Carl Edwards, a two-time winner at Pocono, including the 2005 Pocono 500, counts Pocono Raceway among his favorite tracks. Edwards took time to talk about what he likes about Pocono Raceway, how he stays upbeat and positive despite not winning,...
Carl Edwards, a two-time winner at Pocono, including the 2005 Pocono 500, counts Pocono Raceway among his favorite tracks. Edwards took time to talk about what he likes about Pocono Raceway, how he stays upbeat and positive despite not winning, his double-duty weekends and more.
CAN YOU ADDRESS WHAT YOU LIKE ABOUT POCONO AND THIS WEEKEND? "I love racing at Pocono. It is a blast for the drivers because it is such a unique race track with three different corners. The pavement they put up there in the last corner is really neat and fun to race on. I have had a lot of success here and I love sitting here in the media center. It is a really great memory having won here in my first trip here and I hope to be back up here again Sunday. I am really excited to be driving the Tony the Tiger Kellogg's car. We had a lot of fun leading up to this race with the commercials we shot for the Gillette Fusion ProGlide. To go to the Prelude next week with Gillette and compete for charity will be a lot of fun."
STATISTICALLY THIS TRACK HAS BEEN GREAT FOR YOU. WITH THE TIMING OF SWITCHING TO THE NEW ENGINE, DO YOU SEE THAT AS A BENEFIT OR WOULD YOU FEEL MORE COMFORTABLE IN YOUR OLDER EQUIPMENT? "I try really hard not to think about the engine. It is something the guys have worked very hard on and something that Ford has worked very hard on. I am hoping it is an advantage. It seems to be running really well, but our old engine ran so well that it is hard to see a big advantage. Hopefully it will evolve and we can find some gains in horsepower. As long as we don't have any teething problems then it will be good."
YOU KNOW HOW MUCH OF A FACTOR FUEL MILEAGE IS HERE. WITH THE GREEN-WHITE-CHECKERED RULE COULD THAT BE MORE OF A FACTOR HERE THAN IN YEARS PAST? "Yeah, it will probably be more of a factor here for a number of reasons. It is suck a long track and fresh tires are so much faster. In a green-white-checkered a guy could start 10th and be running top two or three going into the last set of corners. Fuel mileage will be a really big deal too. It will make it interesting that is for sure. The whole face of the race could change in the last five laps."
YOU ARE A PRETTY UPBEAT GUY BUT LAST WEEKEND I GOT THE SENSE THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE FRUSTRATED. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE MORAL WITHIN FORD RIGHT NOW? "Here is the deal. Roush Fenway and the Ford race cars are not as fast as we need to be right now. Ford as a company is doing great. I feel we can all be proud of Ford as an American company and what they are producing and the jobs they are providing. Especially the products they are producing. What we need to do it just be faster. People ask me all different ways about that, but the point is we just aren't fast enough. We all know that and yes it is very important, I believe, for everyone to stay upbeat and keep working and do the best you can. We can't let the frustration snowball and make things worse. That is probably one of the toughest things as a human is when things aren't going well, to keep your head up and press on. Matt ran really well last week, Greg has been running really well. The bottom line is we have to be faster and being upbeat is the way to go. Keeping your head down and kicking the gravel isn't going to do anything."
DO YOU THINK THE SPOILER WILL CHANGE THE WAY YOU RACE HERE? "The trick at any race is to just be fast. If you are fast you put yourself in a position to win. If it comes down to fuel mileage or something like that then you have to be savvy and smart on top of fast. You have to make the right decisions. This race could go any way, but the number one thing is to be fast and that starts with qualifying. If you look at the guys that beat us a year ago, they came out of the pits first. There is a lot that goes into it, but the number one thing is to be fast. As far as the spoiler, it is fortunate that it is behind me because I forget all about it when I am not looking at it. It seems to me that the car drives the same. I don't think it will change the race much. I think it looks better and is simpler and I am happy NASCAR changed it."
