Atlanta: Roush, Edwards - Friday media visit

Carl Edwards and Jack Roush held their regularly-scheduled Q&A session after NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice in the AMS infield media center. WHERE IS THIS NASCAR FAMILY WE ALWAYS HERE ABOUT? EVERYONE IS ON YOU GUYS PRETTY HARD. CARL ...

Carl Edwards and Jack Roush held their regularly-scheduled Q&A session after NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice in the AMS infield media center.

WHERE IS THIS NASCAR FAMILY WE ALWAYS HERE ABOUT? EVERYONE IS ON YOU GUYS PRETTY HARD.

CARL EDWARDS: "You can tell a lot about people by the way they act about things. It's fine by me if folks want to get worked up about it. Then we've got 'em right where we want 'em. We're just racing hard, something came loose, we didn't pass inspection and we got penalized. So it's really not that big of a deal to me personally, as far as what I'm going to do in the race car, so it's almost comical to read some of the stuff. That's the way it is, that's just human nature."

JACK ROUSH: "We went through a NASCAR penalty thing back in 1990, not to drag up old stuff. Actually it wasn't at that time. When Greg Biffle was found to be with his truck manifold that they said they hadn't seen all year. So I lined everybody up and we did polygraphs and we verified it was a manifold that they had seen and that we had won races with it and it wasn't something new and it passed inspection one or more times during that race for things they had looked at. So they had seen it a dozen times. The fact that we could prove that we weren't culpable that we hadn't lied was of no consequence at that time. I think really where the rubber meets the road here is that if NASCAR has decided, and I believe they have and I'm ok with it, that if your car is out of variance to the inspection after a race and regardless of whether you're culpable or regardless if you did it with intent, it gave you an advantage that they recognize, then there is a penalty. We had a situation last year where we had a car that was, God forbid, we won a race and it was too low in the front and too high in the back. Both of those things give you an advantage and what had happened is that it had broken the left front spring. And that tipped that back end up, which puts the spoiler in the air and tipped the front down which put the air dam down close to the ground. And the fact that it wasn't half cut and it didn't have a notch in it and it broke was no relief for us because they said we had a performance advantage. And I guess the same thing happened here. We were not culpable, it was not our intent, we did not have the expectation that that thing would come off, but apparently there's enough cheaters out there that have been playing in this area that they know absolutely for sure how much it's worth and the fact that there's an advantage. I support the fact that Carl says he would have won that race with or without that panel being loose. But if is a case of the panel being loose that gave us the advantage and if they want to react to that, that's fine. It's ok. It's acceptable, just do it every time. But every time they have something that comes up that way, I'm not the one suggest they haven't done that, there is a question about the 24 car being two inches lower or whatever it was at Daytona the year before last, they decided that since the could not see intent, that it was ok and they let it go. Now, it was before qualifying, I think it was before qualifying or at qualifying they found that it was low. And they said that the team didn't intend for that to happen, so it was all right. But that may be the example of an exception where they've excluded culpability from being the thing that would determine whether or not there was a righteous penalty and whether or not the team had got an advantage. We will very likely, from where we see it right now, I will very likely corral everybody, including myself and Carl and Chris Andrews, the engineering manager, and the engineer that worked for Chris and the car chief, it's very likely that we'll go get wired up and see if we're all telling the truth. But the fact is, that we didn't intend for it to happen. It would be the dumbest thing we could possibly do since every NASCAR inspector on the race track is looking for that panel to be loose based on what the guys did at Daytona. It was not our intent to do that. It was a big surprise that it was there. It was unfortunate that it happened.

"The only reason I would consider coming back and making an appeal, and I won't be the only guy that makes that, but my vote would be for making it or not making it, if we verify that the crew chief wasn't culpable and he didn't have intent to have that happen, that's kind of a death sentence for him for six races. We may decide that Chris Andrews or somebody else does a better job, he could lose his job. He won't lose his job. He's a great guy. He's doing a great job, but if he didn't have an intent for that to happen, they took 100 points off, they took the 10 points off going into the chase, they fined $100,000. Why don't they suspend me? Why don't they keep me away from the race track? I'll go fishing."

HAS NASCAR INDICATED TO YOU THAT THEY DON'T FIND YOU CULPABLE WITH THIS?

JACK ROUSH: "No, they didn't tell me that. But I'm cool with it not mattering. If they gave Robby Gordon's crew chief, I guess, some leeway based on the fact that they felt Dodge had primarily been involved in the problem he had at Daytona with having the wrong nose on his car, and so they said, 'The crew chief can go back because we decided it wasn't his fault.' I think the same logic might flow toward Bob. If it worked for Robby Gordon's crew chief, then Bob might be cleared of wrong doing as well."

DO YOU THINK WINS SHOULD BE TAKEN AWAY AT SOME POINT?

CARL EDWARDS: "What are you supposed to do, turn back time or something? We crossed the finish line first. They took 100 points. They took 10 out of the chase and $100,000. We didn't get what you get when you win a race, so I don't know what else you're supposed to do. Guys, it's really simple. Something came loose. It wasn't legal. We got our penalty. I swear on whatever we can swear on that it was not an intentional thing. That's the way it goes. I don't even feel like I should sit up here. It doesn't change anything I'm gonna do. I just go out and drive the race car as fast as I can. It's not my responsibility to tighten that bolt."

DO THE RECENT DECISIONS ON THE NATIONWIDE TEAMS MAKE IT MORE LIKELY YOU'LL APPEAL?

