Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion, won the last two races of 2010, including the event here at Phoenix International Raceway. Edwards, who leads the point standings going into Sunday's race, held a press conference Friday between practice sessions at PIR.
DID YOU SEE CARL JUMP OFF THE STRATOSPHERE IN VEGAS? "If anybody has a little spare time in Vegas, go for it. That's pretty wild, big-time. It's fun."
WHAT ABOUT PHOENIX THIS WEEKEND? "It's good. The tire seems to work really well. The cars are fast and I'm just glad to be here. I love racing here. This is fun. It's Subway weekend. We've got the Subway Ford Fusion and a Ford Mustang that's pretty fast on the Nationwide side. I'm excited to race here."
DOES SUNDAY'S RESULT STILL BOTHER YOU? "Of course I'm still bothered by that (laughing). I've thought about it a lot and I've watched the replay a couple times. There are a lot of things I could have done differently. I'm certain that one of those things would have meant that I would have had a better chance at winning the race, but, looking back on it, I think I made the best decision I could have made there at the time and, in the end, it kind of ensured a Ford would win the race. But, yeah, I just hope to be in that position a number of times. I think if I can do that a number of times, then one of them we'll win. The trick is to be around at the end like that. But I've got to say that this week I did think about it a lot, and I thought about it from different points of view the best I could, and I was inspired by Trevor this week - not as a competitor but as a person. It's neat to see a guy so happy about winning a race and to see a guy who seemed to handle it so well. That was really an inspiring thing. It made me excited to come here and race. It made me feel good about racing and feel good about this thing that we do every week. That was pretty cool."
AFTER WHAT YOU DID YESTERDAY CAN YOU SEE DOING LIKE ANDY LALLY WITH STREET LUGE RACING AND SHOULD NASCAR CONSIDER CHANGES FOR TALLADEGA? "At least with that (street luge) there are wheels involved and there's pavement and all that. I feel like I might be less nervous. That think yesterday, when they first said, 'Hey you can jump off the Statosphere.' They should me a video of it and I thought, 'Oh, that's no big deal. You're all strapped in.' It's not like you're freefalling or something, but when I was standing I was literally 50/50. If there weren't all those cameras and stuff, I might have just said, 'I think I'll go back down the slow way.' I did not want to jump off that thing. It was one of the most exhilarating things I've ever done, so it was really fun. As far as what NASCAR can do, I don't know. I don't know if what we did on Sunday is safer than what it used to be. I don't know what the answer is. I think the only thing we really can do and we need to do is we need to explain to our fans better what is going on. We need them to understand that it is a different style of racing. I think it's very confusing, and I've had to kind of explain it all week and it kind of puts us all in a little bit of a tough position because I think the drivers, the teams and maybe you guys understand that's not a Cup race in a classic sense, but the average person watching doesn't realize that, so they have all these questions and it's just hard to explain. So I think we need to do a better job of explaining that style of racing to our fans, if we're gonna continue to do it. As far as making it different, better, safer, I don't have an answer for that."
IS THIS THE REAL START TO THE RACE SEASON? "I think that's one way to look at it. Auto racing is about driving down into the corner and managing the throttle and the brakes and the grip of the tires. I feel like that's what racing is about. Now, you can't argue that cars running two-by-two at 202 miles an hour at Daytona, that's racing too. It is a different style of racing. That style of racing we only have four times a year. The other 32 times they are races like this, so this really is the style of track that you need to be good at and this is the start of the season that you can control more. That race on Sunday, that's a tough one. That's a tough one to be in control of your own destiny and your own fate."
DO YOU FEEL LIKE A FAVORITE COMING IN HERE AFTER WINNING IN NOVEMBER AND HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT ONLY 40 CARS BEING HERE IN THE NATIONWIDE RACE? "I didn't know there were only 40 cars here. That's too bad. I'm pretty excited to be here. I feel like we ran so well in the Nationwide car and so well in the Cup car at the last event. I don't know if I'm a favorite. I'm planning on winning the race. I don't know if it's gonna work out like that, but the biggest thing is we'd love to get the win in the Subway car. That would be huge. I don't feel like there's a track in the first half of the season at least that we have a better shot at winning. I have a lot of confidence here is the way to put it. As far as 40 cars, I don't know the reasons exactly for what's behind that, but I hope that we can have a full field at Las Vegas."
WHAT WILL YOU TELL YOU KIDS WHEN THEY WANT TO DO SOMETHING RISKY? "I've thought about that a little bit, actually. My daughter already seems to be kind of a risk taker. I don't know what I'm gonna say. Maybe by then I'll move far, far away and there will be no newspaper clippings or no internet available to them, but I'm pretty much screwed, I think."
