Michigan pole-sitter Carl Edwards made recent appearance on the Discovery Channels “Big Brain Theory.” As I understand it, Edwards served as a judge for a competition involving, naturally, cars. It got me to wondering……
Who are (in your opinion) the smartest drivers in NASCAR? I have a top five list (not necessarily in order) of my own to get the conversation flowing…..
1. Carl Edwards- Did you know the one time Missouri Tiger was once a substitute teacher? You don’t need to be licensed for the job, but suffice it to say you can’t be a dummy and teach either. Regardless of whether you think he’s genuine or fake, the Columbia native is always well-spoken and has the manners to shed his shades while doing an interview. If you need further proof…..he’s married to a doctor. Kate works with patients who are recovering from brain injuries.
2. Tony Stewart- I give Smoke the nod for his business acumen. Not only is he of course very involved with the racing team (Stewart Haas) that bears his name, he is also owner of the famous dirt track at Eldora. Not much is said about any formal post-high school education, but there’s ample evidence to suggest Tony has good “people sense.” He’s hired well for his organization, and the way he plays the media is the stuff of legend.
3. Ryan Newman- How many drivers can actually boast of possessing a college degree. “Rocket” can, and we’re not talking Underwater Basket Weaving from Inebriated State. The Indiana native matriculated at Purdue and earned a B.S. degree in Engineering. As I‘ve heard it told, his emphasis had to do with automobile chassis. Whether or not Newman has ever put the knowledge to use, only his crew would know, but still, getting a degree like that says something good about his gray matter.
4. Jeff Burton- He’s called “The Mayor.” As far as we know, Burton has never sat behind a desk at South Boston City Hall, but he’s been known for years as one of NASCAR’s most outspoken drivers of issues of safety. Persisting rumors have it that one day the Virginia Republican may throw his hat in the ring. Hopefully, he enjoys greater success than Richard Petty did when he ran for North Carolina Secretary of State.
5. Mark Martin- Huh? Think about it, the man is in his mid-50s and he still races. Most fans know the Flying Wrinkle is a fitness fiend, having sworn off beer and cheeseburgers years ago. Martin’s proclivity for weight lifting has become contagious, as you hear of more and more drivers developing a workout routine and competing in sports outside of NASCAR. He may not top the list for book smarts, but for being smart enough to live a well-balanced life and take care of himself, Mark Martin makes my list.
The list by no means ends here. Kurt Busch once considered a career in pharmacy. Kurt’s brother Kyle had a 4-plus point GPA while he was doing his high school studies at home as he was trying to get his racing career started. You can also make an argument for Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his business IQ.
What say you? By no means is this to be taken all that seriously. All these guys may really be that smart or as dumb as a bag of doughnuts, who really knows?
It makes for a fun discussion though.