Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion, is fourth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings after dropping two places last weekend at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Edwards held his Q&A session Friday afternoon outside his team ...
Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion, is fourth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings after dropping two places last weekend at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Edwards held his Q&A session Friday afternoon outside his team hauler.
THIS DOESN'T WORK OUT TOO BADLY FOR YOU. "No, I was thinking about it once I saw the weather forecast and it might be a better qualifying position than we would have had, considering my history here qualifying, but it also gives everybody else a great qualifying spot that we're racing against, so I don't know if it's good or bad. It helped us at New Hampshire, I think, a lot, so it is what it is."
WHAT'S YOUR FRAME OF MIND AFTER LAST WEEK? "Last week was real disappointing. You go through that denial stage when you're sitting on pit road and you think, 'It's OK. We just lost one lap,' and then we lost two and then we lost three and then it sunk in that this is that bad race that you just can't control. Really, I think it's 35 points a race we have to make up or something, and that's assuming that Jimmie doesn't have any bad luck, and I feel like all we can do now is just go race as hard as we can."
DO YOU THINK JIMMIE CAN HAVE ANY BAD LUCK? "I don't know where Jimmie gets his horseshoes, but he's got amazing luck, and they do everything right, too, so we just have to hope for something strange to happen."
HOW HARD DOES THAT MAKE IT FOR YOU? "I say that, but I don't know if we really do have to have anything happen. We can run well enough. It's completely reasonable for us to run well enough in these last five races to just earn enough points to make it up. It's not gonna be easy, that's for sure, but we can do it."
THIS IS NINE QUALIFYING SESSIONS CANCELLED THIS YEAR. "That's probably raised my average. Bob and I have an average going and it's like 22nd or something. It's terrible, but anytime you don't get on the track and you don't get to run your car, I mean, we come here to race and to do our jobs and everybody has to stand around in the rain and that's no fun, but it is what it is. We can't control the weather. I mean, everybody does the best they can."
WHAT IS IT ABOUT THIS PLACE THAT MAKES IT HARD FOR YOU? "When I first came here I got into turn one and I thought, 'You've got to be kidding me.' You have to turn that corner 500 times. Everytime I've come back I feel like I've gotten better. I talked to a lot of veterans -- Bobby Hamliton helped me a lot before a race here and I'll never forget the things he told me. The last time we were here, we actually ran really well and ran out of fuel on the last lap and still finished ninth. We were running extremely well, so everytime I've come back I've felt better, but, for me, this place is unlike anything I grew up on. It's the same size as a lot of the tracks I raced on, but they were all dirt so racing a short pavement track with a stock car has taken me a while to get used to."
WHAT WOULD YOUR THOUGHTS BE IF THEY TOOK A DATE AWAY FROM HERE? "It would be neat if we raced at 36 different tracks. That would be cool. Go to places like Rockingham or maybe go run the Cup cars somewhere like Montreal or go to some of these venues that don't have a Cup race -- Kentucky would be a lot of fun -- but the competitor in me wants to go to tracks that I run really well at so if they took a race away from here and went to Kansas with it, that's only gonna help our team because of how well we run at Kansas, but if I figure this place out and run well here, I definitely wouldn't want them to take a date, so I think it depends how well you run at the place. Everybody likes the hot dogs. They fill the seats. Fans love it. It's a great place to race, I just haven't had the luck here."
HAVE YOU HAD A LOT OF HOT DOGS? "No, I haven't. I've heard horror stories about it. Maybe that's the deal. Maybe I need to eat more of them and I'd be better off."
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU'D LIKE TO SEE NASCAR CHANGE ABOUT THE CAR? "I think it's fine if they just leave everything like it is and then we can focus on the racing and focus on the stuff that we're already working on. I think Brian France said it best a year ago when he said, 'Look, we've changed enough for a while. We just need to go race.' I don't know about you guys, but the races we've seen are awesome. Dover was awesome. Kansas was fun. They're all ending up to be great races and I'd be excited if they didn't change anything."
ARE YOU LEARNING MORE ABOUT THIS CAR AND IS THAT HELPING? "There is a lot about this car that's different and as we learn and get better, I think you'll see guys being able to drive them harder, change the setups to make them do some things that in the beginning they were tough to do. It seemed liked they were so hard to get to turn for awhile, but now everybody kind of has the ability to go on either side of it."
IS EVERYTHING SETTLED AFTER TALLADEGA? "I think everything is good. Everybody shook hands and I think now we can get back to racing. That's what we need to be doing. That's what we're here to do is race and I'm just excited to try to make up some points."
