This Week in Ford Racing March 14, 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Fusion, made history a year ago in Atlanta when he became the first driver in NASCAR history to record his first Busch Series...
This Week in Ford Racing
March 14, 2006
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series
Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Fusion, made history a year ago in Atlanta when he became the first driver in NASCAR history to record his first Busch Series and Nextel Cup Series victory at the same track in the same weekend. The back-to-back victories, he says, didn't change his life too much, and that he's still trying to be the best driver he can be. This weekend, Edwards, whose best finish so far this season is third at Fontana, returns to Atlanta Motor Speedway in 23rd place in the Cup standings.
CARL EDWARDS -- No. 99 Office Depot Fusion
CAN YOU PUT INTO WORDS HOW MUCH YOUR LIFE CHANGED AFTER SWEEPING THOSE TWO RACES AT ATLANTA LAST YEAR? "A lot of things have changed, but, honestly, it's no different. I still try to be the best race-car driver I can be. I think the way people perceive me and the expectations have changed a lot, but for me, I wake up the same way every morning. It was an amazing sense of accomplishment, that was great, but it also made me realize, 'Okay, that's how hard I have to work to win these things, and I'll just have to keep doing it.'"
WHAT ABOUT THAT SUNDAY MORNING, AFTER YOU WON THE BUSCH RACE BUT BEFORE YOU WON THE CUP RACE? WERE YOU THINKING SOMETHING VERY GOOD JUST HAPPENED AND MIGHT NOT HAPPEN AGAIN FOR A LONG TIME? "No, I don't think like that. I think every day, what happened yesterday doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if you have a good day or a bad day. So, I just went into Sunday thinking 'just go do the best I could do,' and you can even break that down into smaller segments, and try to do that every lap. It doesn't matter what happened, you just have to do the best you can. The weirdest part was on Sunday I knew exactly where Victory Lane was. I can't believe that 24 hours ago I had the biggest win in my career and the biggest win the next day."
AFTER YOU WIN YOUR FIRST RACE, DO THE OTHER COMPETITORS VIEW YOU DIFFERENTLY? LIKE, PERHAPS, THAT YOU REALLY BELONG? "No, I don't think so. I think that everybody in the garage knows that we all can win races with the right cars on the right day. A win at Atlanta is just that, it's a win at Atlanta. It's not a win at Sonoma or Martinsville or Bristol. I feel like to be able to walk into the garage and be on the same level as Tony Stewart or Jeff Gordon or whatever, I have to be able to race as well as them on all different race tracks. It is neat, though, it is cool. One of the neatest things about winning these races is when guys like Mark Martin or Matt Kenseth or Jeff Gordon come up and say, 'You did a good job,' I thought that was pretty neat. That's the best compliment. But, no, it doesn't change your status. You've still got to work every day."
ATLANTA IS KNOWN AS A VERY FAST TRACK. SOME DRIVERS, AFTER QUALIFYING, HAVE SAID THEY'VE JUST HELD THEIR BREATH. AT SPEEDS OVER 180 MILES AN HOUR AT A FEW DIFFERENT TRACKS, WHAT MAKES ATLANTA SEEM SO MUCH FASTER? "Because it is real fast and the banking is pretty high. You can go so fast in qualifying. There's so much grip. A real fast lap at Atlanta, to me, you're on the edge a little longer than you'd like to be -- the whole corner, you're digging the whole way around, and I think that's why it makes it kind of nerve-wracking. And, lots of time, if you mess up, there's no saving it. It's too fast."