NASCAR’s Mr. Ed-wards is winning me over
Last year – about this time, incidentally – I struggled to pick a favorite NASCAR driver. I had just started paying close attention to the sport and hadn’t formed any driver or team allegiances. No one really stood out.So I used this space to seek help, asking readers to guide me to a choice.After combing through countless (if you define countless as three or four) e-mails from readers imploring me to pick their favorites, I chose Kurt and Kyle Busch. I found myself seduced by their fiery mentalities and all-or-nothing approach to racing.I likened the brothers to baseball’s Eric Byrnes, who says what he thinks at all times and flings his body around the outfield like few others in Major League Baseball.Lately, though, I’m finding myself enamored with a different driver.I’ll give you a hint: He’s well-spoken, is second in the points standings and enjoys a post-race flip.That’s right: Carl Edwards.The man’s as fiery and competitive as the Busches and is locked in a budding feud with the little Busch brother, Kyle.In case you missed Saturday’s race at Bristol, Edwards bumped and then passed Busch during the waning laps to steal a win. That didn’t sit well with Busch, who rammed Edwards a few times during the latter’s victory lap.Edwards responded by trying to spin Busch and then a post-race war of words ensued.Busch called Edwards Mr. Ed – and not in a friendly, surname-shortening way.Edwards’ justification for the in-race bump: “It’s one of those deals where I couldn’t get by him, I couldn’t get by him, and I just had to ask myself, ‘Would he do that to me?’ And he has before, so that’s the way it goes.”Nice. I love that type of honesty from athletes. You just don’t see it all that often. Adding to Edwards’ charm, the man is affable off the track. He frequently sits in with the ESPN folks and has a natural television personality. He’s eloquent and funny. He’s basically the Michael Strahan of NASCAR – unafraid to say what he thinks but smooth in doing so.That’s what had been winning me over. Until Saturday, that is, when Edwards stood up to NASCAR’s 2008 points and win leader.Edwards is growing on me, maybe enough to supplant the Busch brothers as my new favorite driver.We’ll see.Either way, I can’t wait to see how this rivalry plays out. After all, watching cars circle tracks for several hours at a time gets a little boring without some sort of riveting sub-story.Contact Jeff Caspersen: email@example.com
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