HOMESTEAD, Fla. — After winning the last two races of the season, Carl Edwards thinks he'll be sitting in Jimmie Johnson's spot a year from now.
Edwards took a quick break from celebrating his victory in Sunday's Sprint Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway to salute Johnson and his team for winning their fifth straight series championship.
"I was telling them in Victory Lane, it's going to take us six years to beat that," Edwards said. "Just unreal what those guys have been able to do."
Just don't ask Edwards if an unprecedented title run puts Johnson in the conversation about the best drivers in NASCAR history.
"I feel like I'm better than him," Edwards said. "Everybody feels like that. That's why we race, guys. ... If you've got a driver out there right now that says, 'Oh, no, Jimmie is a lot better than me,' you don't want that guy on your team."
Edwards also won at Phoenix a week ago, giving him a strong sense of optimism heading into the offseason.
"I feel we have a lot of momentum and things are getting better," Edwards said. "We have a new engine that we are working on that just keeps getting better. That is the best performance down a straightaway than I have had in a long time today. We just got a lot of good things going. I can't tell you guys how much this means to finish a season like this, this is just spectacular for us."
After going out so strongly, Edwards might have been the only person in the garage who wished the season wasn't ending.
"Heck yeah, I wish the season was just starting," Edwards said. "That would be nice to start the season with these two wins but we'll go for three in a row at Daytona."
Still, it remains to be seen whether Edwards — or anyone else — can unseat Johnson and Hendrick Motorsports' No. 48 team.
"We have been better at times," Edwards said. "Other people have been better at times. I look at what we have. When I look at the two cars sitting next to one another and I understand that those cars are made of shocks and springs and the chassis and the body and the engine, and I look at all of those parameters and where we are headed with ours, I feel like we are making really good progress."
Team owner Jack Roush knows it won't be easy.
"You have to make fewer mistakes than they do and be better at spending your money," Roush said. "There's enough money to do what you need to do here, but the main thing is spending money on the things that you have got enough time to effect a good result and a good solution to the problems and challenges you've got. That's what we have to do."