This Week in Ford Racing May 3, 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Scotts/Office Depot/AAA/World Financial Group Taurus, posted a seventh-place finish in his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series debut race at Darlington...
This Week in Ford Racing
May 3, 2005
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series
Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Scotts/Office Depot/AAA/World Financial Group Taurus, posted a seventh-place finish in his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series debut race at Darlington Raceway last November. Edwards, who enters this weekend's return trip to Darlington in 14th place in the point standings, spoke about the egg-shaped oval.
CARL EDWARDS - No. 99 Scotts/Office Depot/AAA/World Financial Group Taurus
WAS DARLINGTON A TOUGH TRACK TO GET A FEEL FOR WITH ITS ABRASSIVE SURFACE? "To be honest with you, from the first time I went to Darlington I loved it. The track just suits the way I drive and I really like driving there. I played around a lot on the video games with that track and I just had a blast. The first time I went there we were running great in the trucks. I don't know what it is about the track, it could be the way the tires fall off or something, but it just suits me. I really like the way it drives."
WERE YOU AWARE OF DARLINGTON'S PLACE IN NASCAR HISTORY BEFORE YOU STARTED RACING TRUCKS AND STOCK CARS? "I knew about it a little bit, but not as much as after we ran there. I talked to a lot of folks about how we ran and you could see how excited people would get, especially the guys who have been around the sport for a long time. They were really excited, like Bobby Hudson, my spotter. He just went on and on about how great it was to run well at Darlington and that made me start to realize that, 'Wow, this place has so much history.' I always love watching the old races - the film of guys racing and doing that slide job when there was just a guardrail around the outside. That was pretty cool to see, so I was always excited about racing there, but I didn't really realize how historic that place was until just recently."
DRIVERS ALWAYS TALK ABOUT RACING THE RACE TRACK AT DARLINGTON. IS THAT SOMETHING YOU HAD TO LEARN AS WELL? "At Darlington you race so close to the wall and you drive as hard as you can drive every lap. If you try to race somebody else and try to drive it in there harder than you should there's no extra room, so it truly is a place where you can only go so fast and that's it. There's no more after that, so that's what they mean - don't rush, don't try to beat somebody because you'll knock the wall down."
DO YOU REMEMBER HOW LONG IT TOOK TO GET YOUR FIRST DARLINGTON STRIPE? "I don't remember how many laps it took, but I hit the wall a few times in the truck the first time I was there. The last time we went testing, about 10 laps into testing, I brushed the wall. It's just so fast. It's hard to explain. When you put on new tires, especially in qualifying trim in a Cup car, that's probably the biggest sensation of speed I've ever had. Driving down into turn one and barely lifting and then going back wide open and sliding sideways all the way across the center of that corner is amazing."
Mark Martin, driver of the No. 6 Viagra Taurus, has had many great memories during his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series career at Darlington Raceway, including his victory in the 1993 Southern 500. Martin spoke about going back to Darlington and racing under the lights this Saturday night prior to testing at Lowe's Motor Speedway Tuesday afternoon.
MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus
DID YOU EVER THINK YOU WOULD SEE THE DAY THAT YOU WOULD BE RACING AT DARLINGTON UNDER THE LIGHTS? "I definitely never thought about it 15 years ago, but it'll be cool. It's always fun racing at night, especially Saturday night. It is an unknown, somewhat like Phoenix was, but it shouldn't be a major disaster. Charlotte is definitely the biggest personality swing of any race track that we deal with, so we wouldn't expect to have that kind of a swing at Darlington. Something a little bit more predictable would be my expectation."
WOULD IT HURT THE SPORT IF DARLINGTON CAME OFF THE SCHEDULE? "It's not really appropriate for me to comment on stuff like that because that's not how I think. I think it was a total disaster to take Rockingham off the schedule. For me, it would be a bigger disaster to have Rockingham come off than Darlington, although, to me, both really have a place in our racing. But you're talking about a guy who would go broke if I was in charge. I know that, so I'm not the king of commercialism by any means."
DO YOU GET AN OLD-SCHOOL KIND OF FEELING WHEN YOU GO TO DARLINGTON? "I don't think about it when I go there, but obviously it definitely has a different feel than going into the new speedways. It's a good place to race. It's a good place to put on a show. I'm not sure why it doesn't work better than it does commercially. I like racing there just as good or better than most places. I don't know if it's my kind of place or not, but it definitely is a good place to race, in my opinion. I'd take it over a Martinsville any day."