FYI WIRZ: Five Top NASCAR Sprint Cup Drivers Talk Tough, Fast Work

Dwight DrumCorrespondent IIIFebruary 19, 2014

Carl Edwards walks to work in the Daytona International Speedway garage.
Carl Edwards walks to work in the Daytona International Speedway garage.Dwight Drum

Most often NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers share bumping, turning and passing at speeds within inches of one another on an edge that few will ever know. But here Kasey Kahne, Kurt Busch, Paul Menard, Casey Mears and Carl Edwards shared their thoughts about getting there as well.

Thousands and thousands have raced stock cars and other motorsports vehicles in many seasons and have felt incredible speed and competition, but only about 50 drivers during any one event are permitted to try to race in NSCS. Only 43 start and almost never do 43 finally finish.

NASCAR top levels include Camping World Truck Series, Nationwide Series and the epitome of stock car evolution—the NSCS—but the move from NCWTS and NNS to NSCS is way more than any step. Indeed, according to many NSCS drivers it’s even more than a giant leap.  

So how does an aspiring and resource-rich stock car driver make it to the top, the NSCS?

Contrary to some, it can’t be bought. It surely can’t be faked. It can’t be given, either

It simply must be earned with incredible drive, skill, diligence, funds and maybe with a little help from lady luck.

To succeed in any venture it might be safe to assume, requires a good work ethic. Five top NSCS drivers shared their thoughts about the origin of their work ethic.

Aspiring race car drivers hoping and dreaming about moving to the very top, might want to take note and take these earnest messages to heart. Fans might feel a lot of comfort in their honesty.

After all, these five drivers made it to the top and none had all the assets required to get there, before they arrived.

Rising to the top requires exceptional skills and funds, but that doesn’t mean this rare opportunity is any kind of easy commodity.

It takes big work and bigger determination. When it all ascends, the rise sometimes looks like magic but this incredible reality of achievement is far from things that go poof.

One question was asked of all five drivers. Where did you get your work ethic?

Most drivers claim they got their work ethic from dedicated parents. Kahne was quick to answer.  

“I got that from my dad,” Kahne said. “He taught me at a young age that you have to work hard for things and if you want something, you have to work hard to get it and stay after it.”

 Busch worked with his dad to support his early racing career.

“My dad instilled it in me,” Busch said. “You’ve got to get up early and you’ve got to stay late if you’re going to be successful. When I first started racing, it was a car that we just bought as a chassis. And he said if you build it, you can race it.”

Hands-on efforts led to heads-up success.

“He taught me everything about the car, which gave me a better understanding of the amount of work and time that it takes to build something and then to respect it when you have it.”

Menard has a successful father who owns a home improvement chain.

“Both my parents have tremendous work ethics,” Menard said. “My dad built a business after growing up as a farm kid and waking up at 4:30 a.m. and milking cows.  He vowed to not do that for a living so he built a business.”  

He credits his mom for her background as well.

“My mom grew up in a hard-working, blue collar family.  Her dad worked every day at a tire factory, Uniroyal. I definitely got my work ethic from my parents.”

Mears comes from a racing family that required hard work to keep rolling.

“From my dad, and my mom,” Mears said. “My mom worked countless hours trying to do everything behind the scenes to help my dad’s race program stay where it is.”

He is proud that his parents worked other jobs to support the high expense of racing.

“She did the books, she did all the travel, she did everything. And my dad was into it 24/7. They worked on backhoes throughout the week to pay for their racing habit on the weekends.”

Like many drivers, Edwards didn’t have anything handed to him and he was quick to identify his efforts.

“My family and friends from day one all of us worked together knowing that the only way any of this was gonna work out is if we worked as hard as we possibly could and got lucky,” Edwards said.

e summed it up for all five drivers who have a healthy respect for a solid work ethic.

“It’s just like anything in life, the harder you work the more opportunities you’re gonna have.”

Getting to the NSCS takes big effort, staying there takes more effort.

FYI WIRZ is the select presentation of motorsports topics by Dwight Drum at Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained from firsthand interviews or official release materials provided by sanctions, teams or track representatives.