HOW DO YOU LIKE THIS NEW SCHEDULE AND HOW MUCH DOES PERFORMANCE PLAY IN TO YOUR DECISION ABOUT STAYING WITH ROUSH FENWAY? "The qualifying and schedule this weekend is a little different. It will make it a little tougher to finish practice in the Cup car today, sleep the whole night, and then run your qualifying lap tomorrow. That's a little different than normal. It feels a little different. I think it will be neat. I think that the new qualifying draw situation is gonna be pretty cool. I've thought a little bit about how much that win might have been worth contract negotiation-wise, but, really, all you can do is put yourself in those positions to try to have a chance to win. You're gonna win some and you're not gonna win some. The best thing is that we didn't wreck. Trevor and I weren't wrecking each other and let somebody else win. We respected one another and, really, we've got a win, a win and a second. That's a pretty good three-race stretch. If we can continue that, that's all you can do in this sport is perform the best you can and hope that you get those results. Those are some good results for me. I don't think in my career I've had a three-race stretch that's better than that."
DID YOU FEEL A DIFFERENT BUZZ THIS WEEK DURING YOUR APPEARANCES ABOUT NASCAR? "I think it was very good. I went to the Cartoon Network's Hall of Game Awards Ceremony, which is full-on Justin Biebermania. Kids were everywhere. It was pretty neat and there were a lot of people there talking about this 20-year-old that won the Daytona 500. There was a real buzz at this Cartoon Network Awards thing. Kobe Bryant was there and T.O. and Venus Williams, and people knew what was going on. Yesterday, I went to Vegas and it was the same thing there. People were pumped about it. I have one fan, this young girl, I guess I used to be her favorite driver, the text I got from her after the race was, 'So, I need to know a little bit more about this Bayne kid. He's cute.' She's about his age, so I think that's the general feeling. He's a new guy on the scene and he's positive for the sport. I think that's pretty cool."
HOW DO YOU THINK THE NEW POINT SYSTEMS IS AND FOR GUYS WHO HAVE A HOLE TO DIG OUT OF? "The thing is at the end of the year we'll probably all have about the same number of bad days. If you have a real bad day, if you have an engine blow up early, that does make it tougher the way the points are spread. One point, two points, three points, that's a pretty bad day, so you can't have too many of those. I'm very, very glad that we at least made it through the bottleneck that is Daytona. We made it through one of the riskiest races in the first part of the season with almost the maximum number of points we could get. That's huge for us. We could have trouble on the first lap here and be in the same position as those guys and wash away that whole advantage that we have right now, so there's a lot of racing left. I think, in the end, it will work out about the same."
DID YOU TALK TO OTHER DRIVERS DURING THE RACE LAST WEEK AND HOW DID THAT WORK? "It was necessary on Sunday, I thought, for safety. I thought it was necessary for the guys in front to be able to say, 'Wrecking, wrecking. Stop.' That's a lot quicker than telling a spotter or a spotter seeing it and telling the guy behind. I don't think we need that in the cars at every track, I don't, but it did help. It was good that everyone worked together and we were able to kind of do that because you just can't see anything. If there's one thing that could make that whole thing safer it would be a way to see through that spoiler. I don't know if there's a way to make it out of something stiff enough that's transparent, but that would help a lot. You just can't see being the guy behind."
WHAT IS THE RESPECT FACTOR LIKE FOR TREVOR IN THE GARAGE? "I can only give you my opinion, but, yes, he won the Daytona 500, but he had my respect before that. He's like a number of the young guys coming in. Him, I know David Ragan pretty well, Ricky Stenhouse, that's a group of three guys - Joey Logano - it seems like he's one of a group of these young guys that come in and they treat people right and they earn that respect off of the race track, so that when they do something good, people are happy for them. That's really hard to do. I think that says a lot more about them as people than it does about them as race car drivers."
YOU AND TREVOR WRECKED AT MICHIGAN A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO, BUT YOU CUT HIM SOME SLACK. DID YOU KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT HIM AT THAT TIME? "I don't remember that incident, but we've had a couple times where we've talked after races where we didn't really agree with one another, but we were able to talk about it and I came away feeling like, 'Hey, he wants to understand my position,' and that made me want to understand his. So, yeah, that's what I'm talking about in a way about the earlier question, the way he interacts with people and the way he handles himself, he just seems like a straight-up guy, a normal guy. That's pretty cool, but I don't remember that instance in particular."
HAVE YOU NEVER JUMPED OUT OF AN AIRPLANE BEFORE AND ARE YOU FLYING NEXT WEEK? "I'm flying with the Thunderbirds on Sunday out there and I'm looking forward to it. I'm gonna go back to the Stratosphere and jump off of it again, I think. It's so neat you guys. You guys have to go do it. I've never jumped out of anything. I always thought, 'Oh, that ought to be easy.' I really did think that this was gonna be no big deal and I'm telling you when I landed my heart was pounding. I was really nervous about it. I'm really excited about next week. The F-16s are cool and I can't wait to fly. Hopefully, we do some really neat stuff. It's right before practice, though, so I'm nervous they're gonna get me all screwed up and then I'm gonna have to jump in the car, so I'm a little nervous about that, but I'm having a good couple of weeks here. I get to do some fun stuff and that's pretty neat."
-source: ford racing