Carl Edwards, who battled Kevin Harvick last weekend in one of the closest finishes in NASCAR, is excited to be at Auto Club Speedway this weekend. And it has nothing to do with trying to forget his runner-up finish to Harvick by one-hundredth of a second.
Edwards is thrilled to be at this 2-mile speedway in Fontana, California, because of the track’s worn surface, the low downforce package and the potential it creates for Sunday’s race.
“I get a sense that everybody is really amped up about it,’’ he said Friday of this weekend’s Auto Club 400. “I think the reason is you can really drive here. Watch the in-car cameras. Guys have their heads laid against the left-side head rest, they’re focused, and they’re correcting the car the whole way around the corner.
“You get to work here. You get to actually use the skills you have as a race-car driver.’’
That Edwards is pleased with the racing is not surprising since he’s been an advocate to reduce the downforce on the car for quite some time and would like NASCAR to remove more downforce.
“I think you’re seeing the results on the race track,’’ Edwards said. “It is more fun to drive this package. The driver has more of an influence. The tires fall off a little more, there’s more passing.
“I watched guys last week really driving the race cars. Dale (Earnhardt) Jr. was just loose steering. It looked like he was running on dirt the whole time. That’s fun. Me personally, I like that type of racing.’’
Edwards spoke excitedly about this weekend after struggling in practice. He ranked 25th among 39 cars on the speed chart after the lone Sprint Cup practice before Friday night’s qualifying session. No Joe Gibbs Racing driver was in the top 10 in practice.