JACK ROUSH: "The only basis that I see for an appeal, and as I said we'll have outside counsel or inside counsel and our general manager will all have a vote in it, as well as me, and I won't have the vote that counts, I'll just have a vote. But if we have the prospect of getting Bob Osborne back and putting the team back on track, I think it's likely we'll appeal. The idea of saying that we're gonna turn them around based on the lack of intent on the 100 points, I think that ship has sailed. I think we've got no interest. The fact is, I've appealed not less than four and probably more than six times in the 22 years I've been in this business and I've gotten relief exactly zero times, in spite of the fact that the facts were in my favor many times. So the facts don't have a lot to do with it. It's pretty much what they want to do. It's their court and it's their ball field and it's their ball and it's their bat, and I'm just glad to have a chance to catch it once in a while and to swing at it."

WHAT DO YOU SAY TO THE CREW AND HOW DO YOU STAY POSITIVE?

CARL EDWARDS: "The greatest thing is if we weren't there, Matt Kenseth probably would have won the race. If Matt wasn't there, Greg might have won the race. We've got the greatest cars out there in these Ford Fusions. We're doing really well. We're doing everything right. Obviously, these mistakes are not good that we made on pit road and that we made with that panel, but that's what I'm excited about. We're three races in and we've got two wins and that's the best start to any season that I've ever had in my life, so I feel like we've got a whole bunch to look forward to. I'm real excited about it."

HOW DIFFICULT IS IT NOT TO LET THIS BE A DISTRACTION?

CARL EDWARDS: "I believe the last year or two I believe I've been hardened a lot. The only distraction is having to come over here and sit down and talk about it. I have a very simple job and that's not to make any mistakes in that race car and go as fast as I can, so that's what I keep doing. I get my joy out of doing that job well, so for me personally, it's more of just a nuisance to have to come over here and talk about this because I know what happened and it really doesn't matter to me what other people say about it. It would be really silly for me to let that bother me when we have such a great team and so much to look forward to."

CARL EDWARDS: BIFFLE FELT A LOT OF YOUR RESURGENCE HAS TO DO WITH ROBBIE REISER. "It's great for Robbie to do that. I have a lot of respect for Robbie and that 17 team, Matt especially for being able to sacrifice in the short term for us to be better. It's really cool. Bob is gone but we just talked to him on the phone and the depth that we have there, to have Chris Andrews come and be the engineer and to have Robbie raise his hand and say, 'Hey, I want to come out here and help you guys on Sunday,' it's a huge deal for me. It's good to have Robbie in that position and I think Greg is exactly right. That's one of the big factors."

JACK ROUSH: "I'd like to comment on that, if I could. Robbie Reiser is doing a great job, but there hasn't been a cultural change. We haven't had a different manufacturer affiliation. Ford Motor Company still streams us the technology we need. The same guys are building the cars. Some of the same people are still pitting the cars, and that may be part of our problem. We're continually reviewing how we're doing on pit road and that may be one of the areas we've made least gain on over the winter, that's got our focus, but Robbie has picked up the reins that Max Jones laid down. He has brought with him strengths in manufacturing. He's brought strengths with him in team building. He's brought with him strengths in interviewing people that has been his forte on the race team and with the background he had from his father and their manufacturing business, and we've gotten to be a stronger company from that. But Max Jones and the management that preceded him had strengths as well that were different and they made their mark on the organization that's made it strong and deep. It's great to have Robbie and I hope that giving him the shot to help Carl in the race on Sunday doesn't make him want to be a crew chief enough that he rescinds his agreement he had to come and do this. But Robbie is doing a great job. The team is deep and we've got people behind Robbie that are doing a great job that are ready to grow into expanded roles in the organization, so I'm real proud of what we're doing. It's not because of any one person that we've got the performance we've got this year. It's because everybody has done a great job."

HOW MUCH OF A SAFETY RISK IS IT FOR HOT AIR TO BE SUCKED INTO THE COCKPIT THROUGH THE OIL TANK LID OPENING IN THE EVENT OF THE FIRE AND A DRIVER SAID THE BOLTS ON THE SIDE WINDOW WERE LOOSE. CAN YOU COMMENT?

JACK ROUSH: "I've heard the claim that the locking tabs for the side window were loose. That gives me heartburn. There was certainly no intent to do that. If those came loose, we've got to re-think the kind of retainers we use. Those are aviation quality retainers and if that side window comes out, it's a huge problem. There would have certainly been no interest that I had to open up two inch-and-a-quarter diameter holes in the right side window when the entire left window is out of the car with the risk that the window would come out. I can't really comment on that any more than to say if that did happen, if that was true, it was unintended on my part and I'll surely make my best effort to make sure that never happens again. The question has been asked what happens if that cap is off and you have a fire and a crash or something. First of all, if you have a crash that exposes a driver from oil from that dry sump tank, you're gonna have damage to the enclosure. The only way that something could get to the tank to cause a rupture in it is if it went through the enclosure, and once that happened, then all bets would be off and the capsule in that area of the car would be open for the means of the accident. If you had a fire, a fire that you could have in the front engine compartment could come up through the boot for the shifter, it could come in through the window. If that cover is off the oil cooler, it could come in the car behind the driver. Yes, that would be a risk. It certainly wasn't intended. We intend to have it closed and to minimize all the risk."

-credit: ford racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Greg Biffle , Robby Gordon , Carl Edwards , Jack Roush , Max Jones