This Week in Ford Racing
December 15, 2009
Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion, finished 11th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings this season. He recently spoke about the highlight of 2009 and what he plans to do to get back into championship contention in 2010.
WHAT STOOD OUT IN 2009? The thing that characterized 2009 for us was probably being so close to winning at Talladega and then being wrecked. I felt like there were a few times this season we were close, but the thing I'm most proud of this year is being in the chase. It did not look good 10-15 races in and we started working really hard and everybody rallied and we made it in. We didn't make very much of it because 11th is not something I'm extremely proud of, but making it is the thing I was proud of."
WHAT HAPPENED BETWEEN LAST YEAR AND THIS YEAR? "Hopefully, whatever happened between last year and now unhappens so a year from now we're running the way we know we can. Last season was great. I figured we could win almost every race we were at and then this season wasn't so great."
HAS THE PRESSURE ON EVERYONE CHANGED A LOT SINCE YOU'VE BEEN IN CUP? "I think it has. This is my sixth year and it seems like it's gone by in a flash, but just in that time it seems that not only in racing, but the whole world has changed a little bit. Everything is a quicker pace and people are less patient."
DOES THAT TRANSFER TO THE RACE CAR, TOO? "I think so. Owners, sponsors, crew chiefs, teams - it seems when things aren't going they don't last very long, so you want things to go well and everybody tries hard. I can't speak for 15 years ago, but it just appears a little faster paced now -- ups and downs are quicker to come and go."
WHAT DO YOU DO NOW TO GET THINGS TURNED AROUND? "I don't know exactly what we need to do to turn it around. There's not one thing where everyone says, 'Oh, this is what we're missing,' because that would be really simple and we'd fix it right away. But what I do know are the things we don't need to do and we don't need to point fingers and change things around - do wholesale changes. It's so competitive right now. I finished 11th in points. I think if things would have been a little different on pit road and we had some little bit different luck on the race track, we could have finished sixth or seventh. That's not too far from being a contender for the championship, so we're working on a lot of little things to try and make us a little faster. The thing I'm most proud of is that Bob and I aren't yelling at each other. Jack's not freaking out. Aflac is behind us 100 percent. Ford is behind us 100 percent. I think as long as we keep everything pointed in the right direction, we'll be alright."
IS THERE ANY CONNECTION BETWEEN NATIONWIDE AND CUP NOW? "There's an emotional connection for me. My Cup season was disappointing, but my Nationwide season was really pretty fun. We won five races. We learned a lot. Kyle ran away with it because those guys are unreal, but I had some great battles and some races that I was really proud of. There's no real transfer of information, but when I have that success there, it keeps me going. If I'm having a bad day in the Cup car, I just think about the races like ORP, Montreal and the Phoenix race where we won - all those races I performed really well - and that keeps me going. I think that's why a lot of these guys go race other stuff because it helps you remember how much fun racing is and that's what the Nationwide Series does for me."
HOW BUSY ARE YOU GOING TO BE IN THE OFF-SEASON? "I'm not going to be very busy. That's really good. Kate and I are going to celebrate our first anniversary, which is great, and we're going to prepare for this baby, which is unbelievable. We try to go and do one little vacation every year - me and my buddies - so we're going to maybe try and do something there. I don't know where we're going, but it will be somewhere not too far away."
-credit: ford racing