With four races remaining in the 2011 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Roush Fenway Racing appears to be closing in on its third Sprint Cup Series title. RFR teammates Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth hold the top two positions in championship points, with Edwards leading his RFR counterpart by 14 markers.
Sunday afternoon’s “TUMS Fast Relief 500” at Martinsville could change all that in a heartbeat.
In 14 career Martinsville starts, Edwards has just one Top-5 finish; a third-place effort back in 2008. The tight confines of the historic Virginia oval have not been kind to the Aflac Ford driver in the past, relegating him to an average finish of 16.9. After finishing a dismal 18th there in June, the Missouri native will almost certainly be happy to put the final short-track race of the season in his rear view mirror, once and for all.
Third-place championship contender Brad Keselowski has been lukewarm in his limited Martinsville Sprint Cup starts, finishing 12th, 10th and 19th in his three career races there. The Michigan native has been on a major role of late, and if Edwards and Kenseth struggle this weekend, another solid run by Keselowski could push him to the championship lead.
There’s still a long way to go before NASCAR crowns its 2011 champion at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 20. But what happens Sunday in the tiny town of Martinsville, Virginia, may go a long way toward determining who hoists that championship trophy.