Every driver in NASCAR is running one epic race this weekend. But Carl Edwards is the only one who's running two at once.
Edwards, who has an outside shot to win the Daytona 500, is going to be a father soon. Real soon. As in, before-this-time-next-week soon. And that's making for some nervous times around the Edwards household. Which will come first, the checkered flag or a baby #99? For now, Edwards and wife Kate are just crossing their fingers.
"I'm a little nervous," Edwards said at a Thursday press conference. "It won't be long. The due date is Wednesday. I've got my new phone that Sprint gave me that's working well--" smooth plug, yes? -- "and I'm just waiting for a phone call."
Now, Edwards is a guy who's tough enough to throw fists in the garage or credibly emcee a wrestling match, but to hear him tell it, he's an outright puppy dog -- and the kind of daddy-to-be that makes every other dad look bad. He's been flying back and forth between Daytona and his home in Missouri over the course of the past week; Thursday night, he was building the crib.
And in one of those "awwww..." moments that's the equal of any soft-focus Winter Olympics feature, he's been taking pictures of Kate from the same spot every week to show the baby's growth. And just recently, they've noticed something very different: "I asked her if it felt like it's moving down at all because they say that's what happens before the baby comes out," Edwards said. "So we reviewed the pictures and the last picture looks a lot different." Uh-oh. I mean ... good news!
So the big question, then -- what happens if the baby decides to make its debut on Sunday? "I guess we'll have a baby," Edwards said laughing. "I'm not getting into it because anything can happen, so we're just going to go race and hopefully all the baby happening will happen on Monday."
In all seriousness, Edwards has announced that he will race even if Kate goes into labor. However, should Edwards be in a situation where he's got no chance of winning, he has a plan B: driver Mike Wallace has been running practice laps just in case.
"I don't want to ride around 20 laps down with the hood ripped off the car just to finish 33rd and miss the birth like that," Edwards said. "I'm going to race."
With all the sponsorship exposure that's on the line, would it be crass to suggest that Aflac, Claritin and Subway will be keeping the hot sauce and the stress far, far away from Mrs. Edwards this weekend? It would? Okay, then, we'll just wish the best for the happy parents-to-be ... and hope that the baby doesn't quite make its debut just yet.
Or, as Edwards put it at a Saturday press conference: "She's keeping her legs crossed, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed."
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