Indianapolis: Edwards - Friday media visit

Ford Racing currently has three drivers in the top 12 of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings in Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle. All three participated in a Q&A session in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway infield prior to ...

Ford Racing currently has three drivers in the top 12 of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings in Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle. All three participated in a Q&A session in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway infield prior to Friday's practice.

CARL EDWARDS - No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion

WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO THE PENALTIES? "Immediately after the race last week I felt like what I did was right and it was a fair outcome to the race, and I felt like it was within NASCAR's boundaries that they had set. I think NASCAR felt the same way right then, but then as the week went on, I had the chance to talk to Mike Helton and I understand and respect that those other teams that were caught up in that wreck that Brad and I had initiated, I mean, those guys are working hard. I've been in that position, working hard for sponsorship and working hard for finishes, and I feel that NASCAR's penalty is fair. I talked to Jack and Geoff Smith and I don't plan on appealing it. I think it's fair in that respect. I sincerely apologize to those guys that were caught up in that wreck. I would rather finish second in a good race than have to win a race the way I won the race. Now, I'm not gonna finish second in a race the way that one was going, but I respect NASCAR's decision."

KNOWING WHAT YOU KNOW NOW WOULD YOU DO THE SAME THING NEXT WEEK? "Both of us are on probation. Let me put it this way, I don't think there's one championship-level driver, one winning driver, that can go along in their career and let someone forcefully take wins away from them. I don't think that's built into any of us. We'll see what the future holds. I'll tell you, I race hard and I'm not gonna let somebody take advantage of me, that's for sure. I've proven that, and I've been consistent about it, and I've been honest about it, too, which, I don't think has helped me any, but I've been honest about it."

IS IT PERSONAL BETWEEN YOU TWO? "There's nothing personal between Brad and I - from my side there's not. I have a lot of respect for him and what he does on the race track, but the problem is that he can't just run into me to get an advantage, especially for wins. That's happened way too much between us. The part I'm real happy with on these penalties, I can accept my penalty, but I'm happy that NASCAR recognized that Brad needed to be penalized too - that my race car could have been the one turned around, run into by people behind me, all in pursuit of a win. I think it's important that NASCAR recognized that."

IF IT WASN'T BRAD IN THE OTHER CAR, WOULD YOU HAVE FINISHED THAT RACE THE SAME WAY? "If that were somebody in that car that we hadn't had all the trouble before, then that finish would have turned out differently, that's for sure. Because I maybe could have accepted that it was unintentional, but Brad is a really good race car driver and he knows what he's doing. I know that and he knows that, and that's why that race went the way it did."

DO YOU BELIEVE THE OUTCRY ALL WEEK PLAYED INTO THE PENALTIES AT ALL? "I don't hear the public outcry. I went home and had a really good week. I rode my bike and hung out with my daughter and my family, and, to a person, every single person that talked to me personally thought it was the right outcome for the race. Like I said before, I would have much rather it not gone that way, but it's funny how people say whatever they say, but the people who I talked to seemed to think that that race went well."

DID YOU GET ANY PUSHBACK FROM JACK? "If we start from the beginning when NASCAR said, 'This is it. You guys regulate on the race track. You guys take the gloves off. Have at it. Go race.' I still think that's the best way to do it and I still think NASCAR accepts that that's the best way. There are unintended consequences to that and the torn up cars that weren't mine or Brad's, that's a bad result. It really struck home for me. We were in the meeting this week with all of our teams and they go from the lowest finisher and go up to the top and I listened to all these guys say, 'Yeah, we were running well and we got caught up in that wreck at the end,' and they all look at me at the end of the table. So I understand that and I respect that, and I apologized to those guys that were caught up in it."

DO YOU FEEL HE MADE A MISTAKE OR DO YOU FEEL HE INTENTIONALLY WENT IN THERE KNOWING THAT WOULD BE THE RESULT? "I believe that he did not make a mistake. That was an intentional, I mean, he moved me out of the way to gain an advantage and it almost worked. He almost won the race, so that's what he did. It doesn't really matter what my opinion is. NASCAR knows what happened and he knows what happened and that's why they penalized him."

IT MATTERS BECAUSE HE SAYS IT WASN'T INTENTIONAL AND THAT HE SLIPPED. "I'm telling you that as a race car driver, and any other race car driver will tell you, that that wasn't a slip up, and if it was a slip up, which, hey, he might convince himself that it's a slip up, you have a little bit of insurance that you leave yourself when you go down in the corner like that. And on the last lap, you might not say, 'I'm gonna drive down in this corner and hit this guy,' but it's real easy to say, 'I'm gonna drive down in this corner a little bit harder than I have and consequences be damned and this guy is gonna be the one that pays.' So it's reasonable that he's not lying, but I believe he's not being completely honest that that was a mistake. He's too good of a race car driver and I know that."

WHAT DO YOU THINK WHEN YOU SEE THOSE WRECKS AND THE AFTERMATH? "Let me be really clear on this. Our actions are not very different. The outcomes are different. I respect that it's dangerous. Relatively, our sport is very safe. Someone showed me a statistic that no driver has missed a race due to injury for seven years in the Cup Series, and compared to the NFL, which I think they had 400 people on the injured reserve last year. So, with that in mind, I don't go out an initiate - not anymore. I have before and I've learned it's better not to go out an initiate contact to gain an advantage. It could just as easily been my car that was turned around sideways and me getting hit in the door in turn one. It just comes down to am I willing to accept somebody putting me at risk like that over and over. I'm not the one initiating these instances. I just did a better job of keeping my car under control."

