Edwards, Gerdes - Ford interview 2009-04-28

This Week in Ford Racing A team of seven dedicated drivers, including NASCAR star Carl Edwards, attempted and succeeded at driving the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid more than 1,000 miles on a single tank of gas this past weekend in Washington, DC...

This Week in Ford Racing

A team of seven dedicated drivers, including NASCAR star Carl Edwards, attempted and succeeded at driving the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid more than 1,000 miles on a single tank of gas this past weekend in Washington, DC in a challenge event to support JDRF. The Fusion Hybrid was driven for 69 hours, reaching 1,445.7 miles and an 81.5-mpg average.

Wayne Gerdes, world record breaking hypermiling champion and founder of cleanmpg.com, was part of the team and was there to coach Carl Edwards as he took the Fusion Hybrid past the 1,000 mile mark Monday morning. Edwards, who bought his own 2010 Fusion Hybrid for personal use, gave his thoughts on the experience.

Carl Edwards-No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion

WHAT WAS YOUR OVERALL IMPRESSION OF DRIVING WITH WAYNE? "Wayne's a professional, right off the bat he had his game face on. I knew it was serious when he told me to take off my right shoe so I could feel the throttle pedal. When a guy is telling you, 'hey let it drop down to 28 miles an hour' he knew all the numbers. There's a reason he's the champion of hypermiling. We got over 80 miles to the gallon my first time driving with him -- that's how good he is."

DID YOU LEARN ANYTHING ABOUT THE CAR THAT YOU'LL USE WHEN DRIVING YOUR OWN FUSION HYBRID? "I learned some neat things about the car, and how it works and how to get the most efficiency out of it. I'm excited to be able to apply that stuff at home."

WHY DID YOU WANT TO BE A PART OF THIS EXPERIENCE? "There's a couple of reasons why I wanted to do this. Number one, I believe in Ford Motor Company. I believe that they produce the best vehicles on the planet. This Ford Fusion Hybrid, I think is the number one car in America, that's why I purchased one. Number two; I believe it's everyone's duty to minimize their carbon footprint on the environment and on this earth. I think this message that Ford's sending out and that Wayne's able to teach people about, is to be efficient and I think that's a good message. I'm really proud to be a part of it, I can't believe they let me drive the 1,000th mile on one tank of fuel, so it's an honor."

HOW DID YOU FEEL ABOUT THE OPPORTUNITY TO WORK WITH ALL THESE GUYS AND TO SEE THEIR EXCITEMENT? "You know, to me, we're standing here and we're all in this control room and there's all these people working really hard. I feel like it's a small part of history. Hopefully, this is a turning point in the domestic car industry and Ford's leading the way."

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Wayne Gerdes-World Record Breaking Hypermiling Champion

WHAT DID YOU THINK OF CARL'S STYLE AS A DRIVER AFTER SPENDING THAT TIME WITH HIM. "As you can tell he's a professional driver on the race track, he's also a professional driver on the street with everybody else. I've done a lot of clinics with a lot of people over the last two weeks in the Ford Fusion Hybrid, he picked it up the quickest, he had the highest average when we were done and he had to carry two extra people, including the cameraman and myself giving him a drill sergeant routine. He did extremely well as you can tell by the numbers he achieved. I can't be happier because bringing a new team member in it's kind of like 'well is this going to work out?' Not only did it work out, it worked out spectacularly. I found out afterwards that he is the most fuel efficient driver on the NASCAR circuit, hopefully he'll be able to put some of these techniques to use out there on the track."

WERE YOU SURPRISED WHEN THEY SAID THEY WANTED TO BRING A NASCAR DRIVER IN TO BE A PART OF THIS? "I did a little bit of research. I found out he had a little experience with it before, but mainly that he had purchased a 2010 Fusion Hybrid out of his own pocket and because he had that experience, I knew he was going to step right in. I was nervous -- I have to say that -- but after about three miles he just picked it up and ran with it. He could do one by himself right now in fact."

WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO BE IN THE CAR WITH HIM, WHEN YOU GUYS WERE GETTING CLOSE TO 1,000 MILES? WAS THE ANTICIPATION BUILDING UP AT THAT MOMENT? "Anticipation is a good word. But more, I guess you want to call it something special. Carl is known to be very personable on the circuit; he's even more personable in real life. It was a pleasure to drive with him and I look forward to becoming a NASCAR fan of sorts of him and the Ford Fusion out on the race track."

-credit: ford racing

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Carl Edwards
Teams CIP