News & Media

Edwards vs. Bowyer? It's just banter, not rivalry

April 11, 2011, Sporting News Wire Service,

There was nothing nasty about the post-race news conference with Clint Bowyer and Carl Edwards -- despite appearances to the contrary.

After Bowyer finished second in Saturday night's Samsung Mobile 500 and Edwards ran third, the drivers spent as much time needling each other as they did fielding questions from reporters.

The drivers sat at the dais in the Texas Motor Speedway media center, separated by an empty chair, and traded barbs. To the uninitiated, it must have been borderline bizarre.

But to Edwards and Bowyer, it was just another day at the race track. Off the asphalt, they're close friends, and they seldom miss an opportunity to play up their Kansas-Missouri rivalry. Bowyer grew up in Emporia, Kan., Edwards in Columbia, Mo.

Nevertheless, it certainly sounded as if Bowyer had rubbed Edwards the wrong way -- literally -- during a pass for position on the race track.

Asked about a close call with the Toyota of Brian Vickers and a spectacular save of his No. 33 Chevrolet in the tri-oval, Bowyer turned to Edwards and asked, "Did you see that? I was dirt-tracking it. At its best, in the middle of the straightaway. Not supposed to do that."

That led to the following exchange:

Edwards: "I didn't see the straightaway."

Bowyer: "Oh, you didn't?"

Edwards: "I saw Matt [Kenseth] get under there. You did that to me."

Bowyer: "I did?"

Edwards: "Yeah, you got by me."

Bowyer: "I'm sorry."

Edwards: "You're not sorry."

That was just for openers. Asked about the hot night in Texas, Bowyer used the opportunity to impugn Edwards' toughness.

"That was one of the hottest times I've ever had in the car," Bowyer said.

"It's early in the season, and those guys [Bowyer's crew] are a little reluctant to put all the fans in the car that Carl has in his. Makes him look like Superman all the time. You know, that's pretty much what it is."

Throughout race day, Edwards was suffering from a sour stomach.

"I was a little sick [Saturday] morning, and I thought I was all right," Edwards said in response to a question about what was wrong. "My stomach was messed up about 50 laps in."

"What did you eat [Friday] night?" Bowyer asked innocently.

"Well, my mom made a little dish," Edwards replied. "I don't think one of the ingredients was bad -- I think it might have been her first attempt at it."

"I'll cook for you next week," Bowyer offered.

"Yeah, I'll bet," Edwards said.

Asked whether he thought about turning his car over to a relief driver, Edwards said, "If I were from Kansas or something, we might think about that. But we don't do that where I'm from."

With his fourth top-five of the season, Edwards regained the lead in the Sprint Cup standings by nine points over Kyle Busch. Bowyer's team has overcome an inconsistent start to the season; Bowyer is 12th in the standings, 55 points behind Edwards.

Clearly, both drivers have established their credentials as championship contenders this season. Chances are, they'll be racing for position quite often.

Given their friendship, however, it's a good bet the banter will remain lighthearted -- even when the racing gets serious.