carl Edwards scored the third most points on this track type behind Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch. Despite his series high 5 top tens I would stay away from him at Martinsville every time the series visits that venue. Last season at NASCAR’s oldest track he finished 18th and 9th. I don’t think anyone can look at his Yahoo! race chart for that race and convince themselves he had a 9th place car (Yahoo race chart).
I really like Carl Edwards at Bristol and Richmond. In the four races at these tracks last year he finished second twice, fifth and ninth.
Road Course Track Grade- A-, Edwards is a very underrated road course driver. Among drivers who are winless at this track type he ranks among the best.
I like him at both road courses but he’s especially strong at Watkins Glen. Last year he finished 12th. That snapped his impressive 5 race top ten streak at the Glen.
Infineon is the trickier of the two road courses and in 2011 he finished 3rd. He has two other top ten finishes to his name there. His record is a little spotty but he’s better than it indicates.
How to use Carl Edwards from a Fantasy NASCAR Perspective in 2012? There are seventeen races on intermediate tracks every year and you can use Carl Edwards at every one of them. If you need a default pick at any of these venues Carl Edwards is your man. He’s strong on all of the sub groups (cookie cutters, 2.0 mile, and concrete) of this track type.