NASCAR's Underdog On Top
While Edwards chases checkered flags, Darren Beach chases his dream.
"Back when we did modifieds, and grandpa had a midget, I never thought he'd be jumping over the wall and working on a NASCAR Busch Series car. But he's there and it's cool," said David Beach, Darren's brother.
Four years ago the New Franklin native left his Mid-Missouri job working with concrete hoping for a soft landing with NASCAR.
"I was tired of it, you know that's why I said, 'Let's take a chance and go to North Carolina and go do what I really want to do and it worked out," said Beach.
"Yeah a lot of people don't know this, Darren packed up all his stuff and moved to Charlotte, slept essentially on a mattress on the floor in my apartment and worked for free for six months. That was a big gamble," said Edwards.
"That was probably one of the biggest things I've ever done. Just to load up a toolbox and some clothes and head to North Carolina is pretty tough," said Beach.
Beach helping Edwards isn't anything new. He's been Edward's mechanic since the start.
"The first day I went down there with my new modified to Holts Summit, I didn't have really anybody helping me except my buddy Carl Giacchi, and here comes Darren and he says 'Hey the guy I was supposed to help didn't show up, do you mind if I help you with your car?' from that day on he'd come over every day after work to my shop and work on the car, said Edwards.
"I was in Columbia working and I went over and started hanging out with him and racing with him, and was enjoying it and seemed like we just gelled and were having fun, doing what we both wanted to do, and just went from there," said Beach.
He still helps fuel Edwards fire for racing, as the gasman on the number 60 Dish Network Ford. During each pit stop Darren empties two of these 90 pound gas cans, and he only has 7 seconds to empty each one.
"Now you've got fourteen seconds to get it done. It's pretty intense, but I enjoy that adrenaline rush of watching that car come at you and just go for it," said Beach.
And when New Franklin talks NASCAR it's the native son they talk about.
"Everybody knows him, all you see is Carl Edwards this and Carl Edwards that, you know? I never dreamed that any of us would have made it this far, but I'm very proud of him. It's what he's always did, I'm just proud of him, I can't really explain it," said David.
"It's cool, I can still walk in the shop and still see Darren working on the car. When I buckle in at Daytona or Charlotte or St. Louis, there's Darren Beach. That's cool, and that's how it's been for a long time. I'm glad to have a guy like that on my team," said Edwards.
A guy just like Edwards who chased a dream and caught it.
"At first, you know a million people come down there and race, and they said 'We don't have any space, we don't have any space' and now they're fighting for Darren Beach, everyone wants him," said Edwards.
Darren now lives just north of Charlotte. He met his fiance, Kim Stansberry through Edward's team. She is the scorer. They will get married after the season in December.