Notebook: Edwards' Flights And Drivers Too Fast
By: Dustin Long - @dustinlong on April 22, 2014 | 6:16 A.M. EST
Carl Edwards admits he wonders after a win if he should do his backflip but then sees the reaction of the crowd and does it. (Photo: Getty Images)
Carl Edwards admits that there have been times that he's wondered about doing a backflip after a win, but he’s continued the tradition throughout his career.
He did it at Bristol earlier this season and at Richmond International Raceway - where the NASCAR Sprint Cup series heads this weekend - last September.
“I don’t practice it very often, so it is always when we win a race I get about 100 yards past the finish line and start thinking about if I should do it,’’ Edwards said. “When I get out of the car and see how pumped the crowd is and my guys, it makes it easy to do a backflip.’’
Edwards admits that winning is different now from the first of his 22 career Cup wins, which took place in 2005 at Atlanta.
“It used to be surreal, and I couldn’t believe I had won the race,’’ Edwards said. “I still have to ask (spotter) Jason Hedlesky if this is really over because you don’t want to think you won and have it not be the last lap. There is always a little bit of that, and, as time has gone on, I feel a little bit differently about the wins. It feels more satisfying for my guys and for all my sponsors and for everybody that puts all the work in.’’
The hardest part for Edwards when he wins comes after he arrives in Victory Lane and can’t exit the car immediately.
“You want to jump out and celebrate with the crew and there is all this buildup and finally the TV folks say it is OK to get out of the car,’’ he said. “It is so cool when you turn and look and see all your guys and how excited they are.’’
The chances of Edwards having a similar experience are better at Richmond than some of the bigger tracks.
Edwards’ last three Cup wins have come at tracks 1 mile or less in length - Phoenix and Richmond in 2013 and Bristol this season. His last Cup win on a track larger than 1 mile was in 2011 at Las Vegas - 113 races ago.
Twenty-two Cup drivers have been penalized for speeding on pit road in the season’s first eight races. In some cases, they’re exceeding the speed limit after exiting their stall to stay on the lead lap or hurrying to return to the pits on the next lap.
Travis Kvapil has been penalized a series-high four times for speeding on pit road this season - he was caught speeding after exiting his pit stall each time. David Ragan has been penalized three times for speeding on pit road. Kurt Busch, David Gilliland, Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson, Joe Nemechek and Reed Sorenson have each been penalized twice for the infraction.
Stanley, through the Ace Hardware Foundation, will donate $1 million to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals if Marcos Ambrose wins Saturday night’s race at Richmond. Stanley will donate $500,000 if Ambrose finishes second and $250,000 if Ambrose finishes third.
Ambrose’s best finish at Richmond is fifth in Sept. 2010.
In Ambrose’s favor is that he’s scored more points than any other driver this season in the first two short-track races (Bristol and Martinsville). Ambrose has scored 79 points after a pair of fifth-place finishes. Edwards is next with 78 points, followed by Ambrose’s Richard Petty Motorsports teammate Aric Almirola with 77 points.
Jimmie Johnson enters the ninth race of the season without a win. That is his fourth-longest streak without a win to open a season.
His longest season-opening stretch without a win came in 2003 when he went 11 races before winning. Johnson went 10 races before he won in 2012 and nine races before he won in 2002, his rookie season.
Clint Bowyer married his longtime girlfriend Lorra this past weekend in the Bahamas. ... Through the season’s first eight races, Jeff Gordon has the best average running position at 8.8. Denny Hamlin is next at 9.9, followed by Matt Kenseth at 10.0. ... Kyle Busch has the best average finish at Richmond among active Cup drivers at 7.2, but he’s placed no better than 16th in his last three races there. ... After finishing 37th at Darlington, Kasey Kahne has an average finish of 27.8 in the last four races.