CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Fastenal Ford Fusion – THOUGHTS ON THE NEW CROP OF YOUNG DRIVERS. “I think it’s always exciting to see new guys come in. A lot of times they come in with new ideas and a lot of energy and it’s fun to watch. I enjoy watching it and it’s really fun to do, too. I remember coming into this sport when Jack Roush hired me and it’s just so neat to come to these tracks for the first time and to figure everything out and realize the size of this sport. It’s a real enjoyable time.”

Carl Edwards, Roush Fenway Racing Ford
Carl Edwards, Roush Fenway Racing Ford

Photo by: Covy Moore

YOU HAVE TO HAVE A GOOD WORK ETHIC. WHERE DID YOU GET YOURS? “I was very fortunate. My family and friends from day one all of us worked together knowing that the only way any of this was gonna work out is if we worked as hard as we possibly could and got lucky. Just like a lot of guys I raced with coming up, I did everything I could to learn everything I could, make my cars as fast as I could, be at every race track I could be at and it’s just like anything in life, the harder you work the more opportunities you’re gonna have.”

WHAT WERE YOUR FIRST WHEELS? “The first thing I had on wheels was an old tricycle. We had it for a long time. I got it for Christmas and it had a little bell on it and a horn. It had all sorts of stuff my mom and dad bolted on it and then as the years went on all that stuff was gone and it was basically just a bare bones beat-up tricycle, and I went from pedaling it to just standing on the back and pushing it like a scooter everywhere.”

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT ROBBIE REISER BEING MORE INVOLVED WITH MANAGEMENT? WILL IT MAKE A DIFFERENCE? “Yeah, if we had five Robbie Reiser’s we could rule the world. The guy just works hard. He cares and I just hope that he can keep this pace up. I don’t know if you’ve talked to him lately, but he is really busting his tail and working hard. I’ve been really impressed. There are few guys anywhere, people, that are as passionate about things as Robbie Reiser is about NASCAR and about winning, so it’s good. I think the more Jack lets Robbie run things and do things the way he wants to, I think that’s all good.”

YOU DID THE FOOTBALL DEAL THIS WEEK. WHAT DID YOU LEARN? “I learned a little bit about being a defensive back. That was pretty interesting. I don’t know anything about football. I don’t know the names of any of the positions, but it’s just like anything, I realized as these guys talked to me – and we only worked for 15 minutes or something – but it’s so technical. There is so much to it. It’s just like racing. There are things you work on for years to become better.”

WHERE DID YOU GO? “We went to a training facility where they prepare guys for the combine and stuff. It’s a place called Velocity in Bristol and it was really neat. It was a first-class place.”

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE FENWAY PART OF ROUSH FENWAY RACING? “John Henry has really impressed me. He cares a lot about sport. He’s a competitor and he loves auto racing. He developed the whole iRacing, online racing stuff and those are things people don’t know about him. He cares about the sport from the bottom to the top. That whole group has been great to work with. They’ve helped us a lot with sponsorship stuff and the business side of things. They’ve been good.”

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU RAN INTO HIM? “I can’t remember the last time I saw Mr. Henry, but he comes out to the races. He’s a guy that with as much as he has going on, if I want to call up and talk to him or run something by him, he’s involved.”

DID YOU WATCH THE RED SOX IN THE PLAYOFFS LAST YEAR? “Yeah. I’m from Missouri and the Cardinals, so that was pretty big. I was rooting for the Red Sox. It’s hard to live in Missouri and say that, but it’s the truth. They’ve done so much for me and for my career that I’m a Red Sox fan. It’s not a contractual obligation. They have been so good to me and there are people that will shake their head when they hear that, but that’s the truth. I’m behind them.”

DO YOU HAVE ANY GEAR? “I have a jersey, an Edwards Red Sox jersey. I got to throw out the first pitch at a game one time. It was really fun. I got to drive a Red Sox race car. That’s as cool as it gets.”

HAVE THEY TALKED ABOUT A DUCK BOAT TOUR IF YOU WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP? “I’ve done a Duck Boat Tour, but that’s the closest thing I’ve done. I don’t know what would happen. Let’s say we win the championship, there would probably be something in Boston and it will be pretty cool.”

HE HASN’T SAID ANYTHING ABOUT YOU GUYS DRIVING A NEWSPAPER TRUCK HAS HE? “I don’t know anything about that. He’s amazing. He’s not scared to take risks and do things. That’s pretty cool.”

DO YOU HAVE ANY COLLECTOR CARS? “I don’t have any real collector stuff. I’ve got an old F-250 pick-up truck that I really like that I found on Ebay, but that’s ’79. I started watching one of those auctions, but I’ll save that for later in life. There is so much neat stuff out there. Even if I had a bunch of neat cars, I wouldn’t have time to drive them.”

DO YOU HAVE A DREAM CAR? “Oh yeah. I like the suicide door ’64 Lincoln convertible. That’s about as cool as it gets. I like the big old convertibles – the Lincolns and Cadillacs. I think those are really neat.”

