KANSAS CITY, Kan. — NASCAR’s Carl Edwards has added another credit to his burgeoning list of accomplishments: morning talk-show host, game-show guest, television analyst and even a cartoon voice.
He’s now also a star in a country music video.
Edwards recently filmed a video for country star Sara Evans’ latest release, titled, inappropriately for a race car driver, “Slow Me Down.”
Edwards, of Columbia, Mo., plays the part of a former love interest who is being dumped by Evans, who is from nearby New Franklin, Mo.
“I had never met her before,” Edwards said. “Sara and her group thought it would be fun for me to be part of it. I run into people all the time who talk about Sara Evans. I imagine it’s probably true for her, too.
“So it was a neat thing to let me part of something with her. It will be neat for the people in central Missouri to see two central Missouri folks in that video.”
Edwards spent an entire day last month filming the video with Evans in Nashville. There is no reference to racing in the song or his being identified as a Sprint Cup driver. Edwards is wearing a black suit and gray shirt with an open collar, not his No. 99 racing suit.
“Part of the reason they had a race car driver in it was it’s a little bit tongue-in-cheek,” Edwards said, referring to the ‘Slow Me Down’ title. “It may catch some people off-guard. They’ll think, ‘He looks familiar.’ But they might have a clue who I am.
“We don’t get along very well in the video. She finally realizes ‘This is it,’ and she walks out on me.”
The most difficult aspect of acting for Edwards was spending an entire day on the set at a night club and an apartment and getting to know Evans, only to have to start shooting scenes of a couple arguing and bickering when the camera came on.
“After every take, I’d have to apologize to her and say I was sorry,” Edwards said. “We ran out of things to argue about. It looks like we’re fighting. Some of it was, ‘Hey, I really like blueberries in my pancakes. I can’t believe you didn’t put blueberries in my pancakes!’ We were just trying to come up with things to argue about.
“That kind of stuff is fun. It’s different, it’s something I’m not used to. I always learn something. I never imagined doing things like that.”
Unfortunately for Edwards, his car has mirrored the lyrics to Evans’ car by slowing down during the first three weeks of the Chase.
He finished the 26-race regular season as the Sprint Cup points leader after winning at Richmond, the final race of the regular season. When the points were re-set, Edwards began the Chase as the fifth seed, nine points behind leader Matt Kenseth.
Edwards moved up to fourth after finishes of 11th and ninth in the first two races, but Edwards plummeted to 11th — and just about out of contention — when a hub broke loose from his car and he finished 35th.
“We’re going to have to perform perfectly,” Edwards said of the remaining seven races. “We can’t have any equipment failures, and (the Chase leaders) are going to have to have trouble. At the end of the day, those top three guys are extremely fast. So we have to beat them with our racing knowledge, not pure speed right now.”
Even though a championship is now a remote possibility, it has still been a good bounce back season for Edwards, who failed to win a race or make the Chase in 2012 after losing the championship in a tie-breaker on the last lap of the final race at Homestead in 2011.
“Winning races has been the best part,” said Edwards, who also won at Phoenix in the second race of the season. “Although we haven’t had the fastest cars in a number of the races, we have capitalized when we’ve had good cars. (Crew chief) Jimmy Fennig has done a good job with strategy, the pit crew has been spectacular. Nobody has quit. Everybody in the shop is working harder than ever … the whole year has been a hard-fought battle.”
There’s no place where Edwards wants to win more is at Kansas Speedway, where he has yet to win a Cup race. He qualified second last spring but finished a disappointing 17th.
Edwards admits he sometimes puts too much pressure on himself to win at Kansas, where he has so many friends and family members in the stands.
“That race is special to me,” he said. “If I have any shot at winning it, I’m going to pull out every stop I can to win it. I’m willing to take more risk there than any place we go.”