You Are A Class Act Carl Edwards

Episode 177

November 20, 2016

Carl Edwards and Pastor Mick Saunders at Indianapolis Raceway Park (Now Lucas Oil Raceway) in July 2007. HTF Motorsports photo

Carl Edwards and Pastor Mick Saunders at Indianapolis Raceway Park (Now Lucas Oil Raceway) in July 2007. HTF Motorsports photo

Man-O-Man I Wanted Carl to Win

When I was introduced to Carl Edwards by my friend Pastor Mick Saunders of Rushville, Indiana in 2003 I knew there was something special about this young driver. At the time he was in his first year with Roush in the  SuperChip Ford F-150 in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

He was also driving his own USAC Silver Crown Sprint car and later was a Silver Crown car owner which is what he was in the above photo.

Carl was kind to us as well as many who were less fortunate in life.  One example of many which I witnessed included a young man who was in a wheel chair in the Edwards pit area got Carl’s trophy from winning the 2003 Truck race at IRP. He took the time to talk with that young man specifically after the race despite the media demands for his attention.

When Pastor Mick’s daughter Laurie was in the hospital in Indianapolis on her death-bed, Carl took the time to see her.  When he won at Atlanta later that year gave his condolences to the Saunders family, who were grieving the loss of their daughter, before he said anything else in Victory Circle.

I knew then that he was a classy guy. Now multitudes know him for his good attitude after he crashed out of the race at Miami Homestead while in the points lead. Despite a questionable yellow thrown when the #32 car was making its way back to the pits with a deflated tire, Carl maintained his characteristic smile.

After getting out of his mangled race car, Edwards went directly to the Joey Logano pit box and took the blame for blocking Logano on the restart in turn one and later in the NBC TV interview was gracious despite what had to be a heartbreaking lose.

Congratulations to Jimmie Johnson for his 80th win and seventh championship. They worked hard all day to be in the right spot with the right opportunity.

My brother Bob and I finished the 2016 Sprint Cup season the way began it it watching the race on a big screen TV. HTF Motorsports photo

My brother Bob and I finished the 2016 Sprint Cup season the way began, watching the race on a big screen TV. HTF Motorsports photo

Season Finale Watched on Fred’s Big Screen TV

Watching the NASCAR Sprint Cup finale at my brother’s house was somewhat bittersweet. We began the season watching the Daytona 500 on that same TV at our friend Fred Fletcher’s apartment in Caribou in February. You may recall the helmet-heads in the photo below.

"Helmet Headed" Hale Brothers watching the Daytona 500. Yours truly on the left and brother Bob on the right. Photo by Fred Fletcher for HTF Motorsports

“Helmet Headed” Hale Brothers watching the Daytona 500. Yours truly on the left and brother Bob on the right. Photo by Fred Fletcher for HTF Motorsports

After Fred’s untimely death in April, Bob acquired the big screen television and put it into the entry room at his house where we viewed the season ending race. More than once I thought of Fred as we cheered on our favorites.

Book Reviews on the Way

I love to read. One of the results of that love will be doing periodic motorsports book reviews. In conjunction with Coastal 181 Publishing, Newburyport, Massachusetts and Racemaker Press, Boston, Massachusetts. I will be letting you know about some of their latest releases.

Three books first to be reviewed from left to right: Testmony of the Protected by Doug Milliken, The Last Days of Henry Ford by Henry Dominquez, and Tony Bettenhausen & Sons: An American Racing Family by Gordon Kirby. HTF Motorsports photo

Three books first to be reviewed from left to right: Testimony of the Protected by Doug Milliken, The Last Days of Henry Ford by Henry Dominquez, and Tony Bettenhausen & Sons: An American Racing Family by Gordon Kirby. HTF Motorsports photo

Lots of racing news is unfolding and will be announced very soon right here in future episodes of UpNorth Motorsports plus stories of personalities in motorsports whose tales I think you will enjoy.

Time to Pause and Give Thanks

I have been contemplating for several weeks how to close this episode which borders on Thanksgiving. My desire is to share with you some of the things I am thankful for in 2016. I would love to hear what you are thankful for as well.

My list:

1) For my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who went to the cross, died and rose again freely offering salvation to me (and you).

2) My wife Donna who puts up with my motorsports shenanigans and expenses.

3) My brother Bob who went with me on a two-day “Gearhead Tour” of Owl’s Head Transportation Museum, Maine Indoor Karting, Wyatt Alexander Racing shop tour in July. That time together with my brother was precious.

4) For my other brother Bill in Orlando, Florida who gave my traveling companion Phil Miller and I a place to stay when I covered the 24 Hours of Daytona in January. Thanks also to Daytona International Speedway (DIS) Director of Grounds, Jason Griffeth for showing me around DIS and allowing a behind-the-scene interview.

5) Austin Theriault and family for the many requests for inside information during the year.

6) Spud Speedway owner Troy Haney for employing me as Groundskeeper at the track and Haney Building Specialties. He actually allowed me to try some new things to improve the looks of the track and bought several key pieces of equipment and supplies to help make it possible.

7) To the Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame for selecting Erny Levesque for the Class of 2017. Thanks Joe Chamberlain for all the hard work you did gathering the data which made the case for Erny. You did a great thing for an aging racer.

8) To all the folks who contributed to the 50 + episodes written this year. Without your contributions of results, stories, photos, and interviews my job would have been difficult. I am afraid if I named these folks I would inevitably leave someone out thus as a group I will say thank you.

9) To Jason Griffeth for allowing me to place your name in nomination for the inaugural Caribou High School Hall of Fame. Despite your thinking that you may not merit recognition with such an elite group, I think your interview and accomplishments made believers out of all.

10) To you the loyal followers of UpNorth Motorsports. Several weeks we were in the top 10 reads out of the 130 plus blogs on the Bangor Daily News network. It amazes and inspires me that you would find an interest in reading about what interests me in the motorsports community. Your love for this blog propelled me to win the Maine Press Association’s best sports blog in 2016 for which I am humbled and blessed. Thank you many times over for reading UpNorth Motorsports and often sharing it with others.

11) My race sponsors who made it possible to relate directly to the readers what it is like to kart race as a 64 year young driver. Hat’s off to Smith Farms Stag Brand The Alpha Vegetable, ACE Auto Rental & Aroostook Limousines, Pine Tree Cleaning and Restoration, Maine Indoor Karting, Hale Tree Farms, and HTF Motorsports. Thankful also for my new crew chief Richard McNeal.

12) And I must also list one thing I am thankful that I no longer have; debt. As a result of a timber sale my wife and I paid off auto and home loans making it possible to be debt-free for the first time in 40 years of marriage.

I am positive you have many things you are thankful for this year. Do me a favor and say thanks to those who have helped you this year and remember to visit the shut-ins or ill. And maybe send a get well card to Brenda Sue Carver recovering at her home in Texas or Erny Levesque in St. David, Maine. Look at previous episodes for their addresses.

Let’s take a week off from racing and give thanks, Hope you will be with family and friends.

Tom Hale

Soli Deo Gloria

 

 

Tom Hale

About Tom Hale

Tom wrote 14 years as freelancer for the Bangor Daily Sports covering motorsports in Maine. Now blogging and concentrating on human interest stories about people and places in racing.