Carl Edwards may be the most talented race car driver in NASCAR to not have yet won a Sprint Cup championship. Some would say he just has bad timing, competing in an era where one driver, Jimmie Johnson, has been so dominant. Others, however, point to the organization he drives for, Roush Fenway Racing, as the reason for his failures.
Carl Edwards is a winner. No one can deny that. He has 21 wins in NASCAR Sprint Cup. He has even won a Nationwide Championship, that coming in 2007. However, as we close out the 2013 season yet another year will go by where he did not win the biggest prize of all, a Sprint Cup championship.
He has been close. Twice finishing second, once in 2008, and again in 2011. Somehow, yet, 2011 seems a long time away. Especially, considering his performance in 2012 where he missed the Chase, and finished 15th overall.
There are many reasons why a driver as talented as Edwards has been denied a Sprint Cup championship. The biggest may be Jimmie Johnson. The Hendrick Motorsports driver has won five of the last seven championships, and is in contention for another in 2013. Edwards’ career may just simply coincide with a time the sport is seeing what may end up being the greatest driver in it’s history once the Jimmie Johnson era concludes.
Another reason for Edwards inability to win a championship may be his car manufacturer, Ford. The last time a Ford won the Sprint Cup championship was in 2004 with Kurt Busch driving for Roush Racing. In fact, the last Manufacturer’s championship won by Ford was in 2002. Since then, Chevrolet has dominated Sprint Cup winning every year including 2013.
However, as the 2013 season comes to a close the performance of Matt Kenseth has exposed the possibility that the blame lies with the Roush Fenway Racing organization. Kenseth, in his first full season away from Roush Fenway is not only having one of his best seasons with seven wins, but he is battling with Jimmie Johnson for the championship.
During his time with Roush Fenway, Kenseth, won one Sprint Cup championship in 2003, but also had point finishes of 14th, 11th, 7th, 5th, and 4th, over his last five seasons there. In those same five seasons he managed a total of eight wins, one short of his first season total driving for Joe Gibbs Racing.
Greg Biffle, who won the Nationwide championship in 2002, is also considered one of the top drivers in the sport. Yet, he has only been to victory lane six times in the five years prior to 2013. The closest he has been to the championship during that time is a fifth place finish last season, while missing the Chase entirely the previous season.
While it is certainly hard to blame Edwards failure to win a Sprint Cup championship on Roush Fenway Racing entirely, Kenseth’s season is sure giving credence to that theory.
One thing that is certain is no matter what team, or manufacturer, you drive for, you still have to beat Jimmie Johnson.