Carl Edwards is among the best drivers ever at Texas Motor Speedway with three career wins. A fourth Saturday would mean much more than just tying him with Jimmie Johnson for the most Cup wins in track history.
Edwards can trigger a $1 million donation by his car’s sponsor, Stanley, to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals through the Ace Hardware Foundation if he can win Saturday’s Duck Commander 500.
Edwards visited Cook Children’s in Fort Worth on Thursday, saying it “inspired” him. His car has plenty of inspiration on it, too. Names of children and the diseases they’re fighting is spread across his car.
“It was inspiring and gave me a lot of perspective,” Edwards said. “The cool part to me is this is a track where I’ve ran very well at — Joe Gibbs [Racing] has run really well at. Stanley and everyone that put this together picked a track they think we can win at, so they want this to happen.”
Edwards has to be considered among the favorites going into the race, as well. His past success is well documented, and his teammate, Denny Hamlin, finally broke through and won at Martinsville two weeks ago.
That snapped a 32-race winless streak for Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota, and Edwards would like to help turn that into a winning streak.
“We all ran well [at Martinsville],” Edwards said. “I can’t speak for the whole field, but I think a lot of people are really innovating, and you’re going to see some shifts and speed and advantage throughout the field. I believe it will look a little differently here in the next few months.”
Kyle Larson fainted at an autograph session at NASCAR’s previous stop in Martinsville, forcing him to miss the next day’s Cup race.
Larson admitted he overslept that day and didn’t get enough food and fluids in his body, a learning experience for the 22-year-old.
Larson said he is now more aware of what he needs to do to take better care of his body, including a diet change that includes having breakfast daily. Larson said he “hates” breakfast and also wasn’t too happy to be on a diet this week.
“It stinks when you come here and they have Fuzzy’s tacos that are really good and you can’t go over there and eat them,” Larson said, smiling. “But you’ve got to take care of yourself as you get older. Definitely going to try and do a better job of that.”
TMS officials are hoping rain stays away Saturday night, and that there will be a big enough window to fit in the Duck Commander 500.
Fans are being encouraged to have the outlook that the race will be run. NASCAR and track officials won’t delay the race unless they absolutely have to. They’ll delay it as long as possible Saturday night to try and fit it in.
If rain doesn’t allow it, NASCAR will push the race back to Sunday and, if it can’t go Sunday, then Monday. And so on. Start times are to be determined under those scenarios.
▪ During his induction ceremony into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame on Thursday, team owner Rick Hendrick praised Bruton Smith, the executive chairman of Speedway Motorsports Inc., which owns TMS. Hendrick has admired the tireless promotion efforts by Smith over the years, and feels he deserves the highest honor in the sport. Said Hendrick: “I want to say Bruton Smith should be in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.” Smith has been nominated for the distinction, but has yet to be voted in.
▪ Edwards on teammate Kyle Busch, who remains sidelined from a leg injury suffered during the season-opening Xfinity Series race at Daytona: “It’s really eating him up not to be racing. As a competitor of his, I’m worried when he comes back because I think he’s going to be stronger than ever.”
▪ Michael Waltrip Racing announced a new partnership with coffee maker Maxwell House, which will sponsor Clint Bowyer for five Cup races this season and the 2016 Daytona 500. One of the races is the November race at TMS.
Drew Davison, 817-390-7760