Carl Edwards - Indianapolis Friday Media Visit

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Indianapolis Motor Speedway

CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Scotts Ortho Ford Fusion

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT COMING BACK TO THE BRICKYARD AND HAVING A CHANCE AT THE SPRINT SUMMER SHOWDOWN? “This race is huge. You guys know how big it is. This is one of the biggest races that a NASCAR driver can win. Sprint has upped the ante and made it even bigger with the Sprint Summer Showdown and that’s something that we’re taking really seriously. We want a chance at this $3 million. We want to win $1 million for the team, for our charities and for our fans, so these next five races, especially in our position with our 99 team running well in the points. We feel like we can pull out all of the stops, we can gamble on pit road, we can be aggressive on the race track, and maybe have a shot at that Sprint Summer Showdown. That’s huge.”

ANY CLOSER TO MAKING A DECISION ABOUT NEXT YEAR? “We’re working hard on the contract stuff. I’ve heard a lot of different ideas out there, but it still remains the same. I’m gonna make the decision that’s the best one I can make and I’m gonna do that outside of the media. That’s the way I want to keep it going right now. I have signed a contract and that’s the contract I signed in 2008 to race for Jack in ’09, ’10, and ’11 and try to win the championship, so that is my mission. That’s the only contract that I have signed right now and that’s the one that I’m gonna honor, so that’s what I’m doing.”

Carl Edwards, Roush Fenway Racing Ford
Carl Edwards, Roush Fenway Racing Ford

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

DO YOU THINK IT WILL BE IN THE NEXT WEEK OR TWO? “I can’t tell you. I’m not purposely withholding anything, other than to just be able to get the business side of everything done. When I’m able to talk about next season, if it’s appropriate, I will talk about it and I’ll tell you guys.”

HAVE YOU MADE A DECISION IN YOUR MIND OR ARE YOU STILL ON THE FENCE? “I’d just rather not say. I appreciate it guys. You guys have been very good to me and I appreciate it.”

DO YOU FEEL THAT REGARDLESS WHAT DECISION YOU MAKE YOU CAN STILL WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP THIS YEAR? “Of course. I do, I feel like no matter what happens that we have a great thing going here. Jack Roush and Ford and Aflac and everyone, this is our mission right now is to win this championship and that’s our goal right now. I feel like it’s the goal for all of us, so whatever happens will happen, but I think that’s reasonable to believe that it can happen no matter what.”

YOU DON’T THINK THIS HAS DISTRACTED YOU FROM ALL OF THAT? “There are a lot of distractions in life, but we’re doing really well. We’re leading the points and we’re doing well. We’re doing what we need to do, so I’m a competitor. My job is to do the job that I’m hired to do and whatever distractions there are out there I have to be able to shut those off and go race, and that’s what I do.”

YOU HAVE NOT WON ONE OF THE MAJOR NASCAR RACES YET. HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT THAT AT ALL? “As a fan, I remember who wins those big races. I feel like there are some really great drivers who maybe haven’t won those big races, but at the end of the day, that All-Star win was huge to me because I thought, ‘This is one of the marquee events.’ It was huge to win it and there’s a lot of pride in that. This race would feel the same way, but I think if you run well enough and you’re a good enough driver, you will eventually win these races and, hopefully, I get to but I don’t really measure someone by whether they’ve won these races. But I think if you’re good enough and you run well enough over time that you will.”

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON RACEWAY PARK? “Lucas Oil Raceway Park is a blast. That’s one of the neatest race tracks that I’ve ever had a chance to race at. I’ve raced the baby grand stock cars there, USAC Silver Crown cars, the old style cars, the newer style cars that they ran for awhile, the trucks, the Nationwide cars and every style of car race there has been great. It’s been really fun. I think we all recognize that’s one of the greatest race tracks in the country and that NASCAR shifting the Nationwide Series to the big track here is a risk, but we also realize that the opportunities for the teams, for the driver, for the sponsors to come over here and run the Nationwide Series is an opportunity that you just can’t pass up. It’s too big of an opportunity, so I have a feeling we’ll be back at Lucas Oil Raceway Park in the Nationwide Series and the Truck Series. It may not be next year, but I have a feeling we’ll be back. It’s just too much fun.”

DO YOU HAVE A COLD? “Yeah, I’m just getting over my cold, but I guess that’s the deal with having kids. She had a runny nose for a couple of days and now I have. I feel really good, but I don’t sound great yet.”

