Race fans were treated to something against the norm on May 15, as Carl Edwards and Jeff Burton represented Dover International Speedway and Pocono Raceway, respectively, in the inaugural Team Dover vs. Team Pocono celebrity softball game.
In an effort to promote their race weekends — June 1-3, 2012 for the Monster Mile, and June 8-10 for “The Tricky Triangle,” — the tracks brought both Edwards and Burton in to lead teams of media members and track representatives in a game played at Campbell’s Field, home of the Camden Riversharks in Camden, N.J.
Through illegal roster practices and by bringing professional baseball players in as ineligible pinch hitters, Team Pocono was able to defeat Team Dover, 9-8, in the friendly exhibition game.
Team Dover jumped out to a big lead early, going up 6-0 on Team Pocono over the first few innings, with Edwards driving in the first run of the game with an RBI single, and Dover players Mike Dill (Combat Sports) and Chris Flood (Delaware State News) each hammering two homeruns.
Edwards was no stranger to the base paths all day, finding familiarity with the pattern of making left turns at each base. However, he said he has a lot easier time making left turns with more speed in a racecar.
“I’m not real fast,” he jokingly said of his foot speed.
Stellar defense from second baseman Edwards, as well as shortstop Tim Horne (Dover International Speedway) and third baseman Scott Walsh (Scranton Times-Tribune), helped Monster Mile pitcher Tom Sredenschek (Fox Philadelphia) keep runs off the board early.
With Dover still cruising in the fifth inning, Team Pocono, in an effort to avoid embarrassment, began trotting out members of the Camden Riversharks to pinch hit. This highly unethical practice allowed Pocono to get the score close before the team’s manager, Kevin Heaney, put his squad ahead 9-8 with a two-run homerun in the sixth inning.
Despite the loss, Edwards and Team Dover were in high spirits, knowing they played by the book and refused to resort to cheating. All rule violations aside, however, both drivers, track representatives and media members were able to come together for a fun day on the field, and a chance to get the word out about the Dover and Pocono races.
Asked about his upcoming trip to the Monster Mile for the June 3 “FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, Edwards said he always enjoys his races on the one mile, concrete oval because of the feeling you get as a driver.
“I love Dover, it is a blast,” he said. “It gives you the highest sense of speed. It is so much fun.”
Burton echoed those sentiments, adding that Dover is a track that drivers can’t expect to sit back at and be successful.
“You have to attack, you can’t just ride around, you have to be aggressive,” he said. “I like Dover, it is one of my favorite tracks.”
For more photos from the event, courtesy of TriStateMediaOnline.com, click here.
Tickets are available for the June 1-3, 2012 race weekend at Dover International Speedway, featuring the June 3 “FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, the June 2 “5-hour ENERGY 200” NASCAR Nationwide Series race and the June 1 “Lucas Oil 200” NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race.
For tickets or more information, call 800-441-RACE or click here.