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A Baby Boom in NASCAR, and three new Jack Roush fans are on the way

  Car owner Jack Roush opened one of his big 'air force' hangers to host the annual pre-season Charlotte Media Tour, and there was a lot of news: Here Edsel Ford II making the point clear that the legendary Wood brothers (Len and Eddie here) will be getting renewed support from Ford Motor Company in 2011. Good news, for sure, for promising new driver Trevor Bayne (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern


   Vietnam may be distant history, far distant history for many Americans today, and Carl Edwards says his 10-day bicycle ride through the Mekong Delta over the holidays was an eye-opener.
    Why Vietnam?
   "I know a lot of folks whose parents had been over there, so I wanted to understand that conflict better," Edwards said.

    "I wanted to see it with my own eyes.
   "And I felt it would be so something so different. And it was.
    "It was an unbelievable trip. We went over there to ride some bikes and experience a different culture.
    "The language barrier was hilarious.
   "They don't have all the foods we have. So the first stop on the bicycle nobody ate much. But the next stop we were so hungry we ate whatever they gave us.
   "It was just a really neat experience. I appreciate our country and the things we have here more than ever."

    Edwards and the rest of the Jack Roush guys hosted the Charlotte Media mob Thursday, and aside from the usual racing stuff and Daytona talk, there were three particularly notable points:
    -- Carl Edwards' trip to Vietnam;
    -- the announcement that the wives of Edwards, Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth are all expecting new babies this summer. Biffle's due date is July 10th.
    -- and the realization that this is the contract year for Edwards, Biffle and Kenseth. Roush says he's leaving all the negotiations up to Steve Newmark, the operation's new president (replacing veteran Geoff Smith), and the lawyers. Biffle says he's been working on his contract for some four months, and Biffle pointed out that in this economy drivers really don't have many options, not that he would consider moving on: "I'm happy right here." Biffle and Roush just spent three days at sponsor 3M's headquarters in discussions.
     Yes, Biffle did post the quickest single-car laps in last week's Daytona testing, which indicates he'll be going for the pole. And Biffle, remember, did make the winning move at Daytona a year ago, only to be foiled by those three green-white-checkered finishes. But Biffle says he's more fired up about the opportunity to win this year's championship.
   However it was Edwards' holiday vacation was so captivating.  
   It apparently was more of an adventure than he'd planned.
   "I was ready to come home," Edwards conceded. "I had this planned as just a great escape....and a few days in I was ready to come home.  But it was a good experience.
   "The general living conditions, the amount of food they had, or didn't have, the quality of the water, the way their news is delivered is completely different.
   "When you go to the museum there, the presentation, and lack of objective media was just amazing.
   "We went to the War Relics Museum in Ho Chi Minh City, and it was  a pretty amazing presentation of the Vietnam conflict....or I guess they call it the American war.
    "To see the war through their eyes....
    "I am proud to be an American. Even as I stood there and read what they wrote...it made me realize that war is just a terrible, terrible thing. 
   "So we're just really, really fortune to have all the information we have, and the way we have it. And health care, and food, and water...."
   One of Edwards' riding buddies had parents who had served in Vietnam. "And it gave him a whole different perspective of the experience his parents must have had.
   "I can't imagine fighting a war in that environment, in that culture. The language barrier is impossible, the geography of the land would be impossible to navigate through."
    NASCAR wasn't on the radar over there. "But I did see one guy with a Ford tee-shirt on, and he was unloading a truck. There was zero language. But I got him to pose with me for a picture.
   "He had no idea why this guy wanted his picture."


  An eye-opening trip to Vietnam for Carl Edwards (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)



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