Atlanta II: Winning team press conference, part 2

Continued from part 1 Q: Could you talk about when you were coming off pit road with the 48, just what happened in that incident? Did you think it was dirty pool or fair game or circumstances on pit road? CARL EDWARDS: Bob had a better...

Continued from part 1

Q: Could you talk about when you were coming off pit road with the 48, just what happened in that incident? Did you think it was dirty pool or fair game or circumstances on pit road?

CARL EDWARDS: Bob had a better look at it. A lot of people brought that up. I don't know if they were making something about that in the coverage of the race. Jimmie's job is not to make it easy on us. You know what I mean? If he was behind us on pit road, I might leave mine hanging out a little farther than normal. I thought he put it far enough in the box. I didn't think he was purposely making it hard on us. But they're not supposed to make it easy on us. I didn't have any trouble with that. No hard feelings about that from me.

Q: Carl, so far no driver has been able to sweep races at a track this year. You have the chance to do that at Texas next week. I understand you're doing some flight training tomorrow.

CARL EDWARDS: What am I doing tomorrow?

Q: Flight training.

CARL EDWARDS: Flight training. No, I got this aerobatic plane. I've been doing some flight training. I don't have any scheduled for tomorrow. Tomorrow I'm just going to fly. I don't know if I'm going to learn much. But we're going to have a good time with it. Jack has me kind of screwed up with airplanes. It's fun. Sure as hell is expensive. But it's fun. We have a good time.

JACK ROUSH: A driver being somewhat in debt for a passion or another, it's not a bad thing. Racehorses, airplanes...

CARL EDWARDS: I got this airplane. It's an Extra 300. Something I'm excited about doing this week, going and flying that thing. It's got the smoke system. It will do loops and barrel rolls. My girlfriend actually went with me the other day. Hung on it for most of the day.

JACK ROUSH: Fiancée.

CARL EDWARDS: She's my fiancée. That's crazy. Sorry, Kate. I'm terrible. She'll forgive me. Texas is going to be fun. I like racing there. It's a lot like this place. It's fast. It's fun. I'm sure Bob will have a great setup. He does a really good job at these tracks. I feel like he can almost read my mind as far as what I want. There wouldn't be much better place to double up than Texas. That's a really great race. Very important at this point in the season to run well there.

Q: Carl, Jimmie Johnson talked about how he didn't think the tires were very much improved from the March race to this race now. You talked about how much you love the track, being like a dirt track. Two different perspectives. Do you think the tires improved at all?

CARL EDWARDS: I was glad they didn't screw them up. I thought they were perfect in the spring. That's just the way I feel. I know a lot of people don't feel that way. But maybe it's because I got these guys sitting next to me, we've got such great racecars.

But I enjoy when you got to push the pedals a lot, move the steering wheel a lot. It puts it back in the driver's hands. It's really like a 500 mile Saturday night dirt track race. You're driving the whole time. That's fun.

JACK ROUSH: From Bob and I's point of view, when you have a tire that's so good for a racetrack that you can run it, you can abuse it and run it for a full fuel run, not have any consequence of not having your setup right, it really doesn't give you much to work with. The tire they had here, if you get off a little bit, if you overheat one tire, you're going to have a consequence of really having a car slow down. That really lets the crew chiefs for the setup and the driver that gives their best input have the best chance.

We like to race the tires. We'd like for the tires not to be perfect. They were good tires even though they fell off quite a bit.

Q: Carl, if before the Chase someone told you you'd be 183 points back with three to go, do you think there would be any thought you'd be second in the standings?

CARL EDWARDS: Are we second right now?

KERRY THARP: Yes.

CARL EDWARDS: I didn't know. No, I mean, listen, guys, anything can happen. If there's one thing this season has shown me and all of us I guess here is that every time you think you got figured out who is going to be the guy to beat, you know, I think it can turned on its head quickly.

I'm telling you, as long as we're within 130 points going to Homestead or whatever, we're still going there to win the championship and it can happen.

It would have been hard for me to believe that there would be one guy that had that big of a lead right now. But if I had to pick a guy, I'd say it's Jimmie Johnson. Those guys are really consistent. They do their jobs. But they can have the same luck that we've had, that's for sure.

