Edwards ends winless streak in Phoenix - Notes by Lugnut - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

NASCAR NOTES: Edwards ends winless streak in Phoenix

Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Phoenix International Speedway has always been a special place for Carl Edwards. His victory in Sunday's Subway Fresh Fit 500 reinforced that fact.

Edwards' victory broke a 70-race winless streak for the popular Roush Fenway Racing driver, and doing it in Phoenix was an extra special benefit.

"This place is so special to me," said Edwards after the race. "My first pavement race was here in 2001, the Copper World Classic, so each time I come here I really enjoy this racetrack. It was a huge turning point in my career."

The past 12 months have been trying for Edwards after coming so close to winning the championship in 2011. Despite the trials of last season, Edwards fought off the demons and kept working forward.

"I'm not a psychologist or anything, but race car drivers have pretty fragile egos," said Edwards on dealing with his 2012 season. "You have to question yourself constantly. When you're winning, you have to do that, but it's hard when you're not."

Edwards' new crew chief, Jimmy Fennig, played a major role in getting him back to victory lane. His hard work in the off season seemed to be the key to this early success.

"Every win means a lot, but this is a pretty special one," said Fennig on his team's effort. "I can't say enough about the guys back at the shop. We kept working forward and hard work pays off, and here we are."

Edwards outlasted Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin in claiming his 20th Cup Series win and said it felt good to be back in the Chase conversation.

"I'm very, very happy to be back in the mix here," continued the race winner. "For me to sit home while everybody was at the Chase stuff in Vegas was a little bit of a shock to me. I did not like that at all."

Winning is always a great cure for any race driver's confidence, but to win so early in the season gives Edwards hope that his hard times are behind him.

"To be in victory lane this early in the season, to have a car like we had today is really, really great," said an elated Edwards from victory lane. "This win feels as good or better than any win I've ever had, so I'm very excited about it."

We might only be two races into the 2013 season, but judging from the 99 team's performance in Phoenix, this could be their return to championship form.

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