WHAT DOES THE CHASE TEACH YOU OVER 10 RACES? "I think you just have to keep going. You just have to keep working. There's no telling what's gonna happen. It seems like every week a new wave rolls in of, 'Oh man, it's all going this way. It's gonna be a two-man race or a three-man race,' and then it changes every week. So you just have to kind of stay even on that and not get caught up in the ebb and flow of the points. Heck, the last lap at Homestead could flip the thing upside-down, so the trick for us is to just focus on what we can do for the next five races."
IS THAT EASY OR HARD FOR YOU TO DO? "It almost makes it easier. We really don't have anything to lose. We're here to win a championship, so I think, in a way, having that bad race, hopefully that's our bad race and our bad luck, and we can just go out and race. So I think, in a way, it's easier to come from behind like that and not have that pressure every week. All we have to do now is just go win."
WILL KYLE BUSCH'S SEASON BE LOST BECAUSE OF HOW HE'S DONE IN THE CHASE? "I don't know. I hope not. What Kyle has done deserves huge respect. I think that will go down in history no matter what happens the rest of the season. And that's something to, we've had six wins and we've had the best season I've ever had and we can still win the championship, so you can't get down. I don't know where Kyle is in points, but he can still fight for everything he can, I mean we all can, so I don't think that will get lost."
WHAT WAS YOUR DEMEANOR SITTING IN THE CAR LAST WEEK WHEN THE IGNITION BOXES FAILED? "I tell you what, last week sitting there in that race car with that ignition box, and I'm watching my jackman in there changing the box and the guys are out there racing and I thought, 'That's it.' That's the bottom. There's no worse feeling than that, especially knowing after we got back out that race was as fast or faster than any car on the track. I mean, at will I could run faster than the leader everytime. It's so easy to sit here and say that, but, man, that was a bad day."
WERE YOU CALM AS THAT WAS GOING ON? "Yeah, so the therapy in that was I ran the rest of that race 16 laps down and had a lot of time to think about how we just have to keep going forward and there's nothing we can do about it. If it can happen to us, it can happen to anyone, so that's just the way it goes."
SO DID YOU FORGET ABOUT IT THIS WEEK? "I had a really good week. I had a lot of really neat things go on and I'm just excited to be here and racing. That was just such a bad race."
WHAT DID YOU LEARN ABOUT YOURSELF LAST WEEK? "Sometimes I'm just real, real competitive. That's the deal. I think that it's almost like you've just got to laugh it off and move on. That's all there is to it. We're here to do jobs and I really enjoy the racing. That's the most fun thing in the world, so as bad as last week was, it just makes me more excited to go forward for the next five races."
BUT YOU CAN'T JUST FLIP THE SWITCH. ARE YOU SAYING YOU HAVEN'T CHANGED? "I'm real competitive. That's just the way I am, but I've got to sometimes keep that on the race track. There's a time for that and a time to sit back and laugh at yourself or whatever is going on. I think everybody has those times when they let it cross over a little bit."
WHY 25 CAUTIONS THE LAST RACE THERE? "I don't know why there were so many cautions at Memphis. That was pretty crazy. I like racing there a lot, though. The tires, you can move around a lot there. It's fun going back and forth that weekend -- just showing up to race is pretty cool -- but I don't know why there were so many cautions."
THE LAST WEEK TO FLY BACK AND FORTH. "I don't mind it so much. It's kind of fun. The best part about it is riding with Kenny Wallace in the plane because he's a complete lunatic, so that will be fun. I think he's riding back with me, so we'll have a good time with it. I think Bobby East is practicing and qualifying the car, so we should be good."
IS THIS RACE MORE OUT OF YOUR HANDS BECAUSE OF STRATEGY? "I think the driver plays a huge part in this race. Pit strategy is huge. This is a cross. It's not a road course in that it's absolutely the most important thing when you pit, but it's pretty close. Every lap the driver has to do his job here. This is a driver's race track, so it's a good mix."
HOW HARD IS IT TO KEEP TRACK OF WHAT EVERYONE ELSE IS DOING PIT-WISE? "Yeah, it is a little bit difficult. You have to kind of be aware. It's easy if you're up front because you've been racing around those guys and there aren't as many guys to worry about. It's tough when you start ratcheting yourself back and trying to go forward and take two tires maybe or staying out. Those things get kind of tough and it's really hard when all the guys behind you do whatever you didn't do and that just ruins it, so you've got to really watch. It's tough."
-credit: ford racing