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Thursday, August 2, 2007
Updated: August 15, 12:49 AM ET
Relax, trainer has Edwards' fitness tailored to schedule

By Jim Benton
Scripps Howard News Service

Carl Edwards has driven in both Busch series and Nextel Cup races this season and shows no signs of slowing down.

Patrick Carpentier, Pierre Keuttel and Carl Edwards
Patrick Carpentier, left, paid tribute to his hometown Montreal Canadiens with Busch Series leader Carl Edwards, right, and Edwards' crew chief, Pierre Keuttel.

He credits trainer Dean Golich, from Carmichael Training Systems in Colorado Springs, Colo., for the fitness that has allowed him to build an 852-point lead in the Busch series and hold sixth place in the Nextel Cup points.

"I don't really get tired," Edwards said earlier this week. "I have a great trainer. I partnered up with (Golich). That's been a big help to me to have a trainer, someone that looks at my schedule, plans out my workouts, my travel days, points out bottlenecks in the season where it's going to be really tough and to train accordingly."

Edwards will fly back and forth between Montreal and Pocono this weekend for Busch and Nextel Cup races.

Golich, according to a website report, works on getting Edwards to relax as well as to get him in shape.

"When he was in the Busch car, he was relaxed and loose, but when he got into the Nextel car, he was all wound up," Golich said. "There's a lot more pressure to perform in the Nextel race, and Carl was letting it affect his body.

"When he relaxes, he wastes less nervous energy, which means he has more energy available to make good moves and decisions on the race track. The key is to learn how to relax without shutting down your emotions and competitive drive."

Emphasis on winning

When NASCAR introduced its Chase for the Nextel Cup format to determine the season champion four years ago, it left many drivers grumbling that it wasn't fair.

The Chase format, though, has been popular, and this year the ground rules have been tweaked with additional emphasis on winning.

Defending champion Jimmie Johnson, who has slipped into ninth place after finishes of 37th and 39th the past two races, could benefit from the Chase format but still believes it is not a fair way to determine the champion.

"It looks like I'll be a big beneficiary of it and I'll try to capitalize on it," Johnson said. "But when you look at (Jeff Gordon's) points situation and how strong he's been, deep down inside there's still a part of me that says, 'Man, the guy has had a great year and deserves to be the champion,' but we re-rack and it probably isn't fair.

"But the Chase is effective and it does a lot of positive things for our sport and I'm in a position where I could capitalize on a tough summer. If Jeff doesn't win the championship, I'm sure he'll have a lot of heartburn over it. A lot of us racers deep down inside might not think it's exactly right but it's different racing today than it was years back."

Gordon has a 371-point lead over second-place Denny Hamlin, but the 12 drivers who qualify for the Chase will have their points adjusted to 5,000 to begin the final 10 races of the season.

But drivers will receive 10 bonus points for victories. So, if the Chase started this week, Gordon and Johnson would start even with 5,040 points.

Pit stops

  • George Gillett -- chairman of Booth Creek Management Corp., owner of the Montreal Canadiens, and co-owner of the Liverpool soccer team in England -- said a deal for him to purchase part of Evernham Motorsports could be finalized by the end of this week.

  • Drug testing for drivers isn't a problem for Edwards. "I feel like they should test us whenever they want and however they want," he said. "Anything they can do to make sure that it's kept out of the sport would be great. I think everyone will agree: Drugs and alcohol involved with racing are bad, so anything they can do to make sure that that's not going on is good."