Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion, moved up one spot to 11th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings after a fourth-place finish in Monday's Coca-Cola 600. Edwards talked about a variety of issues at his team hauler ...
Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion, moved up one spot to 11th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings after a fourth-place finish in Monday's Coca-Cola 600. Edwards talked about a variety of issues at his team hauler before practice.
HOW MUCH DOES A DRIVER'S PERFORMANCE WEIGH ON THE CREW CHIEF? "I've had a lot of different crew chiefs and when things aren't working, sometimes simply making a change makes the difference. The crew chief, the driver, the engineer, everybody is just as important. This sport is a true team sport, it's not just one person, and it's not always people's performance -- sometimes it's just the way they work together -- so sometimes these changes are good."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT RACING DOVER? "As long as you're not the part that's self-cleaning, it's great. But this track is one of the most fun race tracks we go to. It's got the highest sensation of speed for me, so that's fun. That's why we all started racing -- we like to drive fast. It's a mile. It's high-banked. It's fast-paced, and late in the race you can run two or three-wide, which is really fun. And, yeah, the wrecks here are crazy. It's like driving 100 miles an hour down the hallway in your house. There's not a lot of room."
IT'S ABOUT TIME TO SEE A CARL EDWARDS WIN. "Yeah. You're telling me it's about time. It feels like years since we won a race and it's only been 12 races, but we're doing the best we can, just like everybody out here. Right now, these cars are so competitive that all of a sudden you've got guys like myself and other guys that haven't won in a little while and you think, 'Man, this is tough.' You realize when the wins are coming easy it seems so simple and when they don't, it seems really tough, so I'm hoping we can kind of get back on that winning track this weekend."
WHAT DOES A DRIVER GO THROUGH WITH A CREW CHIEF CHANGE? "As a driver, you do everything the best you can. You deliver your information the best you can all the time. With the crew chief changes that I've had, there's really not a set thing you have to learn about somebody -- it either works or it doesn't. You either run better or you don't, and there's no way to really tell how that's gonna happen. Last season in the Nationwide Series we made a change and we went and won seven races, so I'm glad we made that change. I don't know exactly what was different, but sometimes that chemistry just works."
WILL THE PIT ROAD IMPROVEMENTS HERE MAKE IT EASIER? "Anywhere they can put up SAFER barriers, all of us drivers appreciate that and we know that's a big expense. These walls hurt, and then making pit road longer here will be good because this is such a tight pit road. It's so difficult to get in and off, so that will be good. I think that will make the competition on the track better."
THE PITS ARE USUALLY PRETTY CRAZY HERE. "The pits are always crazy. On television it looks so easy -- you've got this nice, big pit stall. When you're coming down pit lane you see 42 other teams and all these people standing out there and your pit stall looks like it's about eight to 10 inches long. It's really tough, so anytime they can make that are bigger makes it easier on us drivers."
CAN YOU TAKE ANYTHING FROM THIS RACE INTO THE CHASE WHEN YOU COME BACK IN THE FALL? "We've run really well here and I love this place. Everytime we come we try to learn little things that we can apply the next time. The surface stays the same because it's concrete, so you don't have to change a lot -- at least that's what I'm banking on here. Hopefully, we have a good run and then come back and, number one, be in the chase and, two, run well like we have before in the chase here."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT LAST YEAR'S RACE HERE? "That was cool. I felt like the fans all got their money's worth in that race. I was in the car smiling and racing hard. That was fun. Just to be able to see Matt and Greg race that hard and bumping into each other. I was trying to hold them off for awhile, but then I thought, 'Well, I'm out of this one.' They got by me, and then I saw them running into each other and I thought, 'Man, I'm gonna win. They're gonna wreck.' That was one of the coolest races I've been a part of."
WHAT ABOUT NATIONWIDE THIS WEEKEND? "The points are still really close between Kyle and myself in the Nationwide Series. We couldn't come to a better a race track. I love this place. We've had a lot of success here. We've got a really cool Ortho car over there and we need to get it back to Victory Lane and I don't think there's a better place we could come. That series at this track is a lot of fun to drive. I like it."
WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE NASCAR TOWN HALL MEETING? "I think it was a great thing for NASCAR to do to kind of have an open forum. Really, what I took out of it -- the questions there were, 'What can we do to make sure that in this time, when all sports and all industry and the whole economy is down just a little bit, what can we do to deliver the best product to the fans and make sure the fans are getting the best racing and the sponsors are getting the best value for the money?' And I can't say enough about NASCAR for having that meeting and allowing us to all just kind of talk about everything."
DID YOU HAVE ANY PARTICULAR ISSUE YOU WANTED TO ADDRESS? "No, I look at this racing that we have and I think Mark Martin is the one that put it in the best perspective in that meeting. He said in 1981 he went to Martinsville and finished third and was either two or four laps down. He said, 'Man, the racing is so much better now than it's ever been.' So, from my perspective, I think the things we need to work on, like I said, is making sure the fans get the best value for their money and the sponsors get the best value for their money. On the race track, I think that with a new car and all-new style of aerodynamics and all that, we're as good right now as we could possibly be and, in the future, they're open to changing little things if that will make the racing better, but it ain't that bad. It's pretty good."
SOME DRIVERS, LIKE KURT BUSCH, SPECIFICALLY SAID HE WISHED THE TIRES WERE BIGGER OR WIDER. WHAT DO YOU THINK? "That's a good idea, but the only thing I thought about as far as things to make the racing better is you've got to be careful changing stuff. If a tire would fall off more through a run, that might be a way to promote more comers and goers -- more passing. You would stop and get tires and you could blast through the field, and what Kurt said may be right -- maybe a wider, bigger tire could be a softer compound and not blister. I'm not a tire engineer, but the great thing is NASCAR is open to stuff. I mean, for them to have that meeting and be open to any suggestions, that's pretty big. But, on the other hand, you've got to take what Mark Martin said into account and not go changing something that's really not that bad. There's also the idea that the expectation is the thing that's screwed up out there -- that people expect to see this certain dramatic, crazy finish every week. I watched the Indy 500 and that's a race that is half as exciting as the ones we run, I think, in the way that they race on the race track, and there's nothing wrong with it. But people need to understand racing is racing -- you can't fabricate a drama, you've got to just have a race."
-credit: ford racing