Fennig Brings Magic To Edwards, No. 99
LAS VEGAS — It took exactly two races for Carl Edwards to win a race with new crew chief Jimmy Fennig.
Edwards’ triumph in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race ended a 70-race winless streak for Edwards, but put Fennig back in a place where he’s been right at home through the years, having won races with Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Bobby Allison and Mark Martin.
Fennig was paired with Edwards after Kenseth left Roush Fenway Racing following last season, and was charged with putting Edwards back in victory lane.
Edwards said it didn’t take long for Fennig to take charge of the No. 99 team and institute changes.
“Jimmy specifically told me before the season started that he wants me to make sure that I understand the changes they have planned for practice, that I make sure to be there and be available to the engineers after practice, and that I’m actually sitting there engaged with them so we don’t miss something,” Edwards explained. “I thought that was pretty cool for him to just lay it out there. He didn’t say, ‘How did you do it last year?’ He said, ‘This is exactly what I want. This is how I’m gonna do it,’ and I think that leadership and knowing what he wants is something that’s gonna pay off a lot.”
Despite a victory in their second race, Edwards views the new partnership as a work in progress.
“As we run some more of these races, I think, like anything, we’ll change things, but I was really, really pleased at Phoenix with how we worked together, how he managed the information exchange throughout the weekend, and how he managed the time,” Edwards said, “so I think it’s gonna be very good.”
A 19-time Sprint Cup winner, Edwards said the victory at Phoenix ended a lot of frustration.
“I think to be successful in anything you have to constantly look at what you’re doing, so that’s always the same. For instance this last weekend, there are things that I did during the race that I could have done better and I always go back whether we win or lose and critique my performance,” Edweards said. “But, yes, specifically during the 2012 season it was very frustrating and I told you guys often that I was a lot happier when I was winning than when we were not winning or running well, so it is trying when you’re not doing well, when you’re not getting the results you want.
“It is tough to just keep doing what you know is right, keep working hard and keep moving forward. As we stood in victory lane there the other day, the first person I said thank you to was Jack Roush because he’s the man who has seen the ups-and-downs of business life. And throughout the entire 2012 season he never once wavered. He said, ‘I believe in you. You just keep doing what you’re doing. We’ll build the right team around you. We’ll make this work,’ and hopefully we’re there now.”