Edwards never quite got to take that last bite. It's been that kind of fall. Losing his entrée at the Nationwide Series banquet luncheon in Orlando on Friday was simply the next -- more tasty, but less wrenching -- in the procession. Despite winning three of the last four races of the season in both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup series, the 29-year-old fell 21 points short of
Edwards, who led the Cup series with nine wins, could analyze the Chase for the Championship -- specifically the race at Talladega where he admittedly caused an 11-car wreck and finished 29th, or the one at Charlotte where and ignition box relegated him to a devastating 33rd-place finish. But he's intent on moving past, cleansing his mind, filling up an offseason with personal milestone events to replace the professional ones that eluded him.
He will compete in the Race of Champions for the first time in London, and he's admittedly apprehensive about it. He and a large group of friends hope to bicycle Bangkok, Thailand, for a week or two. He will marry fiancée,
That's harder than he thought, even after finishing third or better in seven of 10 Chase races (and fourth in another). "It was the first thing my dad said," Edwards laughed. "I went over to his shop the other day, and he's like, 'You know its going to take you at least four years to top that, even if you do everything perfectly.' I said, "Thanks dad, I know." We're all aware of what Jimmie doing and it's a high bar he's setting."
With the commercial future of U.S. automakers still entangled in a controversial $25-billion government bailout proposal and their futures in NASCAR a topic of nervous conversation within the sport, less-successful Sprint Cup teams are hoping to circle wagons to fight off woeful times.
Nowhere is the conversation more nervous or cryptic than surrounding Dodge, Sprint Cup's under-performer that would field just three major organizations in 2009 if Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates switches to manufacturer champion Chevrolet as part of its announced merger with Dale Earnhardt Inc. (Team Chip 'n Dale is the best new nickname in the garage, by the way)
Petty Enterprises co-owner
"It's difficult when you have to open your books to organizations that you're not sure are going to be around or if you're not sure if they're going to be Dodge competitors in a short period of time," he said. "We're also all not in step with how long we're committed to Dodge. Those that are committed longer-term like we are, it would be a lot easier to do something like that, but then you get a situation where what do you know about the people sitting in the room with you and how long are they committed to their organization?"
Even in Petty's plea for Dodge teams to stop "working as independents" there was fuel for Cindric's concern. "Hopefully we can come to some of that [cooperation] this year, especially losing one Dodge team for sure, and I don't know about a couple of the rest of us," he said.
Cindric said the scheduling of Indy Racing League driver
The IRL season begins April 5 at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and Castroneves had sought to move his date to November, after the season. The Penske organization filed an affidavit to U.S. District court in November stating the team "could likely not keep Castroneves should there be a March, 2009 trial." "Roger didn't say that anything was definite," Cindric said. "He just said that it would be much more difficult at that point in time, which obviously it is." Because of the IRL's offseason testing ban, Penske wouldn't need Castroneves until spring training at Homestead in late March.
Castroneves, 33, was indicted in October on six counts of tax evasion, and one count of conspiracy to defraud the government. He allegedly failed to report about $5.5-million of income for 1999 through 2004.