AN INTERESTING STAT ABOUT YOU IS THAT ON 24 TIMES YOU HAVE GONE FROM A CUP RACE TO A NON-COMPANION NATIONWIDE RACE YOU HAVE WON THREE CUP RACES AND WON SIX NATIONWIDE RACES. IN BOTH CASES YOUR WINNING PERCENTAGE IS HIGHER IN COMPANIION RACES. IS THERE SOMETHING ABOUT THESE WEEKENDS THAT GET YOU GOING? "That is a great stat, I am glad you brought that up, I didn't know that. When we get to these races where we go back and forth I do feel better about it. Maybe subconsciously I know we have done well. I am not going to practice the Nationwide car at Nashville today because I don't think there is a correlation between going to practice or just showing up and racing. Sometimes I believe that showing up with no expectation makes it simpler. Maybe there is something to that, maybe not. I like the summer stretch with the hot weather and slippery race tracks, so maybe that is what it is."
WITH THE DOUBLE-DUTY, WHAT DOES IT TAKE OUT OF YOU PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY? "Well, tomorrow after the final race practice here Jack is going to fly us to Nashville. When Jack is flying it is great because I can just sit back and relax. In some ways it is an easier weekend. I think when I don't have to go back and forth I can focus on the Cup car. I don't have anything between now and qualifying. When Jack is flying it is easy though, it is like a vacation."
JEFF BURTON GOT UPSET AFTER THE RACE LAST WEEKEND, WERE YOU SURPRISED AT THAT AND DOES IT SHOW YOU EVERY DRIVER HAS A BREAKING POINT? "Jeff has been mad at me before, it just wasn't on camera. We are competitors. I thought he did a good job of expressing his frustration without going too far. I think that is just part of the sport. If you go to your local dirt track there will be somebody that is mad after the race. Being nice is not what makes you go around the race track fast. You have to be a competitor."
HOW IS YOUR CONFIDENCE DURING THE LAST YEAR AND A HALF? "Where I get my confidence is from looking back and knowing that we have won those nine races. We had great success and it is essentially the same group of people and I am the same driver. If anything I feel like I am better now. Like anyone I have to question myself to see if I am doing the best job I can. In the past whenever I started to think that I wasn't doing thing right, I will have a race where I am super fast and things are easy. What I do is think about the races we have done well and do the same things."
IS THE NEW ENGINE PART OF BEING FASTER LIKE YOU TALKED ABOUT? "I think the engine will do better and Jack said it best when he said the biggest problem with the new engine is that the old engine was so good. I don't think that is where we were struggling. It is the center of the corner, the balance of the race car, things like that. The driver can make a big difference here. It isn't a place like Charlotte where the car goes into the corner the same way every time. I look at this race as the type of race where one or two of our cars has a chance to go really fast and this may be a really good chance for us."
HAVE YOU EVER HAD A MAJOR RACE ABSOLUTELY WON AND IN THE BAG ONLY TO HAVE AN OFFICIALS CALL RUIN YOUR DAY? "My brother showed me that clip of the pitcher on the internet. That was heartbreaking. The only time I have had something like that happen that I can recall off the top of my head was when I was running the truck race at Charlotte. We were having a good year and were leading the truck race by a mile. A truck blew a tire and I saw it blow and come apart and I watched the yellow lights come on as I was going down the back straightaway. I start slowing down, loosening my belts and Dennis Seltzer goes screaming by me. I thought 'Why is he going so fast? Caution is out.' So I look up and the lights are green. I thought holy -- I just saw something, or imagined it or something. I started to race again and finished second. I was more heartbroken then I have ever been with any other outcome of a race. Mike Helton talked to me about it and issued a press release that said they inadvertently turned on the lights. That meant the world to me, but I didn't get the trophy or anything. That is just part of any sport and there are going to be mistakes, but it was a hard pill to swallow."
-source: ford racing