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sunday blog June 22, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season.

Good Morning from Brew Town!
How’s everyone? At the Milwaukee Mile last night -Carl Edwards racked up his first NASCAR Nationwide Series victory of 2008 and his first win at The Milwaukee Mile. Fans were screaming for him to demonstrate his backflip after the win- they were calling for it from the stands- but he declined. Edwards tried to move inside Clint Bowyer after the race’s eighth caution, and the two made contact on lap 226, sending Bowyer up the track in Turn 2. Edwards said he would forego the backflip this time for two reasons – because he wasn’t proud of shoving Clint Boyer aside and because of drag racer Scott Kalitta’s death earlier in the day.
Speaking of Kalitta’s tragic accident- although I cover NASCAR on the road we’re all one racing family in the sport – it’s very sad. Racers always tempt fate – seemingly none more than the drag racers.  I for one did not enjoy the continuous running of the tape of the crash. ESPN announcers said they had the tape and then instructed folks to look away if they wanted while they played it . That was too much for me. I gotta ask you this -do we have to document a guys death on Youtube? I’ll bet if you looked at the number of hits for the You Tube of the crash the numbers are through the roof. Something about that is sick to me – call me wrong if you like. It’s a sport – but a man lost his life – how many of us want to watch that tape? Not me.
Prayers for his family and cheers for him doing what he wanted with his life and living it wide open – no regrets as he came back from retirement more than once to do what he wanted to do. God Speed.
Milwaukee last night was buzzing over the Nationwide guys being in town. I can’t tell you how cool it is that they appreciate every single one of the Nationwide racers – not just the superstars. It is a grassroots kind of racing when it’s a stand alone race and the Wisconsin race fans were full of appreciation for the sport.
Carl Edwards pulled it off and is back in winning form in the NNS. Want to hear what he and his crew chief had to say post win?

CARL EDWARDS – No. 60 Save-a-Lot Ford Fusion  TALK ABOUT YOUR RUN. “First of all, a huge thanks to Erik Darnell.  I’m sure Drew would say the same.  He did a really good job and that was very much appreciated by me.  I also have to thank PK [Pierre Kuettel]. We made this crew chief swap this week and I think Drew would also agree with me that PK did almost all the work on this car and got it set up to come here.  He’s a huge part of this win. We’re thinking about him. It just feels good to win a race for Save-a-Lot and for our team and for everybody at the shop and all the guys who’ve been working hard and sticking with this program even though we haven’t won a race for a long time.  It means a lot to have all that support.  This win is a huge relief.”
DREW BLICKENSDERFER – No. 60 crew chief – TALK ABOUT YOUR FIRST NIGHT ON THE PIT BOX WORKING WITH CARL. “Obviously it went pretty well. I’m kind of hating to go to Loudon next week, I might mess something up.  At Roush Fenway, we do things in a way that really inspires teams.  The 17 team and the 60 team and the 6 and the 16, all of our crew chief offices are within five feet of each other. We all know what everybody else is doing. We all stay in constant communication. We work hand-in-hand with each other’s team. So coming over to the 60 wasn’t anything new. The guys knew who I was; I knew they were.  It isn’t like I switched teams.  I just went to a different car number, really under the same team, Roush Fenway.  It wasn’t difficult at all coming over to work with a guy like Carl, obviously that makes everything a little easier.”
CARL EDWARDS  – WAS THERE REALLY ANY TIME TO ESTABLISH ANY CHEMISTRY WITH DREW TONIGHT OR TODAY AT ALL? “No, we’ve talked for a total of about 10 minutes. We learned a little bit about the way we communicate today.  It was a long race with a lot of pit stops and a real chassis race, so we got talk a lot during the race.  Jason Hedlesky [spotter] actually joked around one time that we talked for a whole lap under caution and Jason thought that was funny. We’re just getting to know one another and hopefully this is a relationship that continues in this manner for a long, long time and that would be very cool for me.” WHAT DOES IT SAY ABOUT DREW THAT HE’S ABLE TO COME INTO HIS FIRST RACE WITHOUT ANY TIME WITH YOU AND WIN RIGHT AWAY? “I think it says a lot about Drew and his composure.  I mean, he got pretty much called into meeting and told what was going to happen and was very cool that PK and Drew and all the guys on both teams were all okay with all the changes. Everyone kept their heads up and went forward.  I think that says a lot about Drew and PK and all the guys that change like this that we can do it without missing a beat.”
 CAN YOU RUN THROUGH THE CHRONOLOGY? YOU MUST HAVE SEEN EACH OTHER BUT YOU BARELY KNEW EACH OTHER ON TUESDAY OR HOW DID THAT HAPPEN? “Yeah, I was just asking him now exactly how to pronounce his last name. I’ve been calling him ‘Drew’ all week because I didn’t want to mess up his last name.”

