Edwards wants to turn season around with win at Kansas

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Carl Edwards wants to win at Kansas Speedway. The Missouri native makes no bones about that fact. Edwards, who was sixth fastest in the first practice session Saturday afternoon, took time to talk with Ford Racing about his home track, what a Carl Edwards victory party would look like, and his thoughts on concussions in the sport.

THIS IS YOUR HOMETOWN TRACK, BUT THEY CHANGED IT. WHAT DO YOU THINK SO FAR? “It is still my home track. It is a different surface though and is so much faster. I was really nervous about the changes being bad for our team in particular but we have been super fast in practice. Our 99 car has been very good. I have seen a lot of folks out here wearing Aflac shirts and Fastenal hats and coats and all that and it is great. For us and for me personally this race is as important as any race on the circuit. A win here, this would be as big as any Daytona 500 that we could win, any Brickyard 400, any of that. This win that I plan on getting on Sunday is what we need to turn our whole season around and make this a great year.”

WHAT DO YOU EXPECT THIS WEEKEND AND IS THIS THE KIND OF TRACK THAT YOU CAN DO WELL ON? “I feel that anytime we have a new surface or a new track that it suits me. I like different things. I like going to new race tracks. That is part of why I started racing because you can travel around and race in new places and learn things. For me and my team, this new surface is actually going to help us. I hate new surfaces. I like old, nasty, rutted, pot-holed race tracks. Right now, the way the sport is going and the way we ran at Charlotte last week this is good for us.”

A YEAR AGO THINGS WERE SO MUCH DIFFERENT HERE. YOU WERE IN THE POINTS LEAD WITH TONY BREATHING DOWN YOUR NECK. WHAT HAS BEEN THE DIFFERENCE FOR YOU THIS YEAR? “The Ford folks actually produced a spreadsheet for us and showed me last week that we have been involved in an incident, with either a wreck or failure of some sort in over 15-percent of the first 26 races. That has been bad but the other this is we just haven’t run very well. It seems like our whole team has struggled a little bit with speed. Speed is really important in racing. Now we are getting it back though. Last week Greg Biffle ran really well and we ran well and this week we are very fast in practice. Hopefully the tide is turning and we are gaining momentum because next year we want to win that championship. This year has been a disappointment for me.”

HOW HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO HANDLE ALL THOSE LITTLE ISSUES AND BAD LUCK THIS YEAR? “I haven’t stopped by the casino because I am sure that I would lose. I have learned the last few years that I have such a high expectation and I have learned to deal with things when they don’t go my way a little bit better. I think the trick in this sport, and probably in life, is not beating yourself up too badly when things don’t go your way. Let me tell you, I have some practice at that this year. It is so frustrating when things seem to be going well and something breaks or you make a mistake. I think that has been something that starting with that last race at Homestead last year it has made me a tougher person and better competitor. When success comes I think I am going to really appreciate it a lot more.”

BOB OSBORNE IS IN YOUR GARAGE STALL THIS WEEKEND LENDING A HAND, WHAT HAS THAT BEEN LIKE? “Bob is here in Kansas helping out and I think he knows how important this race is for me. Chad Norris has been doing great and Bob is as good as any crew chief in the garage but he had health issues. He has been working through those. The key for us is to have some fun. This year is pretty much shot in terms of all of our big goals but we still have some things we can do. A win here would be great or even just a really good showing for all these folks that have come out and supported me for so many years would be huge. So far it has been the most fun weekend of the year for me. We have been fast in practice, I have seen a lot of folks that I haven’t seen in awhile and I am having fun. That is really the key. I am almost ready to say we are going to win Sunday. I am almost ready to predict that. I think we are going to be very, very good.”

ARE YOU PREDICTING THAT BASED ON THE WAY THINGS ARE COMING TOGETHER THIS WEEKEND? “Yeah, things just seem a lot faster this weekend. We have a brand new race car and everything seems to be going really well. I don’t want to jinx it. I am actually standing a little farther away from the car so that my bad luck won’t rub off on the car. But it is a fast car. That is what it is going to take here. This race track is so fast. It is going to be hard to pass and it is a little scary when you get out of the groove. I swear to you I am going to drive as aggressively as possible. This is not going to be a points race or a cruise around race. I am going strictly to the front.”

IS THE NEW SURFACE HERE MAKING THIS TRACK LIKE IT WAS WHEN IT FIRST OPENED? “This track is so different than what it used to be. They changed the banking and the speeds are so high in the middle of the corner. I think it is going to be a pretty neat experience for the fans because these corners, I don’t know how fast we were going in qualifying trim, but if feels like 210 mph or something and it slams you into the corner. There is going to be some wild stuff going on.”

YOU HAVE ANY FANCY MOVES, LIKE 2008 UP YOUR SLEEVE? “There is nothing that is off the table if I can see the lead on the last lap. There is no telling. I want to win.”

YOU SAID IF YOU WIN HERE YOU ARE GOING TO THROW A BIG PARTY. WHAT DOES A CARL EDWARDS PARTY LOOK LIKE? “Yeah, it would be like O’Doul’s all around and I am buying (laughter). We would probably stay up to 10:30 or 11:00 o’clock and listen to some Kenny Rogers or something. It would be a crazy party man. I would actually probably get a little work done; maybe have everybody help me do some cleaning and organizing at the house. Maybe a work out or maybe do some Kettlebells or something. C’mon man! I would at least go out to dinner or something. Maybe splurge and have a piece of pie. I honestly don’t know what we would do if we won. Probably we would go back to Columbia (Missouri) and have everyone meet at Shakespeare’s Pizza and have some fun. It would be a good time.”

DO YOU KNOW IF YOU HAVE HAD A CONCUSSION IN A RACE CAR? “I don’t know if I have had a concussion. I haven’t really asked too much if I have one or not. That is a delicate thing to mess with. I have some friends that do some MMA stuff and some boxers and I have been around a lot of folks that play football and I have seen and talked to folks that competed in really tough sports and they still all admit that there is something they are missing because of that many times hitting their head. I have hit my head a couple times to where I was in bad shape for a day or so but I have never been diagnosed. I think that if someone did diagnose me, if a doctor said I could not hit my head again for the next three weeks, it would be very difficult for me to get in that race car. Yeah, you might go out for three weeks and save your season but if you go hurt yourself you might ruin your career and I am in this for the long haul. I want to win lots of races and lots of championships.”

IF YOU WERE IN THE POSITION LAST YEAR THAT DALE JR. IS IN THIS YEAR AND YOU KNEW YOU WERE DINGED, HOW DIFFICULT WOULD IT BE TO GET OUT OF THAT CAR? “I know this all related to Dale but he was not leading the points or tied for the lead. He is far enough back that I think it makes it an easier decision. Hypothetically if a guy were leading the points I don’t think you could keep any one of these guys in the garage out of that race car. At least not until the first pit stop. I think they would be physically fighting you to get in that race car. We all got here because we are driven and we are willing to risk something. Every time you put that helmet on and drive the car you are risking. Another risk on top of that, I don’t think any of us would voluntarily give it up. I don’t think Dale Earnhardt Jr. gave it up voluntarily either. I know him well enough, not very well, but enough as a competitor to know he doesn’t want to get out of a race car. It was probably the best thing to do.”

Source: Ford Racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR-CUP
Article type Interview
Tags edwards, fenway, ford, kansas, roush