Ford 400 Post-Race Transcript
An Interview With:
THE MODERATOR: If I could have your attention please. We're going to roll into our championship team for the 2008 Miami Ford 400 at Miami Homestead Speedway, the Ford driven by Carl Edwards, crew chief Bob Osborne, and owned by Jack Roush. Congratulations to the 99.
Carl Edwards finishes second in the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup series standings. This is his ninth victory. Third best. His third victory in the Chase. And here at Homestead, Miami, Jack Roush's teams have won five straight races at this racetrack. Six overall.
Carl, you've concluded an outstanding season. You're up here last night, obviously. Your thoughts about today's race, and as you look back, maybe a few thoughts about the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup season for you?
CARL EDWARDS: Well, I'm sure glad we won today's race, because it will make it a little bit easier to deal with the off season and coming so close to the championship.
You know, we ran really well this season. Something I wanted to make sure my guys understood is they did their jobs. They did a great job. It was, you know there's two races where we lost points. One was my mistake, and one was a complete, you know, coincidence or freak accident or whatever with the ignition system.
So my guys performed well enough to win a championship this season. And considering how well Jimmie performed, I don't think that's a small feat.
So tonight was a lot of fun. I'm glad that we won the race, so that we can go into the off season knowing that we won more races than anyone else in this series. I think that's a big accomplishment. Especially, considering how well Jimmie and Kyle both ran all season. So that feels good. And knowing how well we ran it gives me a lot of confidence for next season.
So a good weekend. Second in both series is not first, but it's definitely not something to be ashamed of. I'm proud of what we did this year.
THE MODERATOR: Bob Osborne, crew chief this year. This team really came together. Your thoughts about how this 99 team came together?
BOB OSBORNE: Well, I was very happy to see, actually, how well they came together. We started out with a lot of new guys at the beginning of the season, so it took a little while.
You know, the last thing that always comes together, sometimes is that pit crew. The boys put their best effort forward, and took it upon themselves to get good enough to be able to compete on Pit Road with the topnotch teams. I believe they did that quite well in the second half of the season, and it shows.
A lot of that has to do with everyone getting to know each other and understanding everyone's traits and things like that, so you're comfortable around them at all times. Not just in working situations, but, you know, that personal relationship matters a lot too. Unfortunately, in our business because we spend so much time together.
THE MODERATOR: Jack Roush, you've won five straight races at this racetrack. Completely dominated it. Six overall. Just had a great season with that 99 team. Your thoughts?
JACK ROUSH: Well, it's good to win in front of the home crowd. This is Ford championship weekend. I was out in one of the pavilions today and had the best time that I think I've ever had at an appearance at one of these events. And all the people come down. They're anxious to celebrate not only NASCAR, but particularly here the history, of Ford Motor Company.
It's a great credit to the engineering support they've given us. This has become less of an art and more of a science in terms of the way these cars are run. For somebody like Bob for Carl to rely on Bob, and Bob to rely on the information he's getting from Ford and for me to have the confidence to carry back to my partner to invest in all of that is really something.
But this team really came together. I didn't see what the finishing order was of all of our cars. But Robbie Reiser and the guys back at the shop have done a great job this year organizing the build programs, and organizing the test program, and organizing the pit crews and everything to realize their potential.
We're a promote from within company more than any other NASCAR organization I'm aware of. We hire more junior folks and give them their first shot, and then advance them as they're able to take more responsibility, and that's one of the reasons sometimes that our pit crews are a little slower to develop as we'd like them to. It's the fact that we've got an average of people with a little less experience as they're looking for a foothold and trying to get involved in the sport.
But Ford did a great job. I was wrong again tonight. I apologize to Bob. I went down there and I was sure he was going to get what he deserved in Texas, he was going to run Carl out of gas. But he didn't do that. And then Carl, I don't know if we were Bob and I were hearing things we imagined or not. But I distinctly heard him say, okay, after he slowed down he was coming to Pit Road. And I thought that it wasn't running. And sure enough, he drove by Pit Road and made one more lap and managed to stay in front of the 29, and there it was. He was able to close the deal.
But it was amazing that Doug Yates and the guys have been able to find the fuel economy in the engines. Ford Fusion is one of the mileage leaders for the Ford Motor Company with its four cylinder engine in the full size car class. To be able to get that kind of fuel mileage and have people be able to talk about that is wonderful. I'm real proud of it.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q: You're going to hear when you get home a lot about the Hendrick dynasty. Have you closed the gap, guys, for next year?
CARL EDWARDS: I think that, you know, I mean, we won more races than Jimmie, and we ran with him, you know, when he won. I personally feel like we've closed a big gap this season. I felt like we ran very well at the road courses at Martinsville, at some of the tracks that we haven't sometimes been able to keep up with them. So, yeah, hopefully.
You know, I know they'll enjoy this championship, but I'm sure they knew we were here, you know what I'm saying? That's good.
JACK ROUSH: One of the things that's most satisfying to me is the fact that with the guys, with all their preparation and the way they interacted before with the crew chiefs and car chiefs, if you look at the way our entire group of cars runs, it's better than most of the multi team organizations in the garage.
