HOMESTEAD, Fla. — Carl Edwards still has some of the business cards he handed out 10 years ago when he was looking for work as a stock car driver. They simply read: “Carl Edwards, race car driver.”
If he finishes ahead of Tony Stewart today at Homestead-Miami Speedway, he can have new cards printed: “Carl Edwards, Sprint Cup Series Champion.”
The one-time substitute teacher is on the verge of turning a dream into a reality enjoyed by a select few. Ten years ago he went to as many local tracks as possible to hand out his business card. He never left his home in rural Missouri without his helmet in case he got the chance to race. And when things got really slow, he bought advertising in racing newspapers.
In an era when drivers have to bring their own money and sponsorships to the table, Edwards got the opportunity with Roush Fenway Racing with talent. While he’s developed into one of the most popular drivers in the sport, his background is mirrored by so many who will never get the same opportunity.
“I was talking to my wife about it and I said the whole goal during that time was just to get hired to drive a race car. I feel like the rest of this and the success we’ve had has been icing on the cake,” Edwards said.
Edwards has a slim three-point lead over Tony Stewart. All Edwards needs to do is finish ahead of Stewart to clinch; Stewart needs to win or finish at least three spots ahead of Edwards.
“That’s what great battles are made of – two guys, we’ve said it over and over, I believe we’re raising each other’s level of performance, we are pushing each other and this race, I don’t think, is going to be any different,” Edwards said. “I’m going into this race to go hard, and I think he’s doing the same.”