WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. — Prior to the Cheez-It 355 at the Glen weekend this week, Watkins Glen International embarked on a massive repaving project that tore out the entire racing surface and laid brand new asphalt and curbing in the corners.
WGI laid an amount of asphalt equal to laying twenty-two miles of asphalt on a two-lane road, including the NASCAR circuit and ‘The Boot’, which is not utilized on the NASCAR course.
Edwards was both insightful in his commentary of the repaved course, but also took some time to rehash some rather knee-slapping moments that he has encountered at the track that overlooks Seneca Lake in Upstate New York.
Edwards started Friday’s media availability with a memory of his first two testing sessions — one of which Casey Mears poked fun at him, without knowing he had done so.
“My first time here, I didn’t even make a full lap in the No. 99 car,” said Edwards. “I backed it into the wall. It was a little embarrassing.”
It just wasn’t nearly as embarrassing as when Edwards was chatting with Mears in the garage later in the day.
“He said ‘Hey, did you see that idiot out there in the red and white car that backed it into the fence?’,” Edwards described. “I said ‘Yeah, Casey, that was me.'”
But no, that was not all for a young Edwards, trying to learn the craft of the road course.
“So to come back here after that test, I crashed the No. 60 XFINITY car,” Edwards said. “Brad Parrot was my crew chief and he wouldn’t unload the backup car. He said we needed to sit for awhile, because at that rate we were going to be heading home in the next thirty minutes.”
Edwards did, however, figure out the road course at WGI. He comes into Sunday’s race with the best average finish of all drivers who have competed in the last ten WGI Sprint Cup Series races.
The question still remained, though: How was the new surface and what were his thoughts after Friday’s practice sessions?
“They did a really good job with the repave,” said Edwards. “There are no problem spots. It has yet to be seen, how the tires will fall off and how the cars will run together. The speeds are fast and we didn’t have any trouble out there.”
Edwards thinks that qualifying will be important and set up how the rest of the weekend will go, as well as what strategies they might employ.
“We’re just going to try and qualify well and see how the race goes,” Edwards continued. “These races can go any possible way, so we’re just not sure what to expect yet.”
But with the 2.45 mile road course fitted with new asphalt, Edward was asked if that changed how the team set up his Arris Toyota or how he drove the car now?
“We did change the car a little bit,” said Edwards. “Then for me as a driver, I don’t remember all my old marks I just know there’s some new ones out there. It took me awhile to get my marks right. I ran over the curbs wrong a few times … but it’s kind of fun to show up at a place and have to catalog everything again.”
Listen in to Carl Edwards’ media availability from Friday afternoon at Watkins Glen:
About the Writer
Steven Ovens is the Northeast Dirt Correspondent for Race Chaser Online and the creator and host of the Turn 5 Live dirt track racing radio show, airing at 7:30 p.m. Eastern every Tuesday on the Performance Motorsports Network.
Ovens has spent his lifetime in the sport of dirt track racing, growing up in the garages of the Kerrick and Ovens families. He spent 11 years behind the wheel between go-karts and 4 Cylinder Mini Stocks which brings a unique perspective to his dirt track editorials.
The 29-year-old has a career in the growing health care business world, and is also serving as the full-time announcer and PR Director for both Outlaw Speedway (formerly Black Rock Speedway) in Dundee, N.Y. and Woodhull Raceway in Woodhull, N.Y.
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