Edwards discusses Talladega race with the media

Ford Racing

Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Fastenal Ford Fusion, met with media members at Talladega Superspeedway after the first practice session Friday afternoon. Edwards talked about the weekend ahead and other topics.

Carl Edwards, Roush Fenway Racing Ford
Carl Edwards, Roush Fenway Racing Ford

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

YOU HAVE HAD YOUR MOMENTS HERE AT TALLADEGA - TALK ABOUT YOUR OUTLOOK ON RACING HERE THIS SUNDAY. “If the weather stays warm like this and the cars are sliding around like they were out there I think it will be a real fun race. This package seems to make it a little harder to bunch up and partner up. It will keep us, I think, in a big group. I am torn on that. It is worse because you have a better chance of being involved in somebody else’s wreck but it is more fun and I guess fun is why we do this anyway. I think it is going to be as good as Talladega can be. Last week was huge for us in that we led a bunch of laps and we felt like we worked really well together as a team and now we are ready to go out there and get that first win. I don’t think I have won a restrictor plate race in the Cup series yet so this would be a great place to do it.”

DO YOU THINK THE ROUSH FENWAY DOMINANCE THAT YOU GUYS SHOWED AT DAYTONA WILL TRANSLATE TO HERE? “It can always be different. Everybody figures things out as you go along but that last run there got our Fastenal Ford up front and I was able to stay in front of the 24 car. He has historically been really fast at these places so that meant a lot for me. I don’t know if he was trying hard or not but it was a confidence booster to know we could stay out with those guys lap after lap. I hope our cars are as good as they have been on the speedways. That has been a strong point for us which historically we all know we have struggled at some of these places. To sit on the front row at Daytona and come here with the same attitude and same cars, this could be good.”

DID YOU SEE TODAY THAT THE TEMPERATURES COULD CUT DOWN ON THE TANDEM DRAFTING? “I couldn’t get partnered up with anyone. I was following the 29 car and the 2 car and someone else I was trying to get partnered up with. I think people right now are using a little more caution. You don’t want to tear something up in practice. If we can partner with someone for just a couple laps in the second practice then we will know. From my seat in the 99 the cars are moving around a lot and going real fast and they feel a little nervous when you match them bumper-to-bumper right now. If that is how it is in the race, especially in the long run, I think you will see some real effort in those race cars trying to work it out and cars sliding around and finding a partner you can work with. It will be really interesting.”

ARE YOU OVER LAST WEEK? HAVE YOU MOVED PAST IT? ALSO, GREG BIFFLE SAID IT WILL SHOW THIS WEEK WHO IS REALLY IN SHAPE DUE TO THE HEAT. IT WOULD SEEM YOU WOULD BE AT AN ADVANTAGE WITH YOUR CONDITIONING. “Yeah, last week is last week. That is done and behind us. There is nothing that I can do or say that is going to change it. That is last week. Yes, I looked at the weather report and was pretty excited to see how hot it was going to be here. My trainer was in Missouri this week and we talked about how to prepare for this race. I am personally hoping it is hot so that there is a little of the physical aspect in the race. I think that is a lot of fun.”

COULD YOU EXPAND ON THE WORD “FUN” IN YOUR VERY FIRST STATEMENT ABOUT HOW THE RACING WAS GOING TO BE FUN. WHAT IS MORE FUN ABOUT BEING IN THE BIGGER GROUP? “It kind of depends on your attitude on a given day. Someone tried to describe it to me and they used the term cognitive dissidence. Where you can hold two different thoughts at the same time. There is one part of a driver at this place that screams, ‘This is silly, we are waiting to wreck there is no point being in this pack.’ Then there is the other part like the little kid that is going, ‘Man, this is really neat to drive these cars around 200 mph bumping into each other.’ When I say fun, I am speaking of just how neat it is to be out there in that group racing at that speed. There is still that huge other factor of the pure racer in me that is not a huge fan of this style of racing. I know the consequences and the risks. Not just physically but on your season. We don’t need a bad race here for our season but for some reason, whether it is that I got up on the right side of bed this morning or something, I was having fun out there in practice – more than I have at Talladega in a long time.”

IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WILL DO DIFFERENTLY BECAUSE OF LAST WEEK IF YOU GET INTO A SIMILAR SITUATION? “Yes.”

CAN YOU EXPLAIN? “No. I learned a lot last week. Like I said, that is last week and that is it.”

WHAT DO YOU DO TO GET PAST IT? DO YOU JUST MAKE LIGHT OF IT, HAVE FUN WITH YOUR CREW MEMBERS? WHEN SOMETHING LIKE THAT HAPPENS, HOW DOES A DRIVER GET PAST THAT? “For me personally when something like that happens I have been working on doing just what I did. I gave my honest assessment of what I thought happened and how I felt about it. I spoke with NASCAR and came to the conclusion that those actions are all that I can take. That is it. There is nothing else that I can do. I am satisfied with that personally that I did everything I could do and that is that.”

WAS OVERHEATING NOT AN ISSUE OUT THERE? “I did not partner up with another car so I didn’t get on someone’s bumper. My car was at 210 degrees, the normal temperature it would be. I never tried to get on someone’s bumper.”

WHEN YOU SEE A GUY LIKE JEFF GORDON IN 17TH THIS LATE IN THE SEASON, DO THE REST OF YOU THINK HE IS VULNERABLE THIS YEAR OR IS IT TO EARLY TO TELL? “I honestly don’t know what points position I am in. I think we are ninth. This early in the season I don’t know if anyone looks too hard at other guys and starts looking for weaknesses and things. Once you get closer to the Chase you definitely do. It is hard right now because you look out there at the lay of the land and where people are and a guy that is 15th or 16th in the points, even in the 25th or 26th race can still make it on the wild card and be a factor. I think what is different now in our sport is you have to give everyone that respect. You can not underestimate anyone that could be in the Chase because the final 10 races a guy can surprise you like we saw last year. That is the long way of saying I would never write Jeff Gordon off.”

EVERYONE ALWAYS TALKS ABOUT A BIG WRECK HERE. IT SEEMS PEOPLE ANTICIPATE A BIG WRECK OR SPECTACULAR CRASH. DOES THAT BOTHER YOU? “No it doesn’t bug me. It just is what it is. This type of racing, as a driver you are less in control of whether or not you will be involved in a wreck. That is just a part of this style of racing. Nobody forced us to get in these race cars. I will be out there racing as hard as I can those last five laps and if there is a wreck, there is a wreck. I know what it is like as a fan to watch these races. You just can’t help but watch because it is just spectacular to watch. Unlike some folks, I do not wish and hope that there is a wreck but I know that it is a possibility.”

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WHAT IT MEANS TO YOU TO BE AN ALL-STAR AND YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE NEW FORMAT? “I don’t know what the new format is. I will skip the new format part. Usually the day of the race I am asking what the format is. Greg (Biffle) is the perfect driver for an event like the All-Star event. I think he will be one of the toughest guys in the race. He will be very tough there. It is a very neat event to be a part of. I have been fortunate enough to be in a number of times and the fans voted me in that one time which was a huge honor. I can’t describe how big of an honor that was. I have also missed the race and know how disappointing it is to watch that race. Winning it was spectacular. To know that I will have at least an invitation to that race for the next 10 years or whatever, I am not sure I think it is 10 years after you win it, that is huge. That is a stressor for all of us drivers. If you haven’t won, you know that is a big deal to be in that race. It is one of the things that when you win, you get to mark that in the column of benefits of winning. It is really nice.”

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Tags edwards, ford, roush