It’s definitely an “away” game for Carl Edwards.
Edwards, the No. 4 finisher in this year’s Sprint Cup championship Chase, is in Dusseldorf, Germany this weekend driving in the Race of Champions, a competition matching drivers from an assortment of countries and disciplines.
Edwards and extreme/action sports driver Travis Pastrana, 11 times a gold medalist in the X Games, will team to represent the United States against such drivers as Formula One champion Sebastian Vettel, former F1 champ Michael Schumacher, World Rally king Sebastien Loeb and Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen.
Competition is scheduled Saturday and Sunday on a purpose-built stadium course in Dusseldorf. The drivers will race on parallel tracks with a crossover bridge that results in each driver traveling the same distance after two laps.
Pastrana, highly regarded internationally, has signed a deal with Michael Waltrip Racing to run several Nationwide Series races next year.
“I’m going with Travis Pastrana, so I’ll be curious to talk to him a little bit about that,” Edwards said. “He’s a wild man. I think that will be good for him to come here. Hopefully, he does well.
“We go over there, and I get to see a country I’ve never seen. I get to race against guys like Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel and Sebastien Loeb – he’s amazing. That’ll be fun.”
Edwards left the U.S. Thursday after enjoying Thanksgiving with his family and is scheduled to return Tuesday so he can be in Las Vegas for next week’s Champion’s Week activities.
In Dusseldorf, the drivers will compete in a variety of cars, including the Porsche 911, the Audi R8 LMS and the Volkswagen Scirocco.
Edwards also raced in the ROC in 2008 in London. Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon also have represented the U.S. in the event, which crowns individual and team champions.
‘When we did it at Wembley Stadium [in London], it was really, really tough,” Edwards said. “It was a really short course, and they were cars that I’d never driven before, so it was really interesting. I think it makes me a better driver, though, because I got to ride with Sebastien Loeb, and he’s the best driver I’ve ever ridden with.
“I’ve never seen anything like it with the way he drove the car through the wet, tight course. That was amazing.”
Mike Hembree is NASCAR Editor for SPEED.com and has been covering motorsports for 28 years. He has written several books on NASCAR, including "NASCAR: The Definitive History of America's Sport" and "Then Tony Said To Junior: The Best NASCAR Stories Ever Told". He is a six-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.