Carl Edwards said Saturday he needed "seven perfect races" to make the Chase. But Sunday's race result at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was anything but perfect, and now the strategy has changed.
Edwards, in his first race with new crew chief Chad Norris, had a problem with the electronic fuel injection unit early tin the Brickyard race and required two lengthy pit stops to get his motor running again.
Before Edwards even had a chance to race much, he was already four laps down. He finished 29th and fell to 12th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings – a whopping 61 points out of the Chase.
With no race wins, Edwards now must win at least one race – perhaps two – for the preseason favorite to qualify for a Chase wild card spot. Trying to make the Chase via the top 10 in points is no longer realistic.
"The silver lining is this kind of makes it official that we just go race for wins now for the next six races," he said. "I don't think there is much of a chance we are going to march back up there in the points."
Edwards said the situation doesn't make things easier, it just makes them simpler. Knowing he doesn't have to worry about points racing means his team can just make decisions geared toward going for wins.
"For instance, if the same thing were to happen next week at Pocono, it is an easy decision: I would stay out and run it, no matter how sick the engine is, until we get a caution and then go work on it," he said. "We just have to do what we can. We have to plan to win these races."
Edwards tried his best to remain positive despite yet another disappointing day. Unfortunately for the Roush Fenway Racing driver, it's a feeling that's becoming all too familiar after dealing with his crushing Chase loss last year.
"I try to keep things in perspective," he said. "At the end of the day, we are just racing cars and it isn't life or death. I am ultra competitive, but I have learned to be the best I can on the race track I can't let something like this affect me past today.
"I have to go out there and make sure it doesn't affect the guys next week or me and we have to give the same effort every week. If there is a win there or a good run we will get it, but we can't beat ourselves."