Kids voted for NASCAR driver Carl Edwards to appear in the July issue of SI Kids magazine, and he was truly honored. "Tell the kids thanks for voting for me. That's really cool," Edwards said when we interviewed him. Edwards was really cool also, taking the time to answer questions that kids had sent in. In fact, there were so many questions we couldn't fit them all into the magazine, so here is a bonus Q&A for all you NASCAR fans. Be sure to check out the July issue of SI Kids (Dustin Pedrois of the Boston Red Sox is on the cover.) to see more from the backflipping driver.
Q. Where is your favorite place to race?
- John, 12, Colorado
A. That’s a tough one. I like the tracks that are close to where I grew up. Kansas [Speedway] and Gateway International Raceway in St. Louis. But as far as pure driving, I like Sonoma, California, the road course over there [Infineon Raceway].
I grew up in Columbia, Missouri, and I still live there. When I was 16, 17, 18 and dreaming of racing at the level I’m racing now, those two race tracks, Gateway and Kansas, were close enough to me that I thought I’d give anything to be racing at those tracks. I was racing at little dirt tracks. To me they seemed so close but so far away. Now I get to go there and race and have friends and family that come out and support me. It’s the greatest feeling..
Sonoma is just like a roller coaster — uphill, downhill, left, and right, sliding the car, bouncing over curbs, shifting gears. The road course winds through these hills that are just so beautiful. To me that’s just pure driving fun.
Q. What do you do to prepare for a race?
- Matthew, 12, Wisconsin
A. The thing that I do personally that’s really important to me is I try to stay in shape. I watch what I eat really carefully and what I drink. Right now I’m driving to the gym to work out. When I was younger I used to think it was silly to work out. I didn’t understand why people would go waste their time in the gym. Now I realize it’s something that helps me out. That’s what I do personally.
As far as the team is concerned, my crew chief and and engineer and I talk before a race and go over what challenges we're going to have and what our plan is going to be. That way when we show up at tracks we have a plan and don’t just go in there and wing it.
Q. How did you feel after that Talledega crash this season?
- Nick, 9, New York
A. Physically I felt good. We’ve got all the safety advances in car so that we don’t get hurt through wrecks like that. But when I found out that people in the grandstand were hurt that was really tough. I don’t know how to describe it other than that I just felt really bad for those fans that got hurt.
Q. What accomplishment are you most proud of?
- Jarrett, 12, Iowa
A. The accomplishment I’m most proud of is not a race win. It’s the fact that I stuck with my goals and worked really hard regardless of what other people thought or said. There’s doubters everywhere. For me it wasn’t so much people saying you can’t do that as it was people saying it’s probably not going to happen and you should go do something else. I’m just glad I stuck with it. I had good people behind me as well.