Edwards, Kesneth Bristol II post-qualifying interview

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Ford Racing

Matt Kenseth, Roush Fenway Racing Ford
Matt Kenseth, Roush Fenway Racing Ford

Photo by: Ashley Dickerson, ASP Inc.

Matt Kenseth, No. 17 Crown Royal Ford


WHAT IS MORE CHALLENGING FOR YOU ON THIS TIRE THAN PAST YEARS? “This is one of those tracks that you look and say it is so fast and so high banking and everything that you would think you just attack it every time but it is easy to overdrive a corner and mess up your whole lap. I think that the slower the pace gets the tougher it makes that. You have to keep slowing off the corner to go fast and sometimes you aren’t used to that, especially if you are going to try to run the bottom and make that work. You have to slow up so much through the corner which a lot of time when the pace slows up it makes for better racing really. It makes it easier to pass when everyone is slipping and can’t get into the gas. I am curious to watch the Nationwide race tonight and curious for the race tomorrow night to see what it is like. It seemed like everyone was really loose today and was having a hard time getting going during the day practices. I am curious to see how different it will be tonight.”

CAN YOU FURTHER EXPLAIN THAT? “At most tracks, even Dover, are like that. This place especially is one of those places that you finally get off the corner and get to the straightaway and you are going so fast that it makes you mentally want to charge a corner. It seems like to go faster you would want to go in harder. That is a discipline thing that might be more challenging tomorrow than normal.”

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Carl Edwards, No. 99 Aflac Ford


“That is all I had so Ryan beat me. He did a good job. I thought we were going to get the pole. Off turn four I was headed for the fence there and I wasn’t sure, I was kind of doing the odds in my head like if I hit this thing, if I hit the wall with this, would we have time to fix it and how bad would I tear it up. I gave up just a little bit off four there and that was the smart thing to do. The car was fast all day and I am proud of my guys. They did a really good job.”

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

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

YOU GUYS SEEM TO HAVE A WHOLE DIFFERENT MINDSET ON SATURDAY NIGHT THAN TONIGHT OR FOR A TRUCK RACE. WHY IS THAT? “Wrecking is not good. You don’t want that, not for the drivers and crew members and all that. In the Nationwide series tonight you have guys in all different situations. You have guys driving for car owners they don’t normally drive for, guys that aren’t racing for points and all sorts of things going on. Everyone doesn’t race each other every week, so there are a lot of options for different levels of aggression. If you wreck, there are a lot of guys that I don’t think it matters much to them if they end up wrecking and taking big chances tonight. Maybe it is the same way in the truck series. In the Cup race, there is so much on the line and it is a big deal to be able to finish this race well. I think guys make sure they get to the end of the race. It might not look as dramatic or exciting because there aren’t as many wrecks but it is tough. I would say there is more anxiety and tough racing and driving right to the edge on Saturday night than there is on Wednesday or Friday.”

DENNY HAMLIN WAS IN HERE TALKING ABOUT HIS STRUGGLE TODAY, AND YOU HAVE EXPERIENCED THAT FIRST HAND IN THE PAST. HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN SO QUICKLY TO GO FROM THE TOP TO STRUGGLING? “For us, we ran so well in 2008 and then we went into 2009 and about eight or 10 races in we knew we were in trouble. It was bad. I talked about it a little bit earlier today. I think it is hard when you are running poorly. It is tough to swallow. It is really tough when you have high expectations. I came off a season in 2008 where we went into 2009 thinking we were going to dominate this thing. So we had a pretty mediocre year and it was frustrating for that and it was frustrating because it was not what we expected. It is tough. I think it makes you stronger though. In our case it happened because we had one or two tricks up our sleeves and we weren’t focusing on our big picture of making our whole program better. That is what happened to us. I haven’t paid enough attention to Denny to know what is going on there. This sport is tough and it changes quick. It is really hard to keep up and some teams can do it year in and year out. For the rest of us it is an up and down thing and it is really tough.”

YOU SAID YOU WERE THINKING OF THINGS WHILE DRIVING YOUR QUALIFYING LAP. IS THAT INSTINCT OR WHAT? CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THAT? “Yeah, a lot of times at a place like this, even though you are making fast laps you are thinking about a lot of stuff during the lap. That is a funny way to put it. It takes me longer to explain what my car is doing on a lap here than it does to run a lap. That is kind of odd. It seems like sometimes at these places it is almost in slow motion. I watch replays, particularly of wrecks or things that happen in the race that to me in the seat were really dramatic and took a long time to play out. You get loose and you miss some guy and you save it and brush the wall and all this stuff happens that felt like a big giant long 10-second event and then on TV you think it wasn’t the same incident because it happened so quick. In the car it seems things slow down quite a bit.”

HOW FRUSTRATING IS IT THAT YOU REALLY ONLY GET ONE LAP TO QUALIFY BECAUSE THE TIRES FALL OFF THAT MUCH THAT YOU DON’T HAVE A CHANCE TO GO FOR A SECOND LAP AND WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THEM WORK ON THE TIRES TO HAVE ENOUGH ADHESION FOR TWO LAPS? “No, I think it is neat to just have one lap, I really do. I think it puts all the pressure on and it is frustrating when you miss a pole by two-hundredths but it also makes it really rewarding when you run that perfect lap and it goes really well. I think it is neat when you just get one lap. It really tests who can adapt the quickest and whose crew chief can adjust for the conditions the best because you get the out lap coming to the green to learn what your car is going to do and then it is sixteen second of having to be perfect.”

ARE GUYS ALREADY GETTING VERY SERIOUS ABOUT THE CHASE? “It is time to go. What is making me a little nervous is you see what happened last week. I was telling everyone about the big spread of 29 points but I guess it was 39 points I lost to Kyle in one week. We went in tied and now I am 39 points behind him. That is one bad spark plug. One thing that I don’t know how we could have avoided it. Jack and I talked long about it today. That is what is scary and gets the nerves going. You go into this Chase and do everything perfect and one groundhog running across the track through the radiator or something and it is 39 points. That is a big deal. It is tough. I think you will see guys get more and more serious.”

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Tags bristol, edwards, ford, kenseth, sprint cup