Coming off a lackluster performance in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, Carl Edwards was all smiles after Thursday’s Coca-Cola 600 qualifying effort at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Edwards posted the third-fastest lap of Round 3 and will start behind his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Matt Kenseth and second-place qualifier Joey Logano.
After a slow start to his tenure behind the wheel of the No. 19 JGR Toyota, Edwards has a boost of confidence heading into Sunday’s 600-mile event after a strong qualifying effort and the overall performance of the organization as of late.
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"I’m feeling good about it," Edwards told FOXSports.com after his qualifying run Thursday night. "It makes the rest of the weekend easy. We can focus on the balance of the car. We can relax. There’s no pressure. We can just take it easy. That’s what we need right now. We need good fast runs and we need to follow through and perform the way we did in qualifying.
"We just got to get this monkey off our back," he said. "A little bit of luck would be great."
Edwards said he "learned a lot" in last Saturday’s All-Star Race in which he finished 17th and teammate Denny Hamlin scored the victory.
"Denny helped me a lot," Edwards said. "His performance and that 11 team, that was big for all of us."
With confidence on his side, a fast car under him and a day to fine-tune the adjustments, Edwards and his Darian Grubb-led team might just find themselves in contention for their first victory of the 2015 season come Sunday night.