Homestead: Winning team press conference

Homestead-Miami Speedway November 21, 2010 An Interview With: CARL EDWARDS - Race winner JACK ROUSH - Team owner BOB OSBORNE - Crew chief KERRY THARP: Let's roll into our race-winning team for today's forward 420 at Homestead Miami Speedway...

Homestead-Miami Speedway
November 21, 2010

An Interview With:
CARL EDWARDS - Race winner
JACK ROUSH - Team owner
BOB OSBORNE - Crew chief

KERRY THARP: Let's roll into our race-winning team for today's forward 420 at Homestead Miami Speedway and our race winner is Carl Edwards. He drives the No. 99 Aflac Ford for Roush Fenway Racing. He's joined by his crew chief, Bob Osborne, and team owner, Jack Roush. Congratulation to the No. 99 team. For Carl Edwards, it's his 18th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory, his second straight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win. As I told Carl, he probably wishes this season wasn't over.

Second win here at Homestead and for today's race, he had a perfect driver rating of 150, 150 is as good as it gets in the Sprint Cup Series, he led 190 laps. Coral, congratulations on just a dominant performance today and a strong finish to a 2010 season.

CARL EDWARDS: Thank you very much. And first, congratulations to Jimmie Johnson and those guys. I was telling them in victory lane, it's going to take us six years to beat that. Just unreal what those guys have been able to do.

But for our team, to finish like this and to be on the upswing that we are, this is as good as it gets.

I can't remember who asked the question but somebody asked a really good question on Friday in here about how I felt this compared to 2008 going into 2009. I feel a lot better right now going into 2011 than I did going into 2009, and that's because I feel we have a lot of momentum and things are getting better. We have a new engine that we are working on that just keeps getting better.

That is the best performance down a straightaway than I have had in a long time today. We just got a lot of good things going. I can't tell you guys how much this t means to finish a season like this, this just spectacular for us.

KERRY THARP: Bob Osborne, great job out there here towards the end of the season, in particular. What was the change or what was the turnaround? What can you attribute it to?

BOB OSBORNE: First, I'd like to say congratulations to Chad Knaus and the entire 48 program. That's a phenomenal feat. And hopefully we have the opportunity to surpass that at some point.

You know, there's not really any one specific part, piece, technique, process that we have changed to turn the corner here. Just a lot of little things that seem to have built momentum for us and got us back to victory lane.

KERRY THARP: Jack Roush, certainly winning the Ford 400 doesn't get old, I'm sure, for you. You won it here many, many times.

JACK ROUSH: I want to start off by congratulating Rick Hendrick and that entire organization, as well. What they have done has just been awesome.

As far as coming into Ford Championship weekend and not winning in a Ford, with all of the support that we have had over the years, I would be embarrassed to go home and not make a good showing. I can sleep better tonight than last night based on the way it worked out today.

We look forward with Bob, they have the duel celebrations going on here, and I look forward to being able to do it up on the stage there with championship group and at the same time in the background with the race win, as well. So maybe we can get both of them next year.

Q. Is it kind of an odd distraction to be in victory lane celebrating when you hear fireworks going on, something else is going on and there are duel celebrations and are you the only person leaving this racetrack today that wishes the season was still going on next week?

CARL EDWARDS: Well, first thing, I tell you, it's a lot more frustrating to not be in victory lane and watching somebody out there doing their donuts and all that stuff.

I've been in this position before. We have won this race and whoever wins this race, is usually watching somebody else celebrate out there with the championship. I don't have any -- I think I have a good perspective on the season, and I am, you know -- I'm able to look at what we have done and look at these two race wins and the fourth in points and say, hey, if you would have told me, ten races into the season that this is how we are were going to wrap this thing up, I would not have believed you. This is beyond the comeback that I expected or it's really beyond what I hoped for. This is very good, good finish to the season.

You know, this victory is very, very important to us, and you know, those guys celebrating their championship, they earned it.

What was the other part of your question?

Q. Do you wish the season was still going on?

CARL EDWARDS: Heck yeah, I wish the season was just starting. That would be nice to start the season with these two wins but we'll go for three in a row at Daytona and that would be a heck of a place to get three in a row.

We have been close at Daytona in a couple races, and that would be nice. So we'll go there with guns blazing and I think we are going to be better than we have ever been, starting next season.

Q. To really push the dejavu to '08, and you say you feel better than you did then. We left here in '08 and we made you the automatic favorite to dethrone Jimmie --

CARL EDWARDS: Please don't do that again. That didn't work worth a damn. (Laughter).

Q. But I mean, you guys had trouble and they just kept motoring on. You say you feeling a lot better with the new engine and that sort of thing. Let me really push the issue. Do you feel so much better that you think that even as Hendrick continues to make their usual progress that you guys will still have something for them, whatever they do next year.

