|Carl Edwards has been MIA this season|
Most police departments require a 24 hour waiting period before a missing person report can be filed. So what’s Jack Roush waiting for? We’re approaching 24 months since Edwards was last seen in victory lane.
There was a momentary Edwards sighting at Martinsville this past weekend. After qualifying 23rd, he actually moved into the top 10 before being spun out by Sam Hornish. He eventually ended up 18th.
Other than that, not only is Edwards missing from The Chase this year, he hasn’t even been in the picture. Literally. If you’ve been watching the television coverage prior to Martinsville the past couple of weeks, you’d never even know Edwards was in the race. All this from the driver many thought was the pre-season title favorite.
The 99’s decline this season has been dramatic. Last year Edwards had 19 top five finishes and 26 top 10s. This year he’s been in the top five only three times – never better than 5th – with just 13 top 10 finishes. His average starting position this year is 14.8. His average finishing position is even worse, 15.7. That’s his worse average finishing position since he started racing full-time on the Cup circuit in 2004. And it’s not like he’s been dogged by car troubles. He’s completed 98.4 percent of the laps run this year.
While Edwards has been struggling, his two Roush Racing teammates, Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth have both won this year and made The Chase.
It would be easy to right off 2012 as an abomination. But he’s been trending this way for several years. In fact, he only has three wins in the last four years.
So what’s the deal?
"Man this thing is so competitive," Edwards says. "I cannot express to you how quickly everyone leapfrogs in the garage. We didn't make the Chase, but as it stands right now if we would have made it, we're still not running well enough and we're getting caught up with troubles that we don't need. It's not like we've gone on a tear and won three races. This is kind of how of where we deserve to be right now."
With three races left in 2012, don't expect any changes yet this year. But watch out for 2013, with Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., moving into Kenseth's seat. It's one thing to be outrun by Kenseth -- it will be quite another thing to be outrun by a rookie.