To be able to have Jamie show the promise he's had, and David Ragan to do what he's done, and led a bunch of laps. He didn't manage to win this year, he won last year. But I surely thought he would have a shot at it there except for the fuel mileage on Carl's car being better, Matt might have won tonight.
That's what Carl thought was going to happen as he talked to me about it. He thought Matt was going to be able to go and he was going to be able to go. But he wasn't going to be able to catch him. Then he ran out of gas, and he thought Matt ran out of gas, and he thought Carl might run out of gas, too.
But we've had a really great exchange of information between the guys. You know, I think the crew chiefs all approve of one another, and the drivers all approve of one another. They like one another. They're friends. To be part of that is just a great joy for me.
Q: 23 laps in, he's already asking where the 48 car was. How do you just, you know, say okay, Carl, we've got a long way to go here? Just hang tight?
BOB OSBORNE: Basically, that's it. That's about what I told him. I just said he's in such and such spot, don't worry about that. Focus on what we had to do at the time. And I'll keep you updated as things change for us.
That's basically where we left it. He never asked again. He might have asked one more time under caution or something, but for the most part, didn't really ask, and I just update him when I had the chance to focus on where the 48 was.
CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, I was going down the front straight way, and you're driving down the road and you see when a bird barely misses your car. This bird almost came in the window net. I thought to myself, if that bird would have come through the gap in the window net and hit me in the chest, I don't know what I would have done.
So that surprised me. Got my attention (laughing). Yeah, it wasn't a duck. It wasn't a duck. Yeah, we don't eat duck. We treat ducks nice around here (smiling).
Q: Two victories. You've got two victories this weekend. Will you celebrate after this? Or is this go home and puke?
BOB OSBORNE: I'm going to do all the celebrating, I can tell you that.
CARL EDWARDS: He'll probably celebrate for me. We're going to fly home. It will just it's nice knowing that we had such a big gap to close coming in here; the only way that I knew we could be satisfied is if we did what we did tonight and we could feel like we gave it our best effort.
So I don't know if it's cause for celebration as much as just, you know, feeling good about what we did.
Q: You sort of touched on this about 100 percent. Knowing that you guys gave all you gave, you won three of the last four races, after your problem, there are teams in this Chase this year, there have been teams that started in the Chase throughout the history of the Chase that have had a problem and folded up like cheap lawn furniture. You guys had two bad weeks and won three of the last four races. That's the kind of thing you're talking about, the 100 percent, bouncing back from that?
CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, it's one of the toughest things to do is just keep your head up, do the best you can, and take what you can get. That's why I'm so excited about the years to come. I feel like this team can really they can do it, you know. Regardless of the odds or whatever. It would have been real easy for all the guys to get lax and not pay attention to the detail they do at the shop and for Bob to not take the gambles or spend the times that he spends on the race cars.
So, yeah, it's cool to be with a group of guys like that.
These two guys sitting next to me, they're as tough and determined as anyone. It's cool to be part of it.
Q: Jack, as an owner, you know how tough it is to win a title. Rick has won 8 of the last 14. How impressive is that to you? What does it take to be at that level for that long?
JACK ROUSH: I won one out of the first 18. I remember that. That was my record. And I had been particularly, I had been to Daytona for about eight times with my road race cars before I went to Daytona with a stock car. Every time I had been there I had always won. In fact, the road racing we'd done, we won for 14 years, we won 48 percent of the races we entered, and virtually all of the championships that were in front of us.
So it really came as a real dose of a shot of cold water, a dose of reality to figure out how hard it is to do this. Rick has built a strong organization. He's got a great balance between his marketing and his engineering, his identification of and development of able drivers like Jimmie and Jeff Gordon.
You know, he's certainly set a high bar there for us. I don't know if anybody with as with the nature of this new car, I don't know that any owner will win as many races in the near term as he's won in the recent past.
I just focus on next year. I know as I look at next year, we started off the year with a testing deficit with the Car of Tomorrow. We got that fixed toward the end of the year. We finished the year on a real high note, having won here, and felt like we had a chance to make a run for it next year.
I don't have a major concern toward next year in terms of either trying to fix a technical problem or trying to fix a team problem. Teams are functioning well, technical side is great. I just hope we can maintain our pace and our position on all of those things. Maybe next year somebody else will have the two ignition boxes that fail.
Carl talked about his ignition box problem. We had two ignition boxes that had never been in a race car before, that you expect to be as reliable as shotgun shells that you put in your gun in hunting season, and both ignition boxes failed at the same time on the same lap on the racetrack. You don't get any unluckier than that. When that's going against you, you can't recover in a ten race steal.
We had a wreck at Talladega, but to have a second thing happen that you couldn't have stopped or couldn't have predicted, I just hope we can do as well as we can picking our parts next year. We hope Doug and the guys will do a good job with the engine, that they'll be as good as they were this year.
We're just going to try to keep it going.
Continued in part 2