Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Where Carl Edwards buried last season's disappointment

   Somewhere on Miami Beach is buried the disappointment and the frustration of Carl Edwards' runner-up finish to Tony Stewart for the 2011 Sprint Cup Series championship.

   Stewart won the season finale at Homestead, Fla., with Edwards finishing second. The two finished tied in points but Stewart won the championship by having more wins than Edwards over the course of the season (5-1).

   The next day Edwards and his wife, Kate, went for a walk on the beach - he was staying over for the Nationwide Series banquet - and they made a pact.

   "We made a deal right then that it was done and over and it was a fun time and we wished it would have gone different but we pretty much buried it in the sand on the beach," Edwards said. "When people ask me how long it took to get over that, it took about 10 or 11 hours and that is it."

   Edwards, however, did not come up totally empty from Homestead. He said he left with a very important life lesson.

   "I learned that you can’t place all the value on your result. You have to place some on performance," he said. "When you drive the perfect race and if your car is not fast enough, or you have some bad luck, you might finish fifth. Some of those races you finish fifth are better than ones you win.

   "I have won a number of races where I knew my car was faster and somebody else had bad luck. What I am getting at is that at the end of that race at Homestead, as devastated as I was that we didn’t win, and trust me I was really frustrated that we didn’t win, I can still hold my head up and say that we went into that race with all the pressure in the world, Tony doing all his trash-talking, everything on our shoulders, and we qualified on the pole, led the most laps, and we were leading when it started raining. We just got out gambled in the pits and it didn’t go our way.

   "I am telling you, if I went back and ran that race again, I don’t know if I personally could do a better job managing that race."

   Sometimes all you can do has to be enough.

Jimmie Johnson on his car Sunday: 'It wasn't pretty.'

   Jimmie Johnson had just wrecked his No. 48 Chevrolet in Sunday's race at Kansas Speedway and instead of heading right to the garage for repairs, his crew chief Chad Knaus elected to have him make multiple pit stops to try to fix the damage.

   "There's nothing wrong with that thing. Nothing," Knaus told Johnson over their team radio after his fourth trip to the pits. "You just might have a little trouble looking out the back window."

   What did Johnson think listening to Knaus direct the repairs and then seeing what the car looked like after he rallied for a ninth-place finish? 

Read more here: http://www.thatsracin.com/2012/10/21/96686/johnson-salvages-day-after-crashing.html#storylink=cpy
   "I knew he would make it sound better than it really was. That's just part of what you mentioned, (of him) quarterbacking the situation. I could tell from the impact it wasn't all that hard," Johnson said. "I knew I didn't bend the rear suspension. I knew the front end didn't hit. From a mechanical standpoint, I knew the chassis was sound and it really was an aero situation.

   " Chad seemed calm as we had two or three stops to work on the car. Once they didn't lead me back to pit road, I assumed things were decent. I took my time getting up to speed and the car felt fine. In traffic it did act different. I had to be aware of where I put myself around other cars because the car would lose some grip then."

   So, did Knaus lie about the extent of the damage in order to make Johnson believe the situation was so dire?

   "He wasn't lying. It wasn't pretty. It wasn't efficient. Slow on corner exiting down the straightaway because of the fenders being pushed out like they were," Johnson said of his car. "Through the corner, the car had a spoiler on it in a decent location and it was creating downforce. It drove well. That's what allowed me to work traffic like I did to allow me to get up inside the top 10."