The Race to the Chase officially begins this weekend as New Hampshire Motor Speedway marks the start of the final 10-race run for those trying to lock down a spot in the top 12 for the season-ending championship battle. Carl Edwards is Currently...
The Race to the Chase officially begins this weekend as New Hampshire Motor Speedway marks the start of the final 10-race run for those trying to lock down a spot in the top 12 for the season-ending championship battle. Carl Edwards is Currently in the top 12 and he conducted a Q&A sessions to discuss the latest issues in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
CARL EDWARDS - No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON BEING ASSIGNED TO THE PRESIDENT'S COUNCIL ON FITNESS? "It's an honor. We had a really good time there and got to hang out with some kids and do some physical activity, but, for me, it's a big honor to be a part of something like that. The First Lady has made it a very high priority for them to help our kids in this country, especially in public schools, to make sure they're eating well and getting enough physical activity. It's good to be a part of that."
THIS IS A BIG WEEKEND AT LOUDON. "It's a big weekend for us at Roush Fenway. We'd love to get a win here with the Red Sox just down the road and John Henry and all the folks at Fenway Group. It's amazing the Red Sox fans in this area. We were flying in and on the air traffic control radio I heard two different people ask about the score of the game - the pilots - and you don't hear that a lot. So there are very passionate fans and it would mean a lot to win here for them, and, really for our whole team. We've got some stuff we're gonna try this week and I'm excited about that. We need to turn this thing around and start running better and this would be a good place to do it."
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT GATEWAY IN A FEW WEEKS? "Gateway is cool. I started racing for Mike Mittler in NASCAR in the Truck Series and I've been there in a bunch of capacities. I've always dreamed about going there and running well, and to go there now as a previous winner is cool. The funniest speeding ticket I ever got was right there in front of the race track with my picture on the billboard. We were doing something in St. Louis and a buddy of mine and me got pulled over and I got a speeding ticket right there. The cop thought it was pretty funny, too. It's just wild. I had to have my buddy come and pick me up with a tow rope with my piece of junk car that broke down when I was leaving that race track seven or eight years ago, but also got to leave with the trophy a couple of times, so that's really special. I love going there and I'm glad we're able to go race there. It's cool."
WHAT IS THE BRIDGE LIKE FOR NATIONWIDE DRIVERS WHEN SOMETHING LIKE THIS NEW CAR COMES ALONG? WILL THAT MAKE THE TRANSITION EASIER FOR SOME YOUNGER DRIVERS? "Anytime you change something in this sport and anytime something is different or a big change, like that car, I think it gives guys with less experience more equal footing because I don't have any experience racing that car and the other Cup guys don't, either. It gives them a chance to maybe show their talent, instead of their experience level."
THIS IS THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF DAYS OF THUNDER. WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER ABOUT IT? "That makes me feel old. It was neat. For me at that time my dad raced at the local dirt track and I worked on his race car, and it was cool to see Tom Cruise doing a movie about car racing. I really remember that scene with the Sweet and Low, or whatever those sugar packets were, but I was just figuring out girls at that time, or trying to figure them out, so it was cool that they did a movie about racing. It's not the most physically accurate movie, but it was neat."
KEVIN HARVICK SAID EARLIER THAT YOU CAN JUST ASSUME EVERYBODY IS MAD AT SOMEBODY. WHAT DO YOU OWE THE FIERY TEMPERS TO THIS YEAR? "I don't know. That's a good question. I guess knowing that there's not going to be any repercussions, knowing you can go out there and settle your scores the way you want to settle them - that probably goes to it a little bit. It is pretty amazing. Last week seemed a little rougher to me than what I've seen before there at that race track, but what goes around comes around. The guys who drive like that end up getting driven that way themselves. That's the way it goes."
HOW ARE YOU DEALING WITH THIS TOUGH STRETCH? "I'm trying to cope with our situation the best I can, but we have got to be better. That's the bottom line. Everybody is working really hard, and, like I said before, you're very foolish if you can't just stay focused and keep working. If you start pointing fingers and being mad and freaking out, that only digs you further into that hole. The reason we're not running well is very simple - there's something about our cars that we're not doing right to make them as fast as the other cars. So it's not that people aren't trying. You can't be mad at a race car, at least I don't think I can be, so I think that's the key is to just keep focus. I'm very frustrated. I want to run better. That run at Road America, I'm glad I had that run because that felt really good to just go out there and have the fastest car and dominate a race like that. It reminded me of how easy it can be and I think that's important, so I'm really glad I'm running the Nationwide Series just for that one simple race. That changed my perspective going to Sonoma. When I was sitting back there struggling to run 12th at Sonoma, it reminded me that I can do this. It's not that hard, we just have to keep working. So I guess that's the way I deal with it."
DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU'RE FURTHER BEHIND IN CUP NOW OR JUST MAINTAINING? "I think right now we're just maintaining, which is a feat in itself. To not get further behind while you're trying to catch up, I think we're figuring things out at about the same pace as the rest of the field, we're just a little behind them. At some point we have to leapfrog and figure out how to make that jump, but we're not falling further behind."
IS THE NATIONWIDE CAR GOING TO DRIVE MORE LIKE THE CUP CAR NOW? "I haven't driven the Nationwide car enough, but the one I drove at Daytona drove like our Cup cars with less rear spoiler, which I think is really good. The looser the car is better, so I think it's gonna be pretty neat. Michigan will be the true test because that's a really high-speed track - the aero stuff will matter and you'll be on and off the throttle, so that will be the true test. But our test at Daytona was loose, loose. I think it's gonna be wild at Daytona, but it'll be really good once we get to race it on a regular track."
HOW DO YOU LOOK AT THE POINT FIGHT ON THE SPRINT CUP SIDE FROM 8TH to 14TH? "I haven't been looking at it too much, but I know it's close. I don't know who is there, but as a driver I've been trying to build ourselves a cushion. We had a relatively good run going at Sonoma and got taken out there at the end and that hurt us pretty bad, so I've just got to go do the very best I can because you can go into Richmond and just blow an engine on the first lap. You better have about 150 points on 13th to guarantee your spot, so that's the way I'm working on it. But everytime I pull into the garage there's a different group of guys around me, so I know it's close. There are a lot of guys fighting for that spot. I think I can safely say that this is gonna be one of the toughest years to make that chase that we've had."
WHY DO YOU SAY THAT? "I say that because it just seems like we've got a lot of guys that are running about the same speed, so it just comes down to strategy and luck - more than I've seen. Maybe it's just because I'm in the middle of it, but it sure seems tough."
JACK MENTIONED THE TROUBLE WITH SIMULATIONS. HAVE YOU NOTICED ANYTHING DIFFERENT IN THAT AREA? "We're still working towards it. I think there is some stuff that's gonna take a little bit of time. That's one of the frustrations is that if we develop something that's gonna be good in six months, that's not quick enough. So we've been working really hard - Jack and everybody - to try and speed up the whole process and go through the things that may or may not work quickly, so that we can move on. Even if somebody dropped off the perfect simulation package right here on this table today and said, 'This is it,' you still have to use it enough to be comfortable with it and develop it and that takes time. It's just work. Everybody is working and we've got to turn it around. We've got to do better and I know we can. We've just got to keep working."
Dan Zacharias Ford Racing Media Relations NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
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