You’re residing in the zip code of auto racing’s pinnacle (and of the plus-four digit variety to be more specific), among the leading sensations with the nation’s top stock car racing circuit, NASCAR’s Nextel Cup Series.
mechanical woes forced you out of Saturday afternoon’s O’Reilly 300 NASCAR
Busch Series event in
With Sunday’s NASCAR Nextel Cup Samsung/Radio Shack 500 looming at the picturesque Texas Motor Speedway, featuring a total purse of more than seven million dollars, how would you spend your few idle Saturday night hours?
Well, if you’re Carl Edwards, you’re going racing. It’s as simple as that.
the driver of the No. 99 Office Depot NASCAR Nextel Cup machine with four Cup
wins in 2005, hooked up with local Sprint Car owner Mike Sanders and returned
to his roots by taking part in Saturday night’s season-opening event for the
American Bank of Oklahoma American Sprint Car Series Sooner Region at nearby
Cowtown Speedway in
With Sunday’s NASCAR Nextel Cup Race offering up somewhere in the neighborhood of $200,000 or so to win, what would possess a man like Carl Edwards to strap himself into a wild, winged Sprint Car for a feature event worth $1,500 to win?
A simple desire to race, and have some fun while doing what he loves doing, pure and simple.
And that fact was appreciated by his Cowtown competitors and fans alike.
After initial disbelief by some rival drivers such as, “Carl Edwards? No way. He’s not really here is he?”, the overall sentiment was best voiced by two-time ASCS Sooner Region champion Kevin Ramey who commented that, “I think it’s pretty cool that he’s here, he remembers where he came from and that’s impressive.”
But Edwards’ previous open-wheel outings have been primarily confined to the wide, sweeping ovals of the USAC Silver Crown ranks. A far cry from the cozy confines of Cowtown Speedway’s high-banked quarter-mile clay oval.
NASCAR-ese, comparing the big tracks of the USAC Silver Crown series to Cowtown
Speedway is much like the comparison between Daytona and
Even eventual Saturday night ASCS Sooner Region Cowtown Speedway feature winner Sam Hafertepe, Jr., a young buck of just 20 years of age that is well accustomed to the Sprint Car wars, commented early in the night that, “I better grab an extra bottle of water or two now, because this place is generally quite a workout.”
But Edwards is a racer, through and through. And if anybody at Cowtown Speedway had any doubts about that fact before Saturday night’s card, they don’t have those doubts any more.
Edwards arrived at the track in time for some tips from car owner Mike Sanders and took it easy for his first couple of practice laps before turning up the wick and posting some solid circuits.
Adjustments to his car before the heat race proved detrimental however, with Edwards commenting to onlookers that, “We shouldn’t have made those changes, it didn’t feel comfortable at all,” even after climbing from eighth to fifth.
found himself gridded outside the front row of the “B” Main, with only the top
four finishers advancing to the main event.
A breathtaking thread-the-needle move through a pair of lapped cars moments later set Edwards free, and put the packed house on its feet as he charged to the checkered flag unabated and locked himself into the 17th starting position for the “A” Feature event.
to his newfound environment, the
Edwards picked off a pair of spots in the final six rounds to garner a tenth place finish amongst a stout bunch of ASCS Sooner Region rivals.
But more important than a tenth place finish in what could have been simply little more than a night of fun, Edwards earned an immeasurable amount of respect and admiration from the fans on hand for simply taking the time to be there and ultimately becoming very competitive in a mount upon which he’d never laid eyes upon before.