CARL EDWARDS: I think that's a question everybody is going to ask themselves when they go home; how do we beat those guys. I believe that our slope, our game is a little steeper than their it is right now. The question is can we keep that going because on average, they have just been better than everyone else. We have proven that. We have been better at times. Other people have been better at times. I look at what we have -- when I look at the two cars sitting next to one another and I understand that those cars are made of shocks and springs and the chassis and the body and the engine, and I look at all of those parameters and where we are headed with ours, I feel like we are making really good progress. I feel like we are making our slope steeper than theirs.

So with that being said, we just have to hope that we can continue that and regardless of whether -- how we stack up to them, I still feel like we are on more of an up swing than we were in 2008.

Q. You were very complimentary of Jimmie, and I know this is difficult for drivers to do, can you put into perspective what he's done? Can he be considered the greatest ever even if he has not won the most championships because of what he's done for such a long period of time now and the level of competition against which he's achieved it?

CARL EDWARDS: I feel like I'm better than him. (Laughter) Everybody feels like that. That's why we race, guys. So you're never going to get -- if you've got a driver out there right now that says, oh, no, Jimmie is a lot better than me -- (Laughter) -- you don't want that guy on your team.

But let me -- obviously they have proven that they are able to win more races and more championships than the rest of it. We just have to figure out how to do that. You know, there's a reason we call each other by our car numbers, is because we are all humans and I don't want to think about Jimmie Johnson, the person, or so-and-so as a person. I think of them as just a car, a guy that I have to beat on the racetrack and I think that's how we all deal with one another the best.

But that 48 was sure good this year, that's for sure.

Q. You've taken some college classes. Here is an essay question: Compare a 70-win list streak to a two-race winning streak.

CARL EDWARDS: Let me think, a 70-race winless streak; no offense Jack, but it's like a sharp stick in the eye. (Laughter).

It's bad, it's really bad.

JACK ROUSH: Him and Bob both lined up and got me in the eye with the champagne before I realized the battle was on today.

CARL EDWARDS: I'm sorry about that. That was bad. I was just having a little fun there.

But a 70-race winless streak is very difficult and it's difficult because -- Jack owns this team. He goes to bed and wakes up every morning, I'm sure, thinking how can we make this better. I go to bed and wake up every morning and thinking how can I be better and Bob does the same thing. When you don't get the results you want, you first look at yourself and you say, hey, how can I do better. It's very easy to start looking around and start pointing fingers at everyone else.

Our shop and our guys, I've said this before, but we have done a very good job of working together. I'm very proud of Bob. When we ran in 2008, Bob kind of stood alone and did his own thing, and we ran very well. And then when things were not going so well, you know, Jack and I kind of ganged up on Bob and said, hey, you need to look around to come up with some other ideas. He's a little defensive, at first, but then he's transformed into a guy that can take the best parts of every car out there that he has access to, and make our car the best.

So I think -- and then myself, I feel like I've worked very hard on some shortcomings that I have as a driver, and all of us have worked really hard so. That process is very painful, not quite as painful as the analogy I said earlier, but it sure seems like it, and in a two-race winning streak is a lot better. It's like doing a loop in Jack Roush's P51 Mustang.

Is that better? The loop, the Mustang?

JACK ROUSH: Last night Carl asked me, I was trying to help Mike, help win that Nationwide race last night. Carl had a little wreck and got aggravated and suggested I go hope somebody else. Did you mean that?

CARL EDWARDS: We give each other a hard time. (Laughter) But you guys know Jack. And I think that's another thing that I would like to say before we leave here is that when Jack got in his accident, and the fact that we can joke around about it says a lot about Jack, but when he was in his accident, I think all of us, I know myself, Bob, all of the people I've talked to have said, what are we going to do with this company here. What if Jack, something is really wrong with Jack, and he can't come back and lead us, what are we going to do.

The fact that you came back to the racetrack, what was it, two weeks later, something like that, and never missed a beat, he never talks about himself, he never complains about anything. He's a guy that you want to go to war with and we are just proud to have you, Jack.

Q. You seem to have set a new standard of post-race celebration, and do you ever feel like you have to count your arms and legs and fingers when you come back out of the stands? Jack, first it was backflips and now he's going up to the stands. Do you have any more trepidation about one or the other?

JACK ROUSH: The backflips certainly caused me a question, whether he was skilled enough to do that, and he assured me that he practiced that art when he had a girlfriend that was gymnast in college and he worked his way through and I should relax and it would be all right.

As far as him going in the stands, that does pose a certain risk, depending on who you are as a driver, you might not want to go up thereafter a race. But Carl is pretty well thought of.

I thought that this won't be a problem for me, Mike Helton will put his -- in and will lock the gate and won't let him up there and the first time we saw Mike after it happened the first time, Mike was cheering him on and bragging on him for it. So I don't know what we are going to do. Maybe we can get the security organized to help out with that. But there's a crowd of folks that are anxious to see the winner when the winner is Carl, and the fact that he recognizes that's something he can do to improve the sport and give the fans something back really says a lot about Carl.

