MIR Top of the List for NASCAR's Carl Edwards

Thursday, May 15, 2014

By: Jeff Gluck, USA TODAY Sports 10:56 a.m. EDT May 14, 2014

Our series of NASCAR driver interviews continues this week with Carl Edwards, the 2011 Sprint All-Star Race winner. Edwards is currently fifth in the point standings for Roush Fenway Racing.

Q: When you're on a long green-flag run and you're not racing around anyone, what do you think about?

A: It depends on the point in the race, but that's some of the neatest time in a race car because for me, I just get to work on what I'm doing and focus on what I'm doing, lap after lap. Sometimes if it's a long enough one, I'll come up with games or little small goals – like I'm going to pick up a couple-hundreths of a second or I'm going to close on this guy or hit my marks at this point in the corner.

That's where the real nerd pays off in every race car driver, because it's not really that exciting. You just get to focus on the little things you're doing and hone your craft.

Q: Fans often come up to you and bring up a moment from your career or a race they remember seeing you run. Which one comes up the most?

A: It's not necessarily one moment, but what's interesting to me is when fans come up, it's like a living scrapbook because they bring up things I'd forgotten about. Or they bring up things they saw a certain way that I didn't realize people saw that way.

Whether it's a dirt track race in central Missouri or my first win (in 2005 at Atlanta Motor Speedway) – people tell me all the time they were there for that one. (Team owner) Jack (Roush) had just put me in the car. Or a Truck win – we had a Truck win at Kentucky (in 2003), and it was great.

Seems like once a month, a fan comes up and reminds me about something I'd forgotten that was really neat or fun. Sometimes they come up and want to talk about a big crash or something that didn't go well, and that's great. (Laughs) The other day, my buddy said he was watching a replay of a race I didn't win. He was like, "But man, it sure was exciting!" I'm like, "Man, why'd you have to bring that up?" But it is neat to talk to people about things that have happened.

Q: Let's say someone paid you $5 million to design a new racetrack with an unlimited budget. What kind of track would you build?

A: The track I've always wanted to race at is Rockingham. That one looks awesome. The races there were just spectacular. And another track we don't race at now that was just perfect to drive on is Memphis. So I'd say those two tracks.

But I don't necessarily think it's the shape of the tracks. Memphis is the only one I can really speak about, but it's the way the pavement was so worn out. You could boil the tires off of it in five laps or really baby it and run for 50 laps. To me, if I could wave a wand and do something to all the tracks on the circuit, I'd age all of the pavement about 20 years. And then it'd be great.

Q: You guys get to have a lot of cool off-track experiences because you're involved in NASCAR. What's one of the coolest ones you'd had?

A: Well, there are a lot of cool ones on the track that people don't realize. For instance: They let me race at Indianapolis. Kenny Schrader let me hang around his shop for a couple summers when I was really young. I remember going there for a test session and it took a lot of talking just to get them to let me walk out on the track in the morning – just to stand on the front straightaway. And now they let me drive a race car on that racetrack. So to me, it's things like that – even though they don't seem like they'd be a big deal.

And then there's all the stuff outside of racing. I got to ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange after our first win with Scotts Company. I mean, here I am, standing up there, and I didn't even know how the stock market worked. I didn't own any stock. And I'm ringing the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange!

I got to do the weather on the Weather Channel. They let me deliver the forecast. I mean, I got to do the weather on the Weather Channel!

I've been in country music videos. I got to fly with the (Air Force) Thunderbirds; I got to fly an F-16 out over the desert in Nevada.

We landed on the USS Enterprise one time. We got to travel out there and visit the guys out on the aircraft carrier. I used to build little models of aircraft carriers. So to get to live all these things and do them, it's pretty crazy.



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