Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion, finds himself 53 points out of the points lead thanks to fifth and sixth-place finishes the last two weeks. Edwards, who will be a guest on tonight's Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, spoke...
Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion, finds himself 53 points out of the points lead thanks to fifth and sixth-place finishes the last two weeks. Edwards, who will be a guest on tonight's Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, spoke about his team's improvement after practice.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS WEEKEND? "Our Aflac Fusion is pretty fast. I believe that last week was a good test for us. That Kansas race track is a lot like the Auto Club Speedway. It's going to be a really hot, slippery race on Sunday. It looks like the temperatures are gonna be pretty high. The track temp will be really hot, so, hopefully, we can get a good qualifying effort in here in the next hour or so and start up front. I feel like our team has been marching towards this points lead just little bits at a time and I think this track is an opportunity for us to do that again."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS AS WE GET READY TO GO TO MARTINSVILLE? "The spring race, Matt Kenseth had a chance to win that race and I think, if you ask Matt, that's not a great race track for Matt. Our car was pretty fast. We've had on and off days there, but I look at that race track where if we can qualify well and can run like we've been running, we're gonna be good, but it's a bottleneck. It's a spot in the chase that I'm a little bit nervous about, but we've just got to qualify well there. I think that's the thing that's hurt us the most in the past. Once we get out there running I always feel like we run okay, but we've just got to make a good lap."
TEXAS IS SHORTLY AFTER THAT RACE. WHAT CAN YOU DO IN A NATIONWIDE CAR THERE THAT YOU CAN'T DO IN THE CUP CAR AND DO YOU PREFER ONE OR THE OTHER? "Texas Motor Speedway is a lot of fun to drive in any car. The Nationwide car there is just so hammered down. You're on the throttle so much that it's a different kind of race than the Cup race, but I like them both. There is no carryover or transfer of information. The Cup race there is spectacular. The track is very well suited to the Cup cars. You can run different lines, the speeds are extremely high, and the track has a little bit of character with the way the transitions work and there are a couple of bumps that make it a fun track to drive. But for me, the biggest thing at Texas is just that crowd. Seeing that many people at a race track and that many real race savvy fans, that's a really special place to win."
HOW DOES THIS RACE BEING 400 MILES CHANGE THINGS FROM THE SPRING RACE? "Oh, so this is a 400-mile race? I thought it was a 500-mile race all weekend. Man, I'm glad we covered that. That's gonna go quick. The thing is it's gonna be hot and starting at noon, a 400-mile race here should be over at about 3 o'clock or 3:30 at the latest. It's such a fast race track, so that will change things a little bit. I was really looking forward to the 500 miles. I like the grueling aspect of this race track and that long distance race, but I think for the fans things are gonna shake out. The fastest car will probably be leading by the 400th mile, so if that makes it a more exciting race, then that's good."
YOU HAVE A BIG DEFICIT IN THE NATIONWIDE SERIES, JUST LIKE LAST YEAR. IS IT THE SAME PHILOSOPHY OF TRYING TO GAMBLE A BIT TO CATCH UP? "Our Nationwide program, we've just got to go out there and learn the most we can and take the most risk we can to try and win races, but, really, it's about building for next year. I've committed to running full-time next year. I don't know if I'm gonna be able to race for the championship or not, but we'll still keep our own score if we can't. We just want to go out and be the best we can for next season, so that's what we're really focusing on right now. There are a lot of changes coming to the Nationwide Series and I think that what we do now is we just focus on building towards that. Brad has been doing a great job this year. They've got a really big lead and they've earned it and, unless something major happens, I think they're gonna be able to keep that lead. So we've just got to go for it, I guess."
WHAT HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT NATIONWIDE CHANGES FOR NEXT YEAR? "I don't know how many guys from the Cup Series are planning on running full-time. I think it might just be me. Hopefully, Brad will run again. It would be great if Kyle would run. It's fun to be able to race with those guys for points. That's fun. I think what NASCAR is trying to do is they're trying to make an opportunity for the Nationwide Series to be more of a development series. I think by eliminating the ability for a guy like myself to run for the championship, I don't think that changes the face of the average Nationwide race. Kyle Busch has won 11 races this year and he's not racing for the championship. There's nothing that would keep him from doing the same thing again next year, or our team winning 11 races next year - whether or not I was racing for the championship. The only thing it does hurt is team's ability like ours to go out and get sponsorship to run for the championship. That's an important thing to Copart and Fastenal is for us to have an opportunity to do that. I know they're looking at it from all different angles and I'm glad they're doing that and not making a rash choice and, hopefully, they come up with the right decision. But I don't know what it is, yet. Nobody has told me."
IS YOUR SETUP DIFFERENT FOR THIS RACE THAN EARLIER? "It is a little bit different because the track will be slicker, the times will fall off more, it'll be a different race, so, yeah, the car has to be set up differently."
DO YOU KNOW WHAT KIND OF CAR YOU'LL BE RACING AT THE RACE OF CHAMPIONS LATER THIS YEAR IN GERMANY? "No, Jim Hancock from the United States team is here and we haven't had a chance to talk about everything yet, but I know he's here and he can talk to you about that. Travis Pastrana has committed to going. I'm committed to going. It's in that big soccer stadium, but I haven't seen what kind of cars we're gonna race yet. We're gonna go there and get all the practice we can and try to beat up on those Germans (laughter) the best we can, but they're pretty fast."
WHY DOES A LONGER RACE WORK BETTER FOR YOU. YOU SEEM DISPPOINTED THIS IS A 400-MILE RACE? "I work really hard to be as fit as I can be. My trainer, Dean, from Carmichael Training Systems, we work really hard to be prepared for these long races. I can't believe I didn't know this was a 400-mile race. This race track just seems like one of the hottest race tracks we go to sometimes. When the sun is out here there is no escaping the heat, so I feel that those long races play into my strengths physically, and then I feel that from a handling standpoint and the way the car drives, I think the hotter and slicker it is suits me and our team as well. I grew up racing at dirt tracks and I really like when the car moves around a lot. I really enjoy that."
-source: ford racing