Q. Was there a certain sense of comfort knowing that your car was so much better that you didn't ever really have to worry about any of the three guys battling for the title, racing them hard, being in front of them?

CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, I don't think anyone wanted to be out there racing those guys too hard, just because of the potential disaster that you could be a part of.

So what we thought of, and we joked about it, we say, hey, it would be nice to watch that whole thing out of the rear-view mirror and that's what we did almost all day. It was very nice. I talked to Bob and Jack both after the race. That car was very, very good. Our car was very fast and just nice to have a car that's that fast. And Truex was really fast, too. Where did he finish, anybody know? He did a really good job today. I had fun racing with him, pretty neat. 11th I think.

Q. I was listening to your radio when the Denny Hamlin thing went down; you told Bob, keep an eye on the 11 and see what they do when they are in that position, that could be us next year. And I found it really interesting that you were thinking about 2011 when you were sitting here leading this race. Was that trying to send a message to the crew that you are reaching that type of championship potential and let's start thinking about that from now?

CARL EDWARDS: Well, for me personally, I don't like to get into a situation and have it be the first time I've been in that situation, even if it's just been in my mind. What we were discussing was the fact that we don't want to -- you just don't ever want to look back and say, I wish I had thought about that harder. So any time you have a chance to really look at a situation that is a high-stress one and in my mind, to figuratively kind of place myself into it, it's good practice.

So that's what we were talking about. It's just look at them, see how they are doing, how they are dealing with this high-stress situation and maybe we can -- maybe we'll have thought about it one time. But we have all been in situations where something happens and you're like, I wish I would have thought about that. Now I'm surprised that I can't react the right way or the most productive way.

Q. Not to pick around you again, but you've been around a long time and a lot of series; what is it to carry on, and to stay at the stop and what will it take to displace Hendrick Motorsports in the Cup Series?

JACK ROUSH: You have to make fewer mistakes than they do and be better at spending your money. There's enough money to do what you need to do here, but the main thing is spending money on the things that you have got enough time to effect a good result and a good solution to the problems and challenges you've got. That's what we have to do.

Last year as we made our plans for 2010, we dared to be great as it related to our simulations and we didn't get it done right and that put us behind this year for six months before we got it fixed and then got the confidence in it. But we have got to tear up as all of the teams do over the winter this year to try to make things better, otherwise you get passed behind.

The other question is how does it feel to be racing today after I've raced for all these years and all these series? You know, today, to watch Bob win his first championship, and Carl win his first championship, and the pit crew to win their first championship, to watch all of the people that are realizing the success and their goals is really what gets me up and keeps me going. I know when I've had my problems, I've thought, is this really the way I want to be spending the rest of my life, and it is, to enjoy the drama, to enjoy the competition, to enjoy the personnel and challenges and solutions to the problems are the things that really keep me as young as I am and that keep me interested in really carrying on.

A long time ago, after I won enough championships and won enough races to say that I felt that I had done enough for me; but to be part of everybody else's success that's following me is really what keeps me going.

Q. In your post-race interview with Alex, you mentioned you did the backflip and there was some pain in the foot. Was it the same foot that you hurt before? What was it that you did?

CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, kind of stubbed my toe a little bit on the ground. I was just kind of over-excited there. It's okay. I was a little nervous there for a minute but it's fine. Yeah, do I have any Aflac coverage paid up and that's good. So if something does turn out to be broken, I get paid and plenty of time to heal but I think it's fine.

Thanks for caring. I appreciate it. (Laughter).

Q. The feat that we have all witnessed throughout the course of the season and last five years, in a year when so many perceived the 48 to be vulnerable for whatever reason, lack of speed, maybe some issues with the pits, what-have-you, what does it say about the team that even in a year when they are perceived to be vulnerable they come out on top?

CARL EDWARDS: It's just spectacular. I'm not certain you guys saw the race from a much different perspective than I did, but it just looked like he didn't make any mistakes today. They steadily made their car better, and they let the other guys make mistakes.

I think if you really look from the 10,000-foot view, that's probably what they do best is just toe the line and keep progressing forward without too much emotion or too much -- too many mistakes and I think that's the thing that all of us are trying to do is to be that good. And they have done it. It's just spectacular. I really believe that we are all witnessing something that's nothing short of spectacular.

KERRY THARP: Congratulations on today's win and much success in the off-season and continuing on in 2011.

CARL EDWARDS: Thank you guys for covering the sport the way you have. These last couple of weeks have been the best thing that have happened for our sport and the way you guys have covered it is very good. Thank you for all of your effort and we'll see you at Daytona.

-source: nascar

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jimmie Johnson , Carl Edwards , Jack Roush , Mike Helton , Denny Hamlin , Chad Knaus
Teams Hendrick Motorsports , Roush Fenway Racing