Sports

CUP: First Christmas For Some NASCAR Dads

While the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup record book will chronicle the on-track results of drivers in 2010, for a select few this past season will carry a more-important memory: Fatherhood.

Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, closed out the 2010 season with back-to-back victories at Phoenix International Raceway and Homestead-Miami Speedway. The strong finish allowed Edwards to finish fourth in points, best of the three Roush Fenway drivers in the Chase.

But longterm, the biggest event in Edwards’ life this year was that he became a first-time father on Feb. 24th, when his wife Kate gave birth to daughter Anne.

Edwards was joined in new fatherhood by five-time defending NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, who along with wife Chandra welcomed Genevieve Marie Johnson into the world on July 7. On Nov. 18, Ryan and Krissie Newman became first-time parents with the birth of daughter Brooklyn Sage. Eleven days later, Carter Scott McMurray was born to parents Jamie and Christy McMurray.

Add in the birth of Juan Pablo Montoya's third child, daughter Manuela on July 19, and Jeff Gordon's second child — son Leo Benjamin was born Aug. 9 — and it was a busy year for babies in the NASCAR garage.

Of course, the best part might be that the first-time dads get to celebrate their first Christmases with their children, which is always an emotional experience.

Edwards said he has fond memories of Christmas when he was a child.

“Christmas for us at the Edwards house was always a lot of fun,” he said. “I wouldn't say my dad was a scrooge, but he kind of downplayed it. He and my mom really played off one another real well.”

And it sounds like Christmas in his house as a kid was a very All-American event.

“My mom was super into Christmas,” said Edwards. “We would wake up on Christmas morning, and I woke up at 6 a.m. every morning when I was a kid anyways, I'd jump out of bed and go wake him up and my dad would take forever to get up.

“They'd be like, ‘Nah, we'll just wait a little bit, get some coffee, go take a shower,’ and I'm like, ‘Come on dad! Come on! Let's go open some presents!’ So, it was always good, really neat.”

Family and friends played key roles in the Edwards family Christmases back in the day, according to the driver.

“It was always a time where we could get together with the family and the neighbors and everybody would have a good time and every once in a while there'd be some snow,” he said.

“To me the biggest thing about Christmas when you're a kid is getting that bicycle or something you really want, you know what I mean? You don't think of it as a time to get together with everyone, but now it's just about family and friends.”

Tom Jensen is the Editor in Chief of SPEED.com, Senior NASCAR Editor at RACER and a contributing Editor for TruckSeries.com. You can follow him online at twitter.com/tomjensen100 and e-mail him at Jensen is the author of “Cheating: The Bad Things Good NASCAR Nextel Cup Racers Do In Pursuit of Speed,” and has appeared on numerous television and radio shows. Jensen is the past President of the National Motorsports Press Association and an NMPA Writer of the Year.