|IT'S ALL PERSONAL|
Carl Edwards has heard the talk about how NASCAR wants to let drivers "show more personality."
Edwards, however, learned first-hand last year that NASCAR isn't the only entity a driver has to deal with if it's perceived he steps out of line. The backlash after his confrontation with Roush Fenway Racing teammate Matt Kenseth showed him that.
Edwards said he wasn't surprised to hear fellow drivers openly criticize him after that incident.
"That's just the way it's going to be," the driver of the No. 99 Ford said. "It's competitive. We do it for 500 miles just about every weekend. You look for a weakness and attack it. As soon as there's a drop of blood out there, that's the way it goes."
If NASCAR is going to be a little more lenient on drivers showing the passion they have, Edwards can live with that.
"If it wasn't worth getting excited about, this wouldn't be worth anything," he said. "There are days when I am fighting mad after a race. It's cool to have a job you care that much about."
|THEY SAID IT|
"I don't care where these guys are from. The next guy may come from Mars. If he can win races, I am happy to have him. If they can't win, I don't care who they are." -- Team owner Chip Ganassi, who has former open-wheel stars Juan Pablo Montoya and Dario Franchitti in his cars.
"You've got to be nice to your kids. They'll pick the (nursing) home." -- Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing.
"It was tough, but I think as a team and as an organization we learned from it. We learned we needed more depth. We had two or three guys trying to make decisions for 300 people and we found that didn't work." -- Elliott Sadler, on the struggles for Gillett Evernham Motorsports DURING 2007.
"It was a lot more emotional for me than I thought it would be. I didn't realize how hard it would be until I walked back in that shop and there were no race cars in it." -- Kyle Petty, on Petty Enterprises' move from its historic headquarters in Level Cross to Mooresville.
|USE THE FORCE, JOHN|
It's not much of a stretch to say, with all respect and admiration for both of their levels of expertise and judgment, that NASCAR Sprint Cup Series director John Darby and Yoda from "Star Wars" could be distant relatives.
Still, folks who are not that thrilled with NASCAR's car of tomorrow might not fall in line on the analogy Darby used to compare the difference this year from last season, when the car was used for 16 of 36 points races.
"If you drive a Corvette and you drive a Ferrari, they're both great sports cars that handle terrifically," Darby said. "But they both have very different characteristics.
"That's one of the struggles we had in '07. When you drove the Ferrari one week and the Corvette the next, you knew there was a difference and you might have had a favorite between the two.
"Now, everybody's in the same Ferrari every week and they won't have that comparison."
|MY 2 CENTS|
Good start's a good omen
Pay attention to the start of the season.
Last year, 10 of the 12 drivers who made the Chase were among the top 12 in the standings after five races. It likely would have been 11 if Mark Martin had run a full season. Only Martin and David Stremme were in the top 12 early but didn't make the Chase, with Kurt Busch and Martin Truex Jr. taking those spots.
That was the third time in the four Chases that 10 of the top 12 drivers after five races would have made a 12-driver playoff. The exception was 2006, when eight of 12 would have been in that category.
That means 38 times in 48 chances, guys getting good starts made the cut. That's 79.2 percent.
Since the Chase format began in 2004, no driver who was in the top five after five races has been outside the top 12 after 26 races.