Relax, trainer has Edwards' fitness tailored to schedule


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

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."