EDWARDS MAKES FIRST VISIT TO PIKES PEAK ON DOUBLE DUTY Three-time NASCAR Busch Series winner Carl Edwards has never been to the Pikes Peak International Raceway in a stock car, and will race a NASCAR Sanctioned-event there for the...
EDWARDS MAKES FIRST VISIT TO PIKES PEAK ON DOUBLE DUTY
Three-time NASCAR Busch Series winner Carl Edwards has never been to the Pikes Peak International Raceway in a stock car, and will race a NASCAR Sanctioned-event there for the very first time in this weekend's ITT Industries/Goulds Pumps Salute to the Troops 250. His only previous experience at PPIR came when he was driving a sprint car in the USAC ranks.
"I've never been to Pikes Peak in a Cup car before, but Roush does really good at there," Edwards said. "As a matter of fact, Biffle won there last year in the Charter Communications Ford and we're bringing that same car there this year. Hopefully we'll be able to take it to victory lane, too."
Fortunately, the No. 60 Charter Ford team got a chance to test there in late June, and feel like they have a handle on the racetrack.
"We were lucky enough to get to test the Charter Communications Ford at Pikes Peak and we actually ran really good," said Brad Parrott, Crew Chief of the No. 60 Ford Taurus. "Carl adapted real well to the racetrack and we are really looking forward to going back there for all the fans."
Edwards, who runs full time in both the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and the NASCAR Busch Series, will be doing his usual double duty but this weekend the schedule overlap and the difference in location will result in the need to call on some outside help.
That outside help is Hank Parker, Jr. Parker will practice and qualify the car for Edwards on Friday, who will have to be in Pocono, Penn. tending to his No. 99 Office Depot Cup car. Parker has been on hand to help the No.60 Charter team already this season, when rain at Nashville postponed the Saturday race until Sunday, forcing Edwards to hop on a plane for the first NEXTEL Cup race in Pocono. Parker filled his seat, and brought the Charter Communications Ford home with a solid 20th-place finish while Edwards drove to his second-career NEXTEL Cup win in Pennsylvania.
Parker and the No. 60 Charter Ford team should be in good shape to practice and qualify well at the Pikes Peak International Raceway, since Parker has fared well there in the past. Parker finished fourth there in 2000, and got his second career NASCAR Busch Series win there in 2002.Throughout his Busch Series career, Parker has accumulated 11 top-five finishes, 31 top-10 finishes, and one career Busch Pole Award.
Edwards feels good about having Parker in the car when he can't be there.
"Hank has run well at all the tracks he'll be running for us. That's just the performance side of Hank Parker," Edwards said. "He's a nice guy, an easy guy to deal with. We're the same size. I feel like we have the same outlook on racing. He's just a fun guy to be around and I think he's going to get along great with my guys."
Crew Chief Brad Parrot is also excited about having Parker in the car this weekend.
"Hank's done a great job at Pikes Peak in the past and I'm really looking forward to getting to work with him again in the Charter Communications Ford," Parrott said. "He's got a winning record there, so hopefully, we can come out of there with another win, like we did in 2004."
The No. 60 team hopes that their 2005 race at Pikes Peak will be an exact repeat of 2004. In fact, it almost already is.
Last year, Greg Biffle was also doing double duty, running the Cup race at Pocono and the Busch race at Pikes Peak. Just like Edwards, Biffle was unable to make it for Busch practice or qualifying because of obligations with his NEXTEL Cup car. Mike McLaughlin stepped in, practiced and qualified the car for Biffle, just as Hank Parker, Jr. will do this year for Edwards. Biffle had to start in the back of the pack as a result, but that didn't keep him from going for the win. Biffle used pit strategy and a fast car to take his Charter Communications Ford from dead-last to victory lane.
Edwards will also have to start from the back of the pack this weekend. He hopes to do the same thing Biffle did one year ago, in a race-day situation that is almost exactly the same: The same car, the same sponsor, the same crew chief, the same double duty, the same absence in qualifying, the same rear-of-the-field starting spot and hopefully, the same first-place finish at the end of the day.
We'll just have to wait and see if things do turn out like they did last year for the Roush Racing Charter team. It will all be decided in this year's ITT Industries/Goulds Pumps Salute to the Troops 250 presented by Dodge at the Pikes Peak International Raceway.