NASCAR Surprise: Carl Edwards Hasn't Won A Sprint Cup Series Points Race In A Year

Dale Earnhardt Jr. hasn't won in 131 races. Jeff Burton has gone 115 races without a victory. And it's been 83 races since Mark Martin last won.

But as hard as it is to believe, Carl Edwards is a member of the drought club, too. The man who led the Sprint Cup Series a year ago in top-five and top-10 finishes, and who lost the championship to Tony Stewart on a tiebreaker, hasn't visited Victory Lane in a points race for more than a full year.

As the series rolls into Las Vegas Motor Speedway for Sunday's running of the Kobalt Tools 400, Edwards finds himself immersed in a 35-race winless drought – to the surprise of many.

In a sport where consistency is key, winning can sometimes take a back seat to finishing regularly in the top 10 and the idea of making sure you score as many points as possible on a given weekend.

Nonetheless, winning races and championships is how a driver is ultimately measured – and in that degree Edwards hasn't fared well as of late.

Not that it bothers him.

"It doesn't feel like that to me," Edwards said when asked Friday what it feels like to not have won in a year. "I guess it's reality, but we go out every week and race as hard as we can, and there were many races last year that we very well could have won if things would have gone slightly different."

If someone can relate to Edwards' dry spell, it's his Roush Fenway Racing teammate Matt Kenseth. Not too long ago, the 2003 Sprint Cup champion suffered through a winless streak that saw him go 76 races between wins.

"Carl was extremely consistent last year," Kenseth said. "He was only able to win that one race, but he was in contention to certainly win a few more races and came up short for whatever reason.

"It's really, really hard to win these races. ... You have to enjoy them when you can win them because, like I said, it is difficult for anybody out there, no matter how good you are, to be able to put everything together just right on Sundays to be able win those races."

It's not as if Edwards didn't come close to winning multiple times in 2011. In fact, what's surprising is that he didn't win more often considering how frequently he put himself in position to do so. All told, on a variety of tracks from superspeedways to short ovals to intermediate tracks, last year's championship runner-up finished second on seven different occasions.

"We obviously ran very well (last year)," Edwards said. "I think we had the best average (finish) we've ever had. The way this sport works is, if you run that well, you'll win your fair share of races."

However, there is no better place to snap that losing streak than Las Vegas. It is, after all, a track where Edwards enters as the defending race winner and a place where his car owner Jack Roush has won more races than anyone else.

With this race being the first of 11 contested on 1.5-mile tracks, Sunday's results will go a long way toward showing who has what for the balance of the season, and who should be viewed as the title favorite.

"I think we're gonna kind of know where we stand on these mile-and-a-halves after this race weekend," Edwards said. "Now, you might not get the result that you deserve this weekend, and the points might not shake out and they might not represent the speed that everyone has, but you can bet if a guy has a good, strong run here, that can give you a lot of confidence going to the rest of these race tracks.

"Any week would be a good week to go ahead and win another one, so this week would be just fine."

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