HOW WOULD YOU HAVE RACED HIM TO GET THE LEAD IF THE POSITIONS WERE REVERSED ON THE LAST LAP? "I would not have hit his car, if I could. And if I did hit his car, I would like to think I wouldn't take advantage of it as much as he did. So, it's like I said a minute ago, I would truthfully rather have finished second in that race, and had a good race, which, I think if he wouldn't have hit me, he still would have been able to beat me. He had a stronger car. I would rather that than the way the race went. I mean, we had an unbelievable race 30 laps previous to that. We raced side-by-side. It's just a little bit coincidental that at the last lap he, oops, he accidentally messed and got the winning advantage."

IT'S NOT OKAY TO MOVE SOMEBODY OUT OF THE WAY? "It's not okay to move me out of the way. If somebody else wants to let people move them out of the way for the win, that's okay with me. They can do whatever they like, but I can't allow myself to be run over like that. I'm not gonna win championships like that."

HAVE YOU EVER MOVED SOMEONE? "Let me put it this way, the times when I've moved someone out of the way for whatever reason I thought was okay at the time, I have fully expected retaliation and every driver that's in here knows that feeling. When you're like, 'Oh boy, I got that one the wrong way. Here it comes.' That's part of our sport, and NASCAR has said that they believe that's the best way for this sport to believe and I think that's true."

IS YOUR SCORE EVEN WITH BRAD NOW? "My hope is that going forward, if we can go to ORP tomorrow night and battle it side-by-side in an honest, good race and the best man wins, that's the best case for Brad and I, and it's the best case for our sport. That would be great. That's what I'm looking forward to."

DID YOU LEAVE THE TRACK SATURDAY THINKING THERE WASN'T A PROBLEM, AND WHAT HAPPENED BETWEEN SATURDAY AND THE OTHER DAY WHEN THE PENALTY WAS ANNOUNCED? "There's a lot of opinions about that. When I left the race track, Joe Balash and the other NASCAR folks that we talked to, everything seemed okay - like that was just a race and that's how it went. And as the week went on I think some other things were brought to light about the other teams and maybe this was a gray area that they needed to address. I was surprised initially by the penalties for both of us, but I can understand it. The deal is I appreciate NASCAR taking two-and-a-half days to really think it through and explain it to me. And the way I understand it is we've had a run-in before. We had one that required them to address it and since then what they do is they ratchet up the penalties. So I had probation before and Brad had nothing. Now, he's got probation and I've got probation and some points, so I understand it."

WAS THERE ANY DISCUSSION IN YOUR LAST MEETING ABOUT HOW TO RACE EACH OTHER FROM THAT POINT ON? "Yeah, the idea was we were supposed to go forward and race one another clean. We drove down into turn one on the last lap of that race and that didn't happen. It's tough. Any driver that's being honest will tell you that when you're put in that position it's very tough to decide what to do. But when you've repeatedly had trouble with somebody, it becomes not so tough."

HAVE YOU BEEN SURPRISED BY THE STRONG FEELINGS FANS HAVE HAD, AND YOU'RE KIND OF THE GUY IN THE WHITE HAT ALL THE TIME. IS THERE MORE OF AN EDGE NOW? "I'm me. I'm Carl. I go out there and I didn't get here by allowing anybody to run over me. That's another thing, I've got to say thank you to my fans that understand what happened there and understand how that race went. I've got to say thank you to those folks for understanding what's going on and not trying to turn this into something bigger than it is. It's simple. He took the win away from me and I took it back from him. That's what I said after the race and the only bad part is that other people were involved, and I apologize to those people and I accept my penalty for it. But, as far as understanding me, my fans understand me and the people that I've talked to - it's funny how you go around and people - to a person - people felt like that race went the way it should have."

ANY DRIVERS SAY THAT TO YOU? "Yes, multiple drivers."

PEOPLE SEE ALL THIS STUFF AND WONDER WHO IS THE REAL CARL. CAN YOU UNDERSTAND THAT? "I can understand that, but the people who know me and the people who take time to look at the entire picture understand that it is very possible to be kind, but not be weak. There's a big difference, and I feel as a person it's my job to be kind to people, treat everyone the way I'd like to be treated, but I will not be walked on. I won't be stepped on. The people who are my fans and the people who know me respect that, and the other ones, if they don't respect that, it's either they can't understand it or they don't want to, and that's a good enough reason for people to not like me, I guess, and that's okay."

WHAT COULD CHANGE THAT? "What am I supposed to do? Overwhelmingly, the response I've gotten is I should have got out of the car and made up some sort of story about what happened. That's not me. As much as people would like that to be me, as much as people would like for me to be something other than I'm not, it's right here. I'm who I am."

THERE'S A FINE LINE BETWEEN BEING WALKED ON AND BULLYING AND A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE BEEN SAYING THIS WEEK THAT YOU'RE A BULLY. DO YOU WORRY ABOUT THAT AND HOW DO YOU KNOW WHERE THE LINE IS BETWEEN STANDING UP FOR YOURSELF AND BEING A BULLY? "In competition it's really easy to determine that line. Saturday night was a perfect example. Somebody takes something from you in competition and they take it unfairly, then you either accept that and you can go on and live with that, which, Saturday night I couldn't, or you go get it back. That's for other people to decide. I just go do the very best I can. When I was done, I walked out of that race track with my head held high."

HE SAID THERE'S NO REASON TO TALK.  "I don't
think we really have much to talk about.  I don't."

-source: ford racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Greg Biffle , Carl Edwards , Mike Helton