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Pedley: Carl Watchers In Need Of A New Gig

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Friday, August 5 2011

Reporting on Carl Edwards became a cottage industry. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Erik J. Perel)

Let’s see what’s in the Morning Memo today:

There are going to be a lot of media members up in Pocono today who are going to be looking for a new schtick this weekend. Gone will be their go-to question. The one which has gotten them through many a press conference this year.

Carl Edwards has announced that he will stay at Roush Fenway Racing. He will not be going to Joe Gibbs Racing or anywhere else. And he will not be subjected to endless questions about his future and believe me, they were numbingly numerous in past weeks.

Like at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last week.

On Fridays before the Brickyard, NASCAR deviates from its standard practice of bringing top drivers into media centers one at a time for 15-minute “hauler chats” (so named because most used to be held behind the drivers’ haulers). Fairly useless, these chats, as they functioned mainly as sound-bite opps for local radio, the new breed of semi-pro newspaper writers and TV “reporters”.

At Indy, they set up little staging areas and bring in several drivers at once. Kind of like a buffet of drivers for the media (though not nearly as well attended as the one with in the free lunch room). In the past, local heroes Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon attracted the big crowds. Junior always gets a big crowed.

But last week, it was Edwards’ station which was crowded 10 deep. And it wasn’t because he was the Sprint Cup points leader. He was asked 10 different ways about his free agency: He was asked how close he was to a decision; he was asked if would be close in two weeks; he was accused of knowing where he was going but not telling; he was asked about being a distraction to his team; he was asked if he could still win a championship with all the distractions; he was asked what he has learned about himself as a person through all of this; he was asked if he had a cold (presumably one caused by all he distractions).

(Ah, the distraction questions. They are great at filling the void when real questions prove elusive. And, they can be sprayed all over the room; at teammates, crew chiefs, owners, other drivers who have had been free agents before.)

Hey, look, race fans were curious about Edwards’ future. And a question or two or three, and then a note or two – yes, even a full story when there was actually news – over the last couple weeks were completely warranted.

But some turned Edwards and his future into a full-fledged beat.

And now, gone. All gone.

Or not.

Look for follow up “how does it feel?” questions this weekend. Got to find out about those distractions.

Memo to self: Please advise; get ready, Clint Bowyer. You’re next.

The day the Music died?

With the Nationwide and Camping World Trucks becoming history at Nashville

Is Kyle Busch's favorite trophy history? (RacinToday/HHP photo by Erik J. Perel)

Superspeedway, you have to wonder about the fate of the Sam Bass decorated Gibson Les Paul guitars which served as trophies there?

Are they history as well?

Hey, grandfather clocks at Martinsville and red-eyed monsters at Dover are great as trophies, but a genuine Les Paul?

The things were highly sought after by drivers. They were funky and functional. Oh, there have been other electric guitars awarded to race winners at other tracks. Richmond comes to mind – as does the memory of the builder of that particular guitar having a hissy fit when media members on deadline failed to listen to his spiel about it and just kept writing as he talked.

Maybe the Les Pauls will turn up someplace else.

And no, I did not get terribly upset when Kyle Busch smashed his. I think he acted before thinking. Or, maybe he was a Stratocaster guy.

Memo to self: Stand clear of Busch after his wins at Martinsville.

Flexible codes of conduct?

Sure looked like a start and park by Jennifer Jo Cobb at Lucas Oil Raceway last weekend to me.

Memo to self: Never say never.


Congrats, Menard family.

Finally, no more questions about Paul being a rich kid who is driving just because of dad’s money.

Well, maybe one more. Paul Menard had a great answer on Friday in Pocono when asked about his victory at Indy being validation.

“It’s hard to say” if the victory serves as a source of validation, he said, “but on my cell phone, and this is probably the coolest part, I have a picture of us in victory lane and that’s something that I’ll probably have on my cell phone for the rest of my life, do you know what I mean?

“It’s just something that I’ll always have with me. As far as myself personally regarding validation or anything like that, I’ve spoken to that before, they’ll still be detractors or whatever and I don’t really care about that. But we won the Brickyard 400 with Slugger Labbe and Richard Childress and all the guys that have put so much work into that car. It was a brand new race car. And I held off Jeff Gordon to do it and got my dad his first win. That’s validation enough for me.”

Memo to self: Find out whether or not winning first race can be a distraction to winning a second race.

– Jim Pedley can be reached at jpedley@racintoday.com

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Friday, August 5 2011
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