NASCAR Charlotte Notebook: Carl Edwards Expects JGR To Close Gap On Martin Truex Jr.

(NASCAR Wire Service)

Reid Spencer ~ NASCAR Wire Service

Carl Edwards (Photo: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Carl Edwards (Photo: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)

CONCORD, N.C. – Carl Edwards and his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates have high expectations in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup – if only they can catch a certain “rabbit.”

The hare in question is Martin Truex Jr., who drives the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota, which maintains a technical alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing, and like JGR, gets its engines from Toyota Racing Development (TRD).

Truex won two of the three races in the Chase’s Round of 16 and, appropriately, has earned the designation as favorite for this year’s championship. Even though Truex finished 7.527 seconds ahead of JGR’s Kyle Busch last Sunday at Dover, Edwards says the JGR cars aren’t far behind.

And, ostensibly at least, the unfettered sharing of information between Gibbs drivers Edwards, Busch, Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin and the Furniture Row team has continued into the Chase.

“If we didn’t know what engines and chassis and setups those guys had, it’d be really easy to say they’ve got something – they’ve got something special that we don’t have – but knowing what they have and knowing what they’re able to do with it, that’s a motivator,” Edwards said on Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

“And I’ve been telling people this week I really believe you’re going to see the other four JGR cars – the four JGR cars – really step it up, because Martin is that… he’s that rabbit out there that we’re all chasing. We know it can be done, and I think, in the end, that’s a gift to have somebody in your camp or close to you that can do that.”


It doesn’t matter to Austin Dillon that Las Vegas oddsmakers have made him a 50-to-1 shot to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship, by far the longest odds among the 12 remaining drivers.

After finishing eighth last Sunday at Dover and earning the final transfer spot from the Chase’s Round of 16, Dillon believes his No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet has the speed to pull off a surprise in the Round of 12.

“Well, we have the least odds in Vegas right now – I just heard that,” Dillon said on Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. “I like this role, because it puts the pressure on the guys that I guess are projected to make it to the next round, whatever projections mean.

“Because in racing, I’ve learned real quick that it’s not like any other sport… You just never know what can happen in a race, and you never know what the outcomes… there is so much that goes into every little piece and part of these cars.

“I’m confident in the company I drive for with RCR and the people around me, myself also, that we can make strong finishes, and that is what I’m confident about. I love the underdog role, because that makes when we do knock people out, it’s going to be fulfilling.”

For the record, Kevin Harvick is the Vegas favorite to win the Chase at 7-to-2 odds (per Martin Truex Jr. is second at 4-to-1 and Jimmie Johnson third at 6-to-1.


Katelyn Sweet, girlfriend of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Larson, won Thursday’s 25-lap Better Half Dash at Charlotte Motor Speedway, which raised more than $70,000 for charity. Paige White, girlfriend of 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski, finished second, with Hayley Dillon, wife of NASCAR XFINITY Series driver Ty Dillon, running third despite spinning twice…

Charlotte-based Maaco, a collision and repair company, has signed on with Furniture Row Racing as an associate sponsor on Martin Truex Jr.’s No. 78 Toyota for Saturday night’s Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Truex led a NASCAR-record 588-of-600 miles in winning the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte in May. In Saturday night’s race, he goes for his third victory in four Cha

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