WHAT CHALLENGES YOU MOST AT THIS TRACK AND HOW DO YOU ASSESS THE ROUSH CHANCES THIS WEEKEND? “The challenges of this race track are multiple. You have to have really good low-end power because you come out of these really abrupt 90-degree corners and you have to really get the car going down the straightaways, so that’s huge. The second thing is you have to be able to turn in the middle of the corner without being too loose on exit, so the car has to be free enough to really change directions and it not be loose off of the corners, so that’s really tough. The pit crew has to be really good because you have to have that track position. It’s so difficult to pass. Qualifying has to be great so you get a good pit stall and that helps with the track position. All of those things are what we’ve been working on at Roush Fenway Racing. I feel like our team has been stronger in those respects. I feel in 2005 we had a really good shot to win this race and I think we’re better than we were then now, so I think this will be my best shot to win this race. It remains to be seen because we haven’t practiced, but I’m pretty excited about it.”

WHY IS THERE SO MUCH PARITY THIS YEAR? “There’s a lot of parity in this series. I think this car, to the frustration of the drivers a lot of times, all the cars are so close that it really comes down to your pit strategy, your luck, your ability to really get past cars on restarts. It’s really tough, plus the new point system really penalizes you for a blown engine or a wreck or something. You can get as little as one point, so I think all of those things have combined to make one of the most competitive points races that I’ve ever seen. I didn’t predict this. I didn’t predict the number of winners we’d have, the points this close, it’s pretty interesting.”

IS IT FRUSTRATING THAT YOU MAY HAVE THE BEST CAR AND NOT WIN? “Yeah, it’s really frustrating to not win with the best car. We’ve had a couple of races like that this year, but, in the end, like with most things in racing, it’s the same for everyone. I’m not convinced that NASCAR doesn’t want everybody to be frustrated because that sometimes ends up making for better TV, so they’ve got us trying everything we can do and we’re still neck and neck. All of these drivers, we’ve had 13 different winners. That’s a lot, so this is a season unlike any other and that’s what we need right now. NASCAR needed this season. We needed to have Trevor Bayne win the Daytona 500 and we needed Regan Smith to win the Southern 500. These are great stories and as frustrating as it was for me to finish second in both of those races, it’s one of the neatest seasons we’ve had for awhile.”

IS THERE A WAY TO STEP UP YOUR GAME FOR THOSE FINAL 10 RACES? “The pressure of being the points leader is an interesting pressure because you don’t want to lose the points lead because it feels good to be leading the points, but with the way the Chase is structured, we’re not really leading the points right now. We’re third or fourth if the Chase were to start today, so you can be fooled into thinking, ‘Hey, we’re leading the points. We’ve got this under control.’ When we lost the points lead a couple of weeks ago, it reminded us and I think it was good for us that, hey, we’ve got to be able to beat these guys regularly. We can’t just hang on to a five or six-point lead. That’s not gonna be good enough, so it is an interesting pressure. Right now, it’s fun but I know when that Chase starts it’s gonna be a whole new level of intensity and everybody is gonna be trying harder. I feel more pressure to win right now than I do to hang onto this points lead because the wins are the only thing that are going to positively impact the chance of a championship.”

JEFF GORDON SAID THIS TRACK CAN BE REALLY HOT. DO YOU AGREE? “Yes, I’m conscious of how hot it’s supposed to be in the race car this weekend. It’s gonna be extremely hot if the weather is as predicted. I think Jeff is right. The grandstands and everything calm the wind. There are a lot of people here and a lot of pavement. The temperature is supposed to be 91 degrees. The sun will be out and two or three o’clock will be the hottest part of the day and we’ll be about two-thirds of the way through the race frustrated, sweating, it’s gonna physically be one of the toughest races of the year I believe.”

WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED ABOUT YOURSELF AS A PERSON THROUGH THIS SEASON SO FAR? “I’ve learned a lot about myself as a person this year mostly just realizing as frustrating as the last two years were, we came off 2008 and it was very frustrating not to win for 71 races and then what I’ve realized through our most recent success is that if you just keep digging and you keep working and you work well with the people around you that you can turn things around. It’s so easy to second-guess yourself and it’s so easy to think that you’re missing something, but you just have to keep forging ahead and that’s what I’ve learned the most.”

By: ford racing

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Tags brickyard 400, carl edwards, ford, indianapolis, nascar, nscs, roush, sprint cup