By Pete Pistone
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - There doesn't appear to be any lingering atmosphere over Carl Edwards after last year's championship disappointment.
Edwards kicked off his season in the best possible way by winning the Daytona 500 pole on Sunday.
The effort to claim his first pole in "The Great American Race" should immediately erase any doubts about Edwards being able tp pick up where he left off in 2011.
“This is very special," Edwards said giving credit to the Roush Fenway Racing organization. "It’s not a driving accomplishment, this is a team accomplishment, this pole. Any one of the drivers that would have gone out at the time I went out and would have been driving that 99 car, the Fastenal Fusion, the would have run the same lap time that I did, so this pole and these qualifying sessions at these restrictor plate tracks shows you what the guys are doing at the shop. It shows you the engine capabilities and the engineering and the decisions by guys like (interim crew chief) Chip (Bolin) and (crew chief) Bob (Osborne), so this is about the team. Today, there’s a lot of pride in this for everyone."
While Edwards continues to maintain not losing any sleep over the way his 2011 season ended with teh tiebreaker loss to Tony Stewart for the championship, he does admit the Daytona pole is the perfect way to begin the new campaign.
"It feels really nice," said Edwards. "This is our second pole in a row, so it feels nice to pick up right where we left off."
But Edwards is not putting any more thought into points or positions or coming up short in his bid for last year's title.
In his mind it's a fresh start and one that's begun on a very imprtant positive note.
"I’ve been telling everybody – it seems like every media question and all anybody says is, ‘How great would it have been to have one more point and how did you deal with that this off-season?’ I think this is nice to come here and show everyone that, hey, it isn’t just talk," he said. "
"Everybody at Roush Fenway went back and worked hard and kept their heads down and dug, just like Chip said, they’re the best racecars we’ve had in a long time, so I thank Jack Roush for that and I thank Chip and Bob and Robbie Reiser and Doug Yates and everybody who builds these racecars for not letting the disappointment of not winning that championship slow us down, but, instead, giving us real motivation.”
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