Edwards, Stewart, and the winless
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Does Sunday's win change anything for Carl Edwards? Our writers discuss that and
two other topics in this week's segment of The Writer's Block.
By The Racing Experts Staff
June 25, 2014
Our writing staff takes a look at three hot topic issues and weigh in their thoughts.
Q. With Carl Edwards winning Sunday, what does this mean for Roush-Fenway Racing and Edwards’ contract status?
I think the win Sunday at Sonoma does not impact the contract status of Carl Edwards. I still think he’s is heading to Joe Gibbs Racing in a fourth car in 2015. It may, however, give Roush-Fenway Raing and Ford some momentum to win more and as we’ve seen this year, confidence is everything for a driver and team.
I think it's a boost for the team, but if the signs show anything, Edwards already has his plans set in stone. It's nice to get a win, and sometimes it does change things, but in the case, I don't think so.
Honestly, it doesn’t mean much. More than likely, a decision has already been made, but due to Edwards’ contract stipulations, we won’t have an exact answer until September.
Carl Edwards is a competitor, and although he hasn’t been the dominating force he once was, he still knows how to get to victory lane. His strategy did well enough to hold off the likes of Jeff Gordon in the closing laps, and outrun Marcos Ambrose, a road racing guru, who was on the same strategy.
Personally, I don't think Edwards is going to leave Roush-Fenway Racing.
Roush knows that he is better-rounded than his teammates Greg Biffle and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. He’s the most formidable among the three, and to me, it's unlikely that he'll leave.
If anything, a departing Edwards would land with Joe Gibbs Racing.
For Roush Fenway Racing, this is something the organization really needed, but I don't think this win means that they are back to being able to contend with Hendrick, Stewart Haas, Gibbs, and Penske. The best thing about this win means that it's pretty much definite that Edwards will be in the Chase and Roush-Fenway Racing will have at least one car contending for the championship.
As for Edwards contract status, this doesn't mean anything. Look at Harvick last year, he got 3 wins with Richard Childress Racing and was in contention for the championship at the final race, but that didn't halt his move to Stewart-Haas Racing.
While Edwards’ win at Sonoma was not only another step in the right direction, I believe he’s made up his mind on his future with the team and may possibly already have a ride set up for next season.
Q. Tony Stewart suffered from a pit road speeding penalty Sunday twice in the last three weeks. What does he need to do next Saturday to turn the tide?
Tony Stewart’s 2014 season has been a real struggle so far for him. But numbers wise, Smoke’s season hasn’t been as bad as people may think.
Chris Trotman/Getty Images
Driver pit at Michigan Raceway, June 2014. Tony Stewart has suffered from two pit road speeding penalties in three races.
With a span of six straight top-20 finishes, Stewart’s seems to be getting better and better. It’s no secret that “Smoke” starts to become fire when the weather heats up. He’s got a great stretch of race tracks ahead of him.
At Kentucky he needs to continue what he’s been doing and just erase the mistakes, and the driver errors on pit road, and he could be a winner there as well. I guarantee a win for the 14 in the next 5 races.
It's hard to worry about pit road speed when you have the stress of so many other things on your mind coming into pit lane. Coming from a kid who used to play football, I guess the only thing that can spare him from doing it again is three things: Discipline, Discipline, Discipline.
Tony Stewart continues to beat himself.
Next week, the series rolls into Kentucky, where Stewart has not recorded a top-ten finish in his three starts.
To have any chance of rectifying this trend, Stewart will have get back to the basics and make sure simple penalties in the teams control do not get the better of them.
Look for the former champion to turn his season around starting next week.
Tony needs to stay focused. That seems to be a big issue for him. I also think that he may still be distracted by his injury, even though it appears to be over it.
He may be nervous at times or not want to put himself in a bad spot that could end up having him injuring his leg again.
Tony Stewart has been showing signs of life the past few weeks, running inside the top-ten, sometimes in the top-five. Simply put, Stewart is a three-time champion, who is battling back from an injury that potentially could have ended his career.
I have no doubt that he will get the finishes that he deserves before the end of the season. Fixing a pit road speeding problem is easy, it’s the mentality of not doing it for a third time in four weeks that Stewart needs to calm his nerves about.
Tony Stewart really needs to get this pit road speeding thing under control.
My advice for Stewart, is if you are near the front with 40-to-go, don't pit! He needs to stay focused, he is way better than this.
For Tony Stewart and the entire Stewart-Haas Racing organization, slow down on pit lane!
The SHR team has the power to perform, but other than wrecks, their main issue has been pit road speeding penalties. The only true way for Stewart and his SHR teammates to "turn the tide" is to slow down on pit road and do the rest of the work on the track.
Q. There are quite a few notable drivers who haven’t won yet in 2014. Who’s the next driver to score a win?
The next driver to score a win is definitely Tony Stewart. He’s a three-time series champion, and everyone knows that he can win anytime, anywhere.
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Sonoma featured a first time road course winner in Carl Edwards, but a first-time winner in 2014 hasn't won a race since Jimmie Johnson at Charlotte. Who's the next driver to punch their ticket to the post-season?
That puts him at an advantage over the other notables who haven’t won yet. But I think the most telling thing for Stewart is what’s under the hood: Hendrick horsepower. Clearly, the Toyotas are struggling for speed on the intermediates; any non-Penske car with a blue oval on the hood isn’t really a threat at those big tracks anymore.
I would anticipate, at least from what I've seen in the past at Kentucky, that Toyota drivers will have the ability to thrive this week. So guys like Matt Kenseth and Clint Bowyer could stand out this week to get their first wins of 2014.
Tony Stewart has yet to win, and winless Kenseth, who won the Kentucky race last season, could use a win to solidify his fourth overall place in the points.
With this being a newer track on the circuit, I feel the rookies are not as behind the curve.
Look for rookie Kyle Larson to win this week at Kentucky. He has had a quiet, yet consistent season with seven top-ten finishes.
Matt Kenseth. He's fourth in points and has been very consistent. I think he will repeat next week at Kentucky or win at Daytona the following.
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Kasey Kahne remains winless 16 races into 2014.
I'd say it's going to be Paul Menard. With two consecutive top-five’s, and one of them coming at a track where he historically hasn't had the best results, that being Sonoma, it shows his team has strength.
He and his team could pull one off and get in the Chase.
I believe that Matt Kenseth will be the next person to score a win as the highest driver in points without a win. But keep an eye out for Paul Menard, he's been competitive also the last couple weeks.
I believe Paul Menard is the next driver to score a win. Richard Childress Racing has really struggled this year and has no wins in the Cup Series, but Paul Menard is having the best year of his entire Cup career as he’s the only RCR driver to finish inside the top-five.