Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion, met with media members after the first practice session Friday from Michigan International Speedway.
WHAT DOES THIS RACE MEAN TO YOU? DO YOU LOOK FORWARD TO COMING TO MICHIGAN? “I am glad to be back here at Michigan. The last race we had here we were in position to win and we got that late race caution and we ended up third but we had a car that could win. I am glad to be back here. I love racing here. We have a bunch of folks from Ford coming out here Sunday morning and Mr. Mulally is going to be here. That will be neat to have those guys here supporting us. It is a fun race track. You guys know how much I like this place. It is great to race on and we have had good luck here.”
CAN YOU WALK ME THROUGH THE LOGISTICS OF GETTING TO MONTREAL TOMORROW? “Well, it is going to be a little tougher than it should have been because I left my passport at home. I believe my passport is going to be driven up here tomorrow. That is going to make it tougher. We also have Marcos Ambrose on board. He is going to ride with me. I don’t exactly know his status as a U.S. citizen or not, so I am a little nervous about customs with Marcos. If he were to get tied up in customs it would not be the worst thing in the world for me. So I am not going to help him in any way (laughter). And I am the pilot so I could say things on the radio that might trigger some sort of tougher investigation you know. ‘Australia will rise again’, or something like that. We are going to leave here after practice as fast … well, we are going to follow all the rules of the road (laughter). We are going to go to the airport and fly to Montreal, land at the airport, we have the customs folks and have talked to them and they say they are going to make it somewhat easy on us. We are going to hopefully get a helicopter there and should make it o the race track literally five minutes before the race starts. It is going to be close. Billy Johnson is over there practicing my Fastenal Mustang and if we have any hiccups he will start the race and we will do a drivers change at the first stop. I guess that is the plan. It is going to be neat and fun. It is fun to show up just in time for the race. Those are really fun weekends. There is no pressure involved, you just go there and race. There isn’t enough time to get any anxiety over anything. It is kind of an adventure. That is it. But my passport has to get here first.”
DO GUYS TRY TO MEND FENCES OVER THE LAST FOUR WEEKS SO THAT PAYBACKS AREN’T TRYING TO BE HELD WHEN YOU HAVE TO REALLY RACE IN THE CHASE? “That is a good question. I hadn’t thought of it that way. Every week people have the chance to make people mad or get revenge if they think they need it or whatever. I feel like right now that as far as I know I don’t have anybody out to wreck me. As far as I know. I don’t have anyone to go rush around and try to make amends with. I think, I might be naive to think this, but I think that as we approach the Chase, everyone knows how much is on the line and I think it would be kind of foolish to do something rash. Even though it might affect the guy that you were messing with a lot he is going to be awfully upset and it might be worse for you on the other end. I don’t think there is a lot of that attitude right now in the garage, but I might not be accurate on that.”
I DON’T SEE RANDY FULLER HERE. IS RANDY DRIVING THE PASSPORT HERE? HOW IS IT GETTING HERE? “One of my friends. I don’t want to name her name because she will be embarrassed. She is driving the passport here. We were going to send it in the mail, but if something happened we have too much on the line with Fastenal and all the folks that have worked so hard to run that Nationwide Series. So she is going to drive it here. Lori is here and she is a Michigan native and she has been on and off doing my PR for like 10 years now, so I am in good hands here and Randy is Montreal trying to make sure everything works on that end. With the helicopters and all that stuff, if we have a hiccup we literally won’t make the start of the race, so we have to make it work.”
WHAT SORT OF THINGS ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT OR PLANS HAVE YOU MADE IN REGARD TO THE CHASE? “We just have to use these last few weeks to really narrow our focus to be fast. We have to be fast. We’ve got great engines. Our pit stops have been pretty good. We haven’t had any major problems there. We did have a little trouble with a spring rubber at Watkins Glen, but overall what we need to work on is being efficient in practice and making our cars better during practice and as a driver I have to focus on not making any mistakes and communicating well. This is the last bit of practice we have. We are not locked in, but I feel like we are going to be in the Chase and we can count on being in the Chase. Once those 10 races start, the way the competition is right now, any little mistake will be magnified more than it ever has been in the sport. It is about fine tuning what you’ve got the last few weeks for us.”
DO YOU HAVE ANY PLANS TO RETURN TO DUSSELDORF FOR THE RACE OF CHAMPIONS? “Is it in Dusseldorf this year? I would love to. I didn’t win one thing there last year, so I don’t know if I will be invited to that. If I were invited I would love to go. Dusseldorf was great. It was a lot of fun. Travis Pastrana and I had a good time and I had a really good time meeting the Formula 1 drivers over there. I have really not done a good job, well last year I did not do a good job. I have to step it up. Hopefully I get to go back. It is an honor to go be a part of something like that. It is huge.”
YOU ARE IN GOOD POSITION IN THE CHASE. IS THERE ANYBODY OTHER THAN KESELOWSKI THAT COULD BE IN A WILD CAR SITUATION THAT COULD BE A PLAYER? “I meant to look closely at that this week because I think it is really interesting. Right now, who is in right now? Is it Denny and Brad? If Menard got a win, he is in right? If Denny runs well and Tony falls out, then there is another two guys and if Tony doesn’t get a win or something like that right? I don’t know guys. I would have said there is no way Brad is in, you know what I mean? Looking at it three weeks ago. But all of a sudden he has come on in an amazing way. Paul Menard, David Ragan, any of these guys. Look how fast David’s car is. He is 23rd, but if he were to go out and win this weekend, all of a sudden he is on the cusp of being in the Chase and his car is fast enough and he has been doing a good enough job. I think this has the potential to be a shocker to all of us as to who makes the Chase. At first I thought it was kind of a crazy idea, but as a fan looking from the outside in I think it will be really neat to see. I don’t have any real predictions because it is too up in the air. Too much can change too quickly.”
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE DANICA NEWS? What is the Danica news?
THAT SHE WILL RUN FULL TIME NATIONWIDE IN 2012 WITH SOME CUP AND THEN FULL CUP IN 2013. “So is this a rumor guys or did Danica say what she is doing? You know what I am going to do, because of what I just learned with my contract? I am going to just wait to see what Danica has to say. That is what I am going to do.”