Q: I've got to believe Jack was serious when he talked about a Mulligan in the Chase. Taking yourselves away from your team, what you've encountered, Bob and Carl, do you believe the Chase should include the ability to throw one race out? Do you seriously believe that would be a good idea?

CARL EDWARDS: You got to be careful because next year we might have a 183 point lead. I think it depends. It would be good right now for sure (smiling). Maybe throw out two, that would be great.

JACK ROUSH: I raced for 20 years, 20 some years, before I started with NASCAR stock car racing back in '88. I raced in a couple of series and had great championship runs with programs where they did throw out one or two races. They didn't have a 10 race deal at the end of the season, but throughout the year. What that really meant was that until you'd used up your Mulligan, you raced as hard as you could go every lap. If you didn't have a Mulligan, then you have to be somewhat more cautious. It's more exciting if you're able to go as hard as you can until you realize that it will really hurt you.

CARL EDWARDS: That's a good point. It might make the racing there will be guys you can take bigger risks if you haven't used your Mulligan. I think that's part of what the Chase format has brought about, knowing that you've got 26 races. I know for us it was really fun about four to go before the Chase started, we knew we were in. I just drove as hard as I could. We tried a bunch of stuff. It made it a lot of fun.

BOB OSBORNE: I don't see why not. I don't think NASCAR wants to see their championship won by this many points, for sure. I don't want to see it won by this many points. I don't think anybody wants to see it won by this many points.

If they come up with a format that can adjust and make the Chase even that much more competitive, that would be wonderful.

Q: Carl, all the good things that happened today, is there some discouragement in the fact you came in here 199 points and you only gained 16 points?

CARL EDWARDS: Really there isn't. We came here and did what we had to do. We won the race. Man, that's all we can do. I'd be a fool to go home and be discouraged by that. You've got to build on that, move on, and hopefully win at the next three of them.

Just amazement at how well Chad, Jimmie and those guys rebounded. I was telling somebody out there, I don't know how many times I've been riding along third or fourth on a restart, there's the 48 a lap down on the inside line. I think,

Man, their day's ruined.  By the end of the race, somehow they make it back
up there.  I think we can all learn from that.

Q: You've been extremely strong on these intermediate tracks. What do you credit your strong performance at these tracks with?

CARL EDWARDS: That's a good question. I think it's a lot of things. These guys sitting next to me. The guys at the shop building the engines. Robbie Reiser. All of my teammates sharing information. I think that these tracks tax every aspect of your team. You have to have good pit stops, good engine, good aero package, good communication with the crew chief. Then for me driving it, they feel a lot like a half mile dirt track or something like that, the way the momentum works, all that. I really just enjoy the feel of these places. Right off the bat we had really good cars in 2004, 2005 at these places. I really like 'em.

Q: The last three winners here of this race went on to win the next week in Texas. Assess your chances of keeping that streak going.

CARL EDWARDS: Man, I didn't realize that. I guess we did that in 2005. The tracks are a lot alike. I'm hoping that all the things we've been doing with Ford and all their support, the things we've been doing behind the scenes to kind of make sure that our data and everything matches up and we can run well at these tracks, I hope that it carries over.

Things change so fast. Really week to week it seems like early in the season Jimmie and those guys weren't that fast at these places, then they figured something out. I just hope that it does carry over. That would be very cool.

Q: As much as you love this racetrack, would you consider having them widen pit road?

CARL EDWARDS: That's a good question. I don't know if it's because of the size of pit road or just things are coming down to crunch time and people are getting every inch they can.

I think pit road seems to be wide enough. Honestly, they can do whatever they want with pit road; just don't touch the racetrack, it's perfect.

Q: Carl, you're not only chasing the Sprint Cup title but you're chasing the Nationwide Series title as well. How hard is it to focus on both right now?

CARL EDWARDS: I'm very fortunate to be driving both. We got fast Ford Fusions every week in both of 'em. In a way I think that it's a nice little escape from each of them. The run yesterday at Memphis was just a blast. I had a really good time. Kind of allowed me to relax a little bit. I think in a way that feeling of accomplishing something on Saturday can sometimes transfer over, had a little spring in my step today.

I don't think they take away at all. I think they kind of help one another.

KERRY THARP: Congratulations.

-credit: nascar

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jimmie Johnson