In just eight short years Carl Edwards has had a storied NASCAR career, moving his way from the Camping World Truck Series to NASCAR’s elite Sprint Cup Series, winning a Nationwide Series Championship and chalking up numerous wins in between. He is considered one of NASCAR’s most voracious competitors.
In the first 10 years of his career, Carl Edwards accumulated two NASCAR-sanctioned track championships, three Rookie-of-the-Year honors, and over 75 feature wins while racing on both dirt and pavement tracks across the country. The drive and determination that Edwards showed in those 10 years launched him into a successful NASCAR career that continues into 2011.
Growing up in Missouri, racing was not new to Edwards. His father, Carl Edwards Sr., had been racing modified stock cars and USAC midgets for four decades, accumulating over 200 feature wins at several Midwestern tracks. Carl Edwards Jr., began his racing career in 1993 at the age of 13 driving four-cylinder cars.
In 1994, following his father’s winning ways, Edwards won four feature races running on the tracks around Missouri and Illinois in the four-cylinder series. Throughout the 1995 and 1996 seasons he collected 14 additional feature wins in the four-cylinder series. In 1997 Edwards switched to the dirt circuit to compete in the NASCAR Dirt Modified division. In 1998 he won Rookie-of-the-Year honors in the modified division at Capital Speedway in Holt Summit, Mo. Edwards picked up the pace in 1999 as he competed in the Modified (two-barrel) division and the Dirt Late Model class at Capital Speedway. He gathered 13 feature wins in the Modified division on his way to the NASCAR Track Championship.
The NASCAR Weekly Racing Series was Edwards’ next challenge in 2000. In the Pro-Modified (four-barrel) division, Edwards won 13 feature races, was Rookie-of-the-Year, and claimed the Capital Speedway Track Championship. Looking for additional challenges in 2000, he also competed in three Sportsman division races at California, Mo., and Capital Speedway – winning all three races.
Edwards won nine out of the 11 Baby Grand division races in which he competed in 2001, and claimed the championship in 2002. He also ran five USAC Silver Crown Series pavement races, and continued gaining valuable experience. He continued to compete in the USAC Series in 2002, but it was his seven NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races for MB Motorsports that changed his career forever. A top-10 finish at Kansas caught the attention of Jack Roush who needed a driver for his own truck team.
In 2003, Edwards joined Roush Fenway Racing to drive the No. 99 Ford F-150 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
He had an amazing rookie season, capturing three wins, one pole, 13 top-five finishes, 15 top-10 finishes and the Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year award. He finished the season eighth in the point standings. Edwards kicked off the 2004 NASCAR truck season with a bang by winning the season-opener at Daytona, and followed that up with two more wins at Kansas and Bristol. In August, Edwards got the nod from Jack Roush to move up to the Sprint Cup Series to finish the season in the No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford Taurus, as well as the remaining races on the truck schedule. Edwards made his Cup debut at Michigan bringing home a 10th-place finish. Edwards joined Matt Kenseth, Rusty Wallace, Terry Labonte and Kyle Petty as one of only five active Cup drivers to finish inside the top 10 in their first career Cup start. Edwards went on to finish fourth in the overall truck series standings while recording five top-10 finishes in his 13 Cup starts, including a third-place effort at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
In 2005 Edwards conquered both the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series full-time. Edwards was once again named Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year, this time in the Nationwide Series, while taking home five wins, four poles, 15 top-five and 21 top-10 finishes in 34 starts. Edwards also led 525 total laps in the No. 60 Ford and finished third in the overall point standings.
Edwards made a big impression on fans, media and competitors alike when he took to the track in 2005 in the Sprint Cup Series. He accrued four wins, 13 top-five and 18 top-10 finishes while finishing third in the overall point standings. He technically tied for second with teammate Greg Biffle, just 35 points behind first, but with six race wins Biffle was awarded second. Edwards set numerous records in the No. 99 Ford winning his first Cup and Nationwide races at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March, becoming the only driver in history to achieve that feat. He went on to sweep both Cup races at Atlanta, a track first. For win number two in the Cup Series, he amazed fans when he won at Pocono, becoming only the second driver to win in his first visit to the tri-oval. Richard Petty was the first when he won the inaugural Cup race there. It was truly a Cinderella year for the rookie driver.
While running his second full schedule in both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series, the 2006 season proved to be one of Edwards’ biggest challenges. After a sluggish start in the Cup Series he rebounded and completed the season with a very strong finish. While in contention for 11th place in the points, Edwards finished in the top 10 in seven of his last 10 races, finishing the season with 10 top-five and 20 top-10 finishes. This was an outstanding rebound that enabled Edwards to finish 12th overall in the Cup point standings. On the Nationwide side, Edwards had a great run as he moved up one spot from 2005 and finished second in the overall Nationwide Series standings with four wins, three poles, 15 top-five and 25 top-10 finishes.
In 2007 Edwards’ dedication and fortitude kept him atop the leader board for 33-consecutive weeks in the Nationwide Series. He claimed four wins, 15 top-five and 21 top-10 finishes in the No. 60 Ford on his way to claiming his first career NASCAR title. Edwards won the Nationwide Series driver’s championship by 618 points and his title marked the second Nationwide Series championship for Roush Fenway.
Edwards made the Chase in the Sprint Cup Series. He showed consistency all year but a competitive field forced Edwards and the No. 99 team to fight for every spot on the track. On his way to a ninth-place finish in the point standings, Edwards chalked up three wins, 11 top-five and 15 top-10 finishes.
Heading into the 2008 season Edwards was deemed a top contender in both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series. For the third time in four years he made the Chase in the Sprint Cup Series and showed consistency all through the season, but was spectacular in the Chase by winning three of the last four races. The amazing run extended the speculation on the championship until the last race of the year, narrowly losing to Jimmie Johnson by 69 points. Edwards claimed the second-place spot fighting for every point as he chalked up a personal high nine wins, 19 top-five and 27 top-10 finishes.
Edwards also claimed the second spot in the overall standings in the Nationwide Series. He finished just 21 points behind series leader Clint Bowyer. This was the fourth-closest finish in Nationwide Series history. The No. 60 team finished 2008 with seven wins, 19 top fives, 22 top 10s and four poles. Edwards topped off 2008 by winning the Tag Heuer Top Racecar Driver of the Year Award and the National Motorsports Press Association voted him as the Richard Petty Driver of the Year Award. He was also the choice for 2008 NASCAR.COM Driver of the Year.
Although winless in the Sprint Cup Series in 2009, Edwards achieved Chase status once again by finishing 11th in the overall series standings with seven top-five and 14 top-10 finishes. He also finished second in the Nationwide Series standings. Statistically this was Edwards’ best Nationwide Series result with five wins, 23 top-five and 30 top-10 finishes.
After a slow start to the 2010 Cup season, Edwards came on strong in the second half. He ended a 70-race winless streak at Phoenix and then won again at Homestead the following week. After being in 12th place and worried about making the Chase at the end of June, Edwards ended the season fourth in the Chase standings with two wins, nine top fives, 19 top 10s and three poles. He also claimed his fourth runner-up finish in the Nationwide point standings with four wins, 19 top fives, 27 top 10s and three poles.
When he’s not on-track, Edwards enjoys spending time in Columbia, Mo., with his family, including wife Kate, daughter Anne and son Michael. Edwards enjoys riding bicycles, working out and reading. He is also passionate about his philanthropic activities which include working with charities such as Speedway Children’s Charities, Dream Factory and Victory Junction Gang Camp.