Guest Author - Debbie Lester
Carl Edwards is considered a seasoned Nextel Cup driver these days, but it wasn’t so long ago he was driving four cylinder mini-sprints in Missouri.
Affectionately known as “Cousin Carl”, Edwards has been surrounded by racing since childhood. He followed his father, across the mid-west as he secured 200 feature wins on several different types of tracks, driving modifieds and midgets. Even though he had been around racing for years his life took a different path, which led him to college and even working as asubstitute teacher in the St. Louis, area. But racing was in his blood and in 1993 he burst into the racing world.
Carl won the Capital Speedway (MO) Rookie of the Year in 1998, and he won two NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Championships, in 1999 and 2000. He also appeared in the USAC Silver Crown Series in 2002, where he caught the eye of Roush Racing. They signed him shortly before the beginning of 2003 series.
Like most up and coming drivers Edwards started out in the Craftsman Truck series in 2003. He won the Rookie of the Year honors, with three wins and came in eighth in the point standings. Midway through the 2004 season Edwards moved from Truck to Cup racing with Roush. His 13 starts in 2004 ruined Carl’s chances to become Rookie of the Year in cup, his best finish that year was 3rd.
2005 was a whirlwind year for Carl Edwards. He took the NASCAR scene by storm in his first full season of competition. He won four times and had a legitimate chance of winning the series championship. Carl wanted to do something different than doing a burn out when he won a race. Being a very conditioned athlete he did something unexpected, he turned a back flip and the crowd went wild.
His winning personality and huge smile helped to endear him to fans and other competitors as well. Carl has come a long way from his days of racing mini-sprints and modified’s and the world of NASCAR has accepted him with open arms. His subsequent years in racing have had their ups and downs including winning the 2007 Busch series championship. Carl Edwards is definitely here to stay. It will be interesting to see what his career will hold.
Here are a few highlights from Carl’s career:
2003 - First Truck win (Kentucky)
2003 - Truck series Rookie of the Year
2005 - First Busch Win (Atlanta)
2005 - First Cup Win (Atlanta)
2007 – Busch Series Championship