Things are much different now, as the two roll steadfast towards the paperclip half-mile 1-2 in the points, with just four races remaining on the schedule. Edwards holds a 14 point lead over Kenseth, heading into a track which both drivers are win-less and have average finishes worse than 15th.
Edwards fares slightly worse than his teammate, averaging a finish of 16.9, compared to Kenseth’s 15.8. Despite the lack of solid finishes for the duo, both are able to lean on Kenseth’s strong run in June, where he finished sixth.
“We’re leaning on Matt Kenseth’s success here from the last race and how well he ran,” said Edwards during Friday’s media availability. “Matt’s good run in the spring is really what gives us the confidence we have here, and, hopefully, we can go run well and keep this points lead or extend it moving forward toward some tracks that we’re really confident about.”
The ability for the two to work together both at and away from the track was often resembled mediocrity, but finally came to fruition as they began to understand each other on a more personal level.
“I think that our relationship has obviously changed a lot through the years,” said Kenseth. “I think we have a much better understanding of each other’s personality and how we look at things.”
Edwards and Kenseth have grown to respect each other both on and off the track, allowing for the two championship contenders to look back in retrospect and laugh off their incident in 2007.
“First of all, I’m glad he just cocked it and didn’t fire it because that would have hurt,” said Kenseth with a smile. “I saw the still photos of that the other day and I might still be laying out there somewhere.”
Putting the competitive aspect aside, Edwards believes that himself and Kenseth working together will benefit both greatly.
“As much as we share and as good a relationship we have, we are competitors and we want to beat that 17 team just as bad as anyone else, but we’re not to the point in the season yet where we can really divide and go race one another. We still have to help one another and we can still gain more by helping one another now and trying to succeed based on that help.”
Yes, there is still a lot of racing to be done, but if these two from the Roush camp work together down the stretch, it is their championship to lose.