Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion, held his weekly Q&A session before Friday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice at Dover International Speedway. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON DOVER? "Dover is one of the neatest race ...
Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion, held his weekly Q&A session before Friday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice at Dover International Speedway.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON DOVER? "Dover is one of the neatest race tracks we go to. It's definitely the one for me that has the highest sensation of speed and it's a lot of fun. We won the last race here, so I'm definitely excited to be back. It's a fun place to race, that's for sure."
NASCAR CAME DOWN HARD ON THE 66 AND 70. YOU'VE FELT NASCAR'S WRATH, SO IS THIS GETTING EVERYONE'S ATTENTION? "Oh, yeah. The point is that if there's something illegal on the cars, let me tell you, those are huge, huge penalties. I can only speak for our case. Everybody is gonna say, like they have, that what we did at Vegas was intentional. It wasn't, but the result was that it was something that could have made the car go faster, so NASCAR is making sure with these penalties -- and points in particular -- that people are doing everything they can to not break these rules. I know we are. We are hyper-sensitive to anything that could be outside of the box on rules and that's because of those penalties, so, yes, everyone is paying attention to it and we all understand the weight of those penalties for sure."
CAN YOU SYMPATHIZE WITH THE FANS WHO HAVE TO PAY SO MUCH FOR GAS AND FOOD THESE DAYS? YOU WERE ONCE WORRIED ABOUT LOSING YOUR HOUSE AND THINGS LIKE THAT. "Yeah. To be clear, I was not gonna lose my house. My mom was gonna kick me out because she was gonna sell it, but, yeah, I am very conscious of that. I actually stopped by the Save-A-Lot food store down the road yesterday just to check it out and they said that in this time their business is doing a little better just because they offer discounts. More people are shopping for better deals. We're all in this together. For me to go up and down the road and doing what I was doing 10 years ago, passing out business cards and traveling around and all that, it would have been extremely tough if fuel was $4 a gallon. It would have been very tough for me to go to the races and definitely would have been tough for me to travel anywhere, so I'm conscious of that and I think we need to have our eye toward the future and understand how we can offer something for the best price we can -- make it as easy as we can on the fans to come enjoy this sport. I don't know what that is, but I guarantee you that we're not gonna be immune a couple of months from now when people have had to buy this fuel and these groceries for a while. It's gonna be a big crunch. I don't know how we fix it. I don't know what we do."
DO YOU EVER THINK YOU'RE A LESSER TEAM THAN THE START OF THE SEASON BECAUSE OF KYLE'S HOT STREAK -- OR WHAT ARE THEY DOING? "Yeah, it's very strange. You're exactly right. I think about it everyday, every night before I go to be. It's like, 'What can we do?' There are times you show up at a race track and you're just fast. Everything is great. I think seeing it with Jimmie Johnson and Jeff and those guys, they were so fast last year. They're not as fast. I don' know whether they're having trouble. We were extremely fast at the beginning part of the year and you just don't know. We could go out here and dominate practice, dominate this race and be right back there on top. It's not like we went anywhere, it's just so competitive that a tenth of a second or two makes a difference between you being a winner that weekend or running seventh. The way the perception is, if you run seventh for a few weeks all of a sudden you're slow. Seventh is not slow. It's strange how it's perceived and what's really going on."
YOU MAKE IT SOUND LIKE IT'S MAGIC. "Yeah, it's not exactly magic, but there are so many variables. If you have one bad pit stop, it's like you went from being the guy that can win the race to you're fighting your guts out for a seventh or eighth-place. Everything's got to be perfect. The only thing that's great about running the 18 team run so well right now is that it's gonna be hard to do that all year, so maybe they're gonna peak right now and we'll beat them like a drum at the end of the year. That's what I'm hoping for. I don't know if it's gonna happen, but it is very tough. It's hard to stay on top all the time and I don't think anyone has done that for a while. I'll tell you, we're working as hard as we can. That's it."
CAN YOU COMMENT ON YOUR POCONO TESTING? "Testing up there was pretty fun. They paved a section of what we call turns five and six -- the last corner there they paved a section of that and made it kind of fun. You go around the top up there and can be pretty fast. I thought the new car handled a lot better than I expected there. I was telling somebody the other day, I didn't really think much about the new car until I was coming off turn two there -- looking at the tunnel turn -- and I thought, 'Wow, I wonder how this thing is gonna go through this corner?' And it was great, so I think it'll be good. There won't be anything too different. I think it's gonna be fine. It was a good test."
HOW MUCH DO YOU THINK ABOUT ADJUSTING THE CAR OFF THE TRUCK IF IT'S GOOD? "For a while with this car of tomorrow, if you unloaded slow, you were done. You were junk. We couldn't fix it, but we proved to ourselves that was wrong at Darlington. We were the last position on the chart at Darlington the first practice and we finished the race second. Second place is not winning the race, but it's a lot better than 43rd, so, yeah, we kind of got out of that mindset of throwing our hands up in the air. We work hard and practice doesn't really dictate the race as much. We know now that we can change some things and get the car better."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT JOEY LOGANO AND HIS RISE? "It's amazing. Joey Logano has an amazing amount of energy behind him from the media, from his teammates and from everybody that knows him. It seems like he's just a phenomenal talent. We were talking about that the other day. On my 18th birthday, that night I was at my buddies shop. He was helping me put trailer lights on my little open trailer so I could go dirt modified racing. I could not have imagined on my 18th birthday to be preparing for something of this magnitude. I felt like everything was very quick for me -- getting to this level when I was 24 or 25 or whatever it was -- so I can't imagine how quick it must feel. That's amazing."
ISN'T THERE SOME EVIDENCE THAT THE BOX SHOULD BE BIGGER AND TEAMS SHOULD HAVE SOME ABIILITY TO SOLVE PROBLEMS WITH THIS CAR? "I know what you're getting at, but it just doesn't work like that because information travels so fast. If you said, 'OK, we're gonna let you adjust this rear wing a little more,' in about 30 seconds everybody would have the rear wing right where it was the best and everybody would be right to the edge of the box."
BUT WHAT ABOUT THINGS LIKE GEAR RATIOS AND CHASSIS THINGS? "Yeah. You might be right there -- maybe tune the engine, have some gear ratio differences. I don't know. I don't have the answer to that. I kind of feel like for me, in a way, I like the idea of cars being the same and knowing that I'm going out there and I can make a difference. I kind of like the idea of racing against guys and knowing my car is the same as theirs. I think that's neat racing. Some people don't agree with that, but that's how I feel about it."
YOU'RE GOING TO ELDORA AGAIN AS THE DEFENDING CHAMP. WHERE DOES THAT WIN RANK? "Eldora, to any dirt racer, that's the same as Daytona or Indianapolis. That's an amazing race track, so to be able to go there and race was huge. To win that race was great because it's Eldora and I got to race against Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch -- that was huge. The true thing that makes that so special and the reason all of us go do it is because it's benefitting Victory Junction Gang Camp. I think that just puts the icing on the whole deal. It's fun because we race and then it's really fun to realize that we're raising almost a $1 million for such a great cause. So, for me, that ranks very, very high on my list of accomplishments in my life."
-credit: ford racing