News & Media

Edwards turns in a gutty performance at Texas

April 11, 2011, David Caraviello,

FORT WORTH, Texas -- The first sign of trouble came fewer than 70 laps into Saturday's race at Texas Motor Speedway, when Carl Edwards and crew chief Bob Osborne were discussing what changes to make to their No. 99 car on the next pit stop. Edwards also requested one more thing -- a few antacid tablets.

It was a stomach-churning evening for the Roush Fenway driver, and not necessarily because of events that transpired on the race track. Edwards endured a bout of stomach distress and had various remedies fed to him by his crew on pit stops, yet soldiered through to record a third-place finish on the 1.5-mile track and reclaim the Sprint Cup points lead.

Friendly banter

After battling on the track at Texas, Carl Edwards and Clint Bowyer took turns razzing one another in the post-race news conference.

"He's tough," Osborne said. "He's mentally tough and physically tough, and it pays dividends for our race program."

Edwards blamed the problem on a meal his mother had cooked for him the night before. He said he woke up Saturday morning not feeling well, and the problem got worse as the race began.

"At the beginning of the race, I wasn't so sure how that was going to go," Edwards said afterward. "But I do feel much better now. That's a long race when you're loose and you don't feel good."

Early in the event, though, you could tell he was in discomfort. At Lap 67, he asked for some Tums on the next pit stop. His team offered to dissolve the antacid tablets in water, but Edwards wanted the tablets themselves. One problem -- in a firesuit and helmet and traveling at 200 mph on NASCAR's fastest track, he had difficulty ingesting them, and at first spilled them in his car.

Finally he got a few down, but they didn't help, and he requested something a little stronger. Pepto-Bismol evidently did the trick, and by late in the race Edwards reported feeling much better. And for the record -- he never became physically ill.

"I'm good," he said afterward. "No, I kept everything in, so we were OK. I knew in this white firesuit I had to be careful."

Edwards said the discomfort never reached the point where he considered getting out of the car, even though Roush Nationwide driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was on standby for both Edwards and teammate Greg Biffle, whose wives are pregnant. "No, I didn't think about that," Edwards said. "If it would have gotten worse, Ricky Stenhouse was standing by for child-birthing relief duties. ... But no, I wasn't going to get out of the car. We were running too well."

It was a physically uncomfortable night for many drivers. Even though the event was the first night race at Texas, it started in a daytime where the temperature peaked above 90 degrees. And while it was very windy, inside the car drivers had little relief. Many were asking for water bottles very early in the event.

"That was one of the hottest times I've ever had in the car," said Clint Bowyer, runner-up behind Matt Kenseth. "It's early in the season, and those guys are a little reluctant to put all the fans in the car .... More than anything, my feet were burning up. There is a lot of stuff they're doing for weight and everything else. It's early in the season, and they just figured they don't need to put it in until it gets hot in the summer. But I'd say my boys will be putting that stuff back in."

For Edwards, though, the discomfort proved worth it. While never a real threat to win -- Kenseth had the field covered -- the No. 99 car was near the front for most of the night. "Through the practice sessions we thought we had a pretty good car," Osborne said. "But considering how everything went, and what we ran for a setup, I'm happy with a third-place finish. The big thing is really salvaging a finish with probably not as good a race car as we've had here in the past, and taking the points lead back over."

At least Edwards fared better than a feathered friend he evidently struck early in the event. "Watch your temps, bud," Osborne warned him over the radio. "I think you just hit a bird." Edwards asked if there was any damage. "No," the crew chief responded. "Just a bunch of feathers."

Afterward, Edwards -- whose car is backed by an insurance company famous for its duck mascot -- pleaded the fifth.

"I didn't see any feathers," he said, "but Bob said there were some feathers on the front, which being sponsored by a duck, that's not good. So we'll leave that be. It probably did not happen."