THE HOT KID: Carl
This Rookie Has A Future to Flip For
WITH FIVE LAPS to
go around Lowe's Motor Speedway's high-banked 1.5-mile oval, it looked as
though Jimmie Johnson had this race in the bag. He was in the lead, and Carl
Edwards, whose Ford was running in second place, was battling a loose-handling
car. At one point Edwards nearly went into the wall as his rear tires lost
grip; after his back end wiggled and he fought the car back under control, it
looked as if he would never catch up, because his tires appeared to be wearing
down. But Edwards, who in less than a full season on the Cup circuit has shown
he's a racer to the core, kept coming, and on the last turn of the last lap, he
took the high line and got a wicked run on JJ. Johnson thought he had the 48
car high enough on the track to block Edwards, but he didn't. As the two cars
roared toward the finish line, they bumped, side to side, and Edwards edged
ahead of JJ to take the checkered flag. It's safe to say that Edwards stole
this race, his first Nextel Cup victory. He not only beat Johnson by .002 of a
second, but he also outwitted him.
In the process
Edwards became the first driver ever to win both the Cup and the Busch races at
Atlanta on the same weekend. By outdueling Johnson, the 25-year-old Edwards
stamped himself as one of the most promising young drivers on the circuit. Late
in the 2004 season Edwards replaced a struggling Jeff Burton in the 99 car, and
he has revitalized that entire team. He had five top 10 finishes in the final
13 races of '04, and so far in '05 he has consistently run up front. He was
12th in the Daytona 500, fifth at Fontana, 14th at Las Vegas and now first in
successful young drivers in NASCAR today, Edwards, a native of Columbia, Mo.,
comes from a dirt-track background. He raced dirt modifieds as a teenager and
then moved up to the U.S. Auto Club Silver Crown Series. From there he landed a
ride with Roush Racing in the truck series and was tapped by owner Jack Roush
late last season to replace Burton.
Edwards's talent is starting to blossom, Roush has five drivers-- Edwards, Kurt
Busch, Greg Biffle, Mark Martin and Matt Kenseth--who are authentic title
contenders. Expect at least four of them, including Edwards, to qualify for the
-- LARS ANDERSON
REPRINTED FROM SI.COM, March 20, 2005
After edging out Jimmie Johnson for the first win of his Nextel Cup career,
Carl Edwards celebrated in style.
At Darlington, Kasey Kahne led the field at the start, but by the finish, Greg
Biffle (16) was alone at the front.
ANYONE that could
raise me and not want to kill me or kick me out of the house has got to be a
very patient person.
-- TONY STEWART after his mother, Pam Boas, along with six other NASCAR moms
served as honorary starters on the eve of Mother's Day.
5/7 DODGE CHARGER
DARLINGTON RACEWAY, DARLINGTON, S.C.
WINNER: Greg Biffle POLE SITTER: Kasey Kahne
CURRENT POINTS LEADER: Jimmie Johnson, 1,519 (+127 over Jeff Gordon)
WHAT HAPPENED: After Mark Martin spun and brought out a caution with five laps
to go, all but two of the lead-lap drivers pitted for fresh tires. Biffle (16)
surged from fourth to first in just two circuits to grab the victory.
THIS RACE IN 2006: May 13, Fox/FX
AMERICAN REVOLUTION 400
RICHMOND INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY, RICHMOND, VA.
WINNER: Kasey Kahne POLE SITTER: Kasey Kahne
CURRENT POINTS LEADER: Jimmie Johnson, 1,562 (+41 over Greg Biffle)
WHAT HAPPENED: Kahne's crew got him off pit road first when the leaders made
their final stops on Lap 332, and the 25-year-old driver was able to hold off
Tony Stewart on four subsequent restarts to earn his first Nextel Cup win.
THIS RACE IN 2006: May 6, Fox/FX