By admin | May 12, 2008
Edwards is a throwback to the “Old School”
By Richard Allen
A couple of weeks ago Carl Edwards did a promotion in which he drove his car around the Darlington Raceway alongside David Pearson, who was driving an old Mercury which he had used to win on the fabled old track.
Edwards was the perfect selection for that assignment.
More than any other driver on the Sprint Cup circuit today Edwards is a throwback to the old school. He races hard, he hates to lose, he shows his emotion and he drives and lives in the fast lane. That sounds more like the drivers of the ‘60s and ‘70s than the drivers of today.
Granted, Pearson, Petty, Allison or Baker never did a back flip off of the car to celebrate a victory, but they did drive to win every race they entered. So does Edwards.
“Man, I wanted to beat him bad. I wanted to beat him so bad,” Edwards said in reference to race winner Kyle Busch after getting out of his car Saturday night.
Unlike most drivers of today Edwards does not immediately go into the “it was a good points day for us” mode after a second place finish. He was disappointed that he did not win and he was not afraid to let anyone know it.
“I’m definitely disappointed to finish second and not win the thing,” Edwards said. That sounds like something a driver from “Back in the Day” would say.
In still another way the young, Missouri native is like the racers of the past. He does not depend solely on team engineers to make his car go fast. “This is my favorite track,” he said of Darlington. “This is a place where the driver can make a difference.”
Edwards is so opposed to losing that he often lets his emotions show, even with his teammates. Last year, after a race in Martinsville, he almost punched fellow Roush Fenway Racing driver Matt Kenseth after the two had had a couple of run ins in that race and the weeks leading up to that race.
And does he hold a grudge against those who beat him? “I don’t think I’m going to go see that Indiana Jones movie,” he declared, in reference to the fact that Busch’s car was painted in a special movie scheme at Darlington.
While you will probably not ever see Carl Edwards puffing on a cigarette as he drives around the track, you will see the same hate-to-lose spirit in him that David Pearson and so many of the other legends of the sport possessed.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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