Iseason Recap:/I Carl Edwards

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About the only downside to Carl Edwards' incredible 2005 season is the black and blue marks on his arm.

"I can't stop pinching myself," Edwards laughed.

Few drivers in NASCAR history have made quite the splash the personable young Edwards did this past season. In his first full-time NEXTEL Cup Series season, Edwards piloted Roush Racing's Office Depot No. 99 to four wins, including back-to-back victories at Atlanta and Texas during the "Chase for the NEXTEL Cup" championship season.

Edwards added 13 Top 5's and two poles to his impressive Cup resume and came within 35 points of eventual champ Tony Stewart in the final NEXTEL Cup point standings.

With his infectious grin and trademark backflip post-victory celebration, Edwards has made his mark on the NASCAR world, both on and off the track.

"I get these phone calls and somebody says, 'We just did this endorsement deal and you're going to get this much money,'" Edwards said. "I just don't know what to say to that. So many good things like that have happened.

"It's like I'm winning the lottery every day. Five years ago, if I could have just gotten one of those calls I don't know what I would have said or done. It has just been difficult to process it all."

Not bad at all for a guy who less than five years ago was toiling away on the dirt tracks of the Midwest. Once he got the break he needed, namely a phone call from car owner Jack Roush and a ride in a Craftsman Truck, Edwards never looked back from the opportunity and has been successful earlier than most anyone, including Edwards, expected.

"Boy, you know, I really do believe that the main reasons are just it's the team that I'm with," he said. "I mean, I'm with the greatest team in motorsports. The cars have been developed over the last two decades to be the best they can be. The management style and the way the teams share information is awesome. I think all that stuff adds up to the most awesome team I can be a part of."

But despite having a solid team and strong equipment, there's still the matter of what the guy behind-the-wheel brings to the party and Edwards did not disappoint anyone.

"Then as for me personally, I just do my very best," he said. "I just try my hardest, try to learn from my teammates and learn from my mistakes. We've also had a little bit of good luck. I think there's a lot of factors. I think definitely the biggest thing is the team I'm with has really helped me to kind of speed up my learning curve."




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