A LOT OF GUYS STARTED RACING WITH THEIR DADS. WHAT WAS IT LIKE FOR YOU? “The number one reason is all of the equipment it takes to go racing is expensive. If my father didn’t race, we wouldn’t have had stuff sitting around like a trailer with wheels and tires and things like that. That stuff is really expensive, so that made it more economical to run a second car and race with my dad than it was to just start racing altogether. Plus the information is so complex to learn how to go racing. It’s a huge undertaking, so I think if my father hadn’t raced, it probably would have been overwhelming. I wouldn’t have had the opportunities.”

ANY MEMORIES THAT STAND OUT? “No, there’s not really one event racing with my dad that stands out. It’s just the whole thing. It was something that we spent a lot of time together with. We’d drive down the highway every Saturday. We’d got to Macomb, Illinois or on Friday nights we’d go to Godfrey and Sunday nights go to St. Charles and kind of run all over the St. Louis area racing and a lot of times it was just me and him. That was really some of the only time I spent alone with dad on the road like that and it was really cool.”

WHAT DID YOU LEARN ABOUT HIM THAT YOU WOULDN’T HAVE LEARNED OTHERWISE? “I learned a lot. I think about that all the time and some of the lessons he taught me on those trips and the things he explained to me. My dad knows a lot of stuff. He’s a real curious guy so that gave me a lot of time to ask me questions. Over time I learned his life philosophy and how he does things and I thought that was really good.”

WHAT WAS HIS LIFE PHILOSOPHY? “It’s pretty complicated. Little things like I remember one night it was in Macomb, Illinois and something happened on the race track and I said some derogatory thing about one of the other guys we were racing with under my breath. I said, ‘That guy doesn’t belong on the race track.’ I said something and he grabbed me and said, ‘You listen, he’s been doing this for 15 years and he’s never won a feature. He’s probably never gonna win a feature, but he’ll be here racing for as long as he can. Before you dismiss somebody like that, you remember that guy probably loves racing more than you do.’ He would always point out what I was doing wrong and set me straight and I’m really grateful for that. He taught me a lot of lessons.”

WOULD YOU HAVE YOUR CURIOSITY IF IT WASN’T FOR HIM? “I don’t know. My dad is one of those guys that he doesn’t just walk out and look up at the sky and say, ‘Wow, it’s a nice day.’ He walks up and says, ‘I wonder how far away the sun is. I wonder how big around it is.’ I remember from day one when we talked about racing he’s say, ‘Look, the reason your car does this in the corner is because this tire is bigger than this tire and you have this spring here.’ There was always a scientific method to everything we did, and that helped me a lot. It’s really easy in life or especially in racing to just say, ‘Well, that works. Let’s go with that,’ and not really understand it, but he always drove home to understand things. I don’t know if I come by that naturally, but he definitely helped me.”

DO YOU EVER THINK ABOUT GOING BACK AND FINISHING COLLEGE? “You have a very short window to make a career in auto racing, generally. You have to do all you can right now, so, to me, going to college – I went to college as much as I could until it was hindering my ability to chase my racing career. As soon as Mike Mittler hired me to drive in the Craftsman Truck Series I left. I know this is maybe not the best education advice, but you can always go back to college. You don’t always get the opportunity to pursue your dream and do what you love, so that’s the way I look at it. I think about it all the time. I was thinking about it the other day. If I went back to college every couple of years what I would go back and finish and want my major to be and study changes, so I don’t know what I would do. That might be something that might be fun later in life to take some courses.”

YOU WERE STUDYING ENGINEERING? “Yeah, I went to engineering school. I started at the University of Missouri in the engineering school and really made it about three semesters there as an engineering student. But I did it because I thought that’s what I thought a race car driver had to have was an engineering degree. Ryan Newman was on his way right then and everything was turning to engineering based, and I thought as long as I had an opportunity to go to school – I had a super deal – it didn’t cost very much to go to school. I thought as long as I had that opportunity I should take it and then I realized that engineering school requires a lot of work so I just went for a general studies degree after that.”

SPEAKING OF MIZZOU, WHAT KIND OF COURAGE DID IT TAKE FOR MICHAEL SAM TO DO WHAT HE DID? “I can only imagine. The most interesting part is it’s not as big of a story as you think it would be. At the end of the day, if that’s who he is, I think it takes a lot of courage and I commend him for that.”

YOU THINK AS MASCULINE AS HIS SPORT IS – “I mean, who is gonna say anything to him.”

DO YOU THINK THERE WILL EVER COME A TIME WHEN SOMEBODY WILL HAVE THE COURAGE TO DO THAT HERE? “I don’t know. At the end of the day, I don’t care what somebody does. It just doesn’t matter. To me, there are good people and bad people, and people that work hard and people that don’t and it doesn’t really matter. What they do in their private lives and the things they enjoy or don’t enjoy or people they like, it doesn’t really matter to me. I don’t think of it that way.”

IT’S WHAT THEY PRODUCE ON THE FIELD OR IN THE RACE CAR? “Yeah, or who they are as a person. I guess it’s a big deal what he did. I guess he’s the first guy in the NFL. He will be an NFL player. He’s brave. If I understand it correctly, at MU and everything, everybody already knew. It wasn’t a big deal to anybody there – none of his teammates. It was almost like common knowledge, so I don’t really think it’s a big deal to me. Everybody says he’s a nice guy.”

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