This weekend is the Daytona 500 - the beginning of the NASCAR season. A former student of mine at Mizzou, Carl Edwards, will be racing the #99 Green Lantern car (how cool is that car?). The Columbia Daily Tribune has a nice write-up on Carl in today's edition. Carl is a real nice guy, and a helluva good driver. He is also, apparently, a practical joker.
While he was teaching the competition a lesson in racing, he was receiving one in human nature. He was routinely booed and accused of cheating after victories.
"I’m so grateful for that experience, but at the time, it was the most miserable thing in the world for me," Edwards said. "My friends and I worked day and night. I spent every dime that we had and more. We’d take the race car down there, and essentially the oldest person on our team was 21 years old. We had a lot of success and won a lot of races. I assumed that when that would happen, you’d earn some respect and everyone would be happy for you, but instead, the opposite happened."
Since they were accused of cheating anyway, Edwards and his crew chief, childhood friend Carl Giacchi, decided to have fun with it.
"They took Styrofoam and cut it and painted it to make it look like a piece of lead. Carl Giacchi would carry it through the pits like it was the heaviest thing he could carry," Sterling said. "They would take it and bolt it onto the frame of the car, so people would think it was adding weight to the car. They would put up a checkered curtain over the back of the rear end and do this stuff, and everybody and their brother wanted to know what Carl Edwards was doing because he would always win. The next race, you’d see people with real lead."
That's ripe. Now I have to find a Carl Edwards hat.