DREW BLICKENSDERFER  – “Obviously, we’re around each other by the race and we’re around each other’s teams at the race track. I probably talked today more to Carl than I talked to Matt [Kenseth] in two years. And we got to talk together more today on the radio that we’ve spoken in the whole time that I’ve been at Roush and he’s been at Roush. Today was a pretty important day for us to get it off that way and looking forward to Loudon where he’s actually in the car in practice and we get to find out exactly what loose means and tight means and each other’s lingo.”
CARL EDWARDS CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE BATTLE WITH BOWYER, HOW YOU SET THAT UP AND WHAT HAPPENED? “What happened with Clint, I’m not real proud of.  I like Clint a lot and I have a lot of respect for him and I just got into him. I dove for the bottom and there wasn’t enough room and I hit him.  That’s what happened.  When we restarted, he kind of left the bottom opened and I got in there a couple of times and I felt like my car was really good there.  When he went into [turn] one, I thought he was going to leave it open and I stuffed a nose down there and hit him.  I’m just glad he didn’t wreck.”
IT’S MORE THAT A YEAR SINCE YOU WON. WAS THERE A POINT WHERE IT WAS EATING AT YOU REAL BAD? “Yeah, that’s what we do.  I’m a competitor and I want to win more than anything in the world. So, yeah, it’s very frustrating to do all this interviews and they put up the chart and say, ‘Look how great your 2007 season started.  Look how terrible it’s been since then.’ Those are terrible graphics that somebody made up that I have to talk about seems like all the time.  It’s very nice to get back into victory lane. It’s very good.  This is what Jack [Roush] pays me to do and that’s what the sponsors are all counting on and that’s what the whole team works for – to win.”
YOU PASSED ON THE TYPICAL CELEBRATION BECAUSE? “The back flip is something that I do because I’m real excited to win and I feel like doing it when I win.  Today, with what happened with Mr. Kalitta and the way I passed Clint, I just didn’t feel like doing a back flip.  I felt bad for the fans, they were a little upset about it, but hopefully we’ll come back here next year and we’ll do it again and I’ll give them a really nice one.”
WHAT’S IT LIKE FOR YOU TO HAVE SAVE-A-LOT ON BOARD, NOT A REGULAR SPONSOR AND GET THE WIN? “It’s very good to get the win for Save-a-Lot.  I felt like we could have won at Las Vegas and we ended up wrecked there.  Then we had a spectacular crash at Talladega with them. I was kind of thinking this white car is not that lucky. I couldn’t believe it when they threw the white flag and I made it all the way around and then the checkered flags. It worked. It happened. That’s very cool.  They’re a great company. We’ve had a lot of fun so far. We’re actually going to do a production day there next week and it will be very cool to go to their headquarters in St. Louis on the heals of a win.”
DREW BLICKENSDERFER  – WILL YOU USUALLY WEAR A RACE UNIFORM OR FIRESUIT? DID YOU NOT WEAR ONE BECAUSE OF HOW FAST THINGS CHANGED? “Actually, I don’t.  I don’t wear a fire suit.  I normally would have a crew shirt on, but yeah, things went fairly fast this week. I kind of went away from wearing a firesuit; the way NASCAR has it know.  If you don’t meet minimum speed you gotta go behind the wall and fix it.  If I need to go over the wall, there’s big problems. We have very qualified guys, especially on the 60; they’re a full time team. Darrell Morrow is too qualified to be a car chief in the Nationwide Series.  He can take care of anything that needs to be done over there. I wore a firesuit changing tires, so I kind of want to stay cool and maybe breathe a little easier without one.”
CARL EDWARDS – DO YOU THINK THIS WILL AFFECT WHAT YOU’RE GOING TO DO TOMORROW? GETTING TO AND FROM SONOMA? “No, if we can get out of here pretty quick and get a little sleep on the plane, this is what I prepare for. I try to be as physically fit as I can be. Tomorrow’s going to be fun. It’s going to be really hot and pretty strenuous and that’s what I train for.  I’m really looking forward to it. As long as Clint is not too mad and I don’t have to race around him, we’ll be all right.”
Listener E-Mail: RE: Carls Win:
What was Edwards thinking?  He could have let Lagono win so he could have jumped on an earlier flight out to CA.  Now he’ll have to do all of the victory lane stuff.   All of the guys doing double duty seemed to do OK., wonder how they’ll do Sun.  They better fill up on WI beer and cheese.  Remember to drink a Leinenkugels for Paul Menard – he’ll blame you if he doesn’t do well and you didn’t drink one.
 Let those of us who couldn’t see the race know how Edwards managed to lap EVERYONE.  Incredible.  I really wish Joey could have pulled it off.  Hats off to Landon Cassle getting 3rd in the truck series at 18 years old and Michael Annett coming in 6th in his first truck start.  It’s so fun to watch the young guys start off well so we can get excited watching them climb the ranks and hoping they do well each time they climb to a new series.
I bet it’s sad to be leaving WI.  Nice of you to cover trucks and Nationwide.  I think all of your listeners agree that you need to broadcast from pubs more often.  You never know who you might meet.
Ha! I got a kick out of that email above. I’m totally psyched for today’s road course race at Infineon. I’ve had a ton of IM’s this morning from fans who are trying to predict who will show their stuff today – and might surprise fans with road course savvy.  I’m looking forward to it.
Enjoy the race!  
Claire B.


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