March 26, 2008
CARL and COREY
Is anyone really surprised that Carl Edwards is running so well this
season, as of now the only Cup driver with multiple wins? There’s
almost an expectation out there that the blue-eyed backflipper will
be out front in his Roush car – and without major bent sheet metal
or frayed emotions.
Edwards has certainly devoted unusual energy and discipline to his
driving. He is a picture of physical fitness and he races anything
he possibly can. But at the base of his success has to be just plain
natural talent. How else would it have been possible for a unknown,
very green novice at Daytona in 2005 to lay it on the whole field at
Atlanta, just three races later, with a breathtaking last lap win
over Jimmie Johnson?
Just as Carl is naturally competent behind the wheel, he is
naturally outgoing in a social environment. He is accessible,
articulate, and an especial favorite of the ladies.
That affability served him well as he came through the ranks of
racing. Tales still circulate about how he would go anywhere and
everywhere in the short track world, unashamedly handing out his
“have helmet, will race” business card.
Carl’s open approach to getting rides was a new one, defying the
older, more closed-door conventions on how drivers and owners would
hook up. And, although it worked for him in the end, there is no
question that Carl’s enthusiasm got him in trouble a time or two
along the way.
A few years back Carl ran a dirt modified race at Moberly, Missouri.
Corey Dripps, a rock ’em, sock ’em winner on the USMTS tour, took
notice as this kid was passing out cards.
“I didn’t think a thing of it,” Corey reflects. “He could do
whatever the hell he wants. Until he came along and gave that pitch
to MY car owner, that is. No one’s gonna do that to me.”
Surprise, surprise. Somehow Carl ended up getting wrecked in the
feature. Corey continues, “I did what I had to do. I hear he came
around afterwards to talk to me about it, but I wasn’t at my hauler
so I couldn’t tell him why. I didn’t even think about it for a year
or so until we were watching a TV race during a rainout and one of
my crew guys said. ‘Hey, isn’t that kid doing the back flip the same
one you put out at 24 Raceway?’”
I asked Carl about the incident recently. “Yeah. I remember Corey
Dripps,” he said. “Tell him that next time I see him I’m gonna have
a bigger bumper.”
© 2008 Lew
Boyd, Coastal 181