Championship contenders press conference: Carl Edwards
Championship contenders press conference: Carl Edwards

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion (Qualified 1st)

ARE THINGS LINING UP LIKE YOU WANTED THEM TO THIS WEEKEND? “Yeah, things are good. Today went really well. I felt like our car was very fast in practice in race trim. I wasn’t really sure what to expect in qualifying trim, but that was a very pleasant surprise to run that well. That truly is just one lap, though, and, I mean, the biggest thing is that pit stall selection. That’s gonna be a big help the whole race. That’s something that’s hard to put a value on, so it looked like there were a lot of fast cars in practice. It didn’t look like we were head and shoulders better than anyone else, so this doesn’t dampen the amount of effort we’re gonna go out and put forth. We still have to go out and race this race. I do think that of all the tracks it would be nice to have a big advantage in qualifying at some of them, but this one you can pass at, so if there are faster race cars out there, they’ll be able to make it through the field.”

YOU MADE TWO QUALIFYING RUNS IN PRACTICE. DID YOU JUST FEEL YOU COULDN’T GET IT ANY BETTER? “Yeah, we ran the first practice completely in race trim and we felt that was the best strategy for us was to focus on race trim there, and then focus on qualifying trim the second practice. We actually had a cut in the right-rear tire after the first run in the second practice, so we had two sets of sticker tires, which we would normally run three or four runs total – a couple on the first set and then one final sticker run – but once we looked at that tire we realized we can’t use that again, we just couldn’t do it, so we made one more sticker run, so it was only two laps in the second practice. In a way, it probably helped us from tuning the thing out of contention. It was nice to just focus on two runs.”

DO YOU BELIEVE IN FATE? IT LOOKS LIKE THINGS ARE LINING UP FOR YOU? “I don’t know that I believe in fate, but I do believe that things happen for a reason. I do believe that whatever you encounter you have to treat as if that’s just the way it’s supposed to be. You can’t change things, I’ve learned that, so success and failure can both be good in the end, so you’ve got to be careful for what you wish for sometimes, but, yeah, this is going really well so far and, hopefully, this helps us all race. We didn’t need to qualify poorly, get a poor pit stall, have some little thorn in our side the whole race, so this will hopefully help us for the whole event.”

DOES TODAY REPRESENT A MOMENTUM SHIFT? “I don’t know. I didn’t pay any attention to them in practice and I didn’t see where he qualified, so I still don’t know where they qualified. I guess the deal is we’ve still got to go run this race and I know how tough those guys can be, so I’m not counting anything yet. We’re just gonna keep our heads down and work hard and go get the best we can. If anything, this is just good for our morale and for everybody to go sleep easy tonight and know we’re gonna have a good day on pit road, know we’ll hopefully be able to run out front and not get caught up in anything. But, truly, I understand that we still have to go run this race and anything can happen.”

IS TODAY A PRIME EXAMPLE OF YOU SAYING ALL THAT MATTERS IS WHAT HAPPENS ON THE TRACK? “I hope so, but, truly, it is just one lap and I know it could have gone any way. If we were out there and qualified 43rd right now, it wouldn’t change the way I’m gonna approach this race. I’m not just giving you all lip service. I’m here to do a job and to do it well and it truly doesn’t matter what’s said or what happens until that checkered flag falls.”