Edwards - Richmond II Friday media visit

Ford Racing press release

Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Kellogg’s Ford, has already clinched a spot in the 2011 Chase for the Sprint Cup. Edwards met with media members prior to Cup practice Friday at Richmond International Raceway to discuss the weekend ahead.

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

Photo by: Ashley Dickerson, ASP Inc.

YOU ARE LOCKED IN, BUT I AM SURE YOU WOULD LIKE TO GET ANOTHER WIN TO GET SOME BONUS POINTS. “Yeah, we would love to get another win. We have been running better here too lately so I am pretty excited about our chances on Saturday. I haven’t been in the Cup car yet but we’ve been working on some stuff and hopefully it works out here for this race tomorrow night. The Nationwide car is pretty fast and the track has seemed to have changed just a little since the last time we were here. The surface is just a little bit different and I think that is good. It has aged just a little bit more and I think it is going to be a good race.”

AS A YOUNG RACER, HOW IMPORTANT WAS THE TRUCK SERIES TO YOU COMING UP? “If it weren’t for the truck series my career would have been much different. I probably would have not ended up able to be racing in the Cup series. Mike Mitler is, I believe, has the longest running truck team in the Truck Series. To me, the Truck Series gives an opportunity to a lot of people. Guys like Mike Mitler who want to go out there and build race cars and race at places like Daytona, right out of their shop in Missouri. That is a heck of an opportunity for the owners and an opportunity for drivers. If you look at the guys that came out of Mike’s truck. Kenny Irwin, Tony Roper, Jamie McMurray, me, Allgaier drove that truck. A lot of people have driven just that one particular truck and it is because the Truck Series has historically been an affordable place for guys to go racing. I just saw that they are racing at Rockingham next year. Is that going to be something that the Cup guys are able to go to schedule wise? That race, to me as soon as I saw it, I thought it would be cool to run that race. Maybe there are some opportunities for the Truck Series to go run at some race tracks that we don’t run at. There are a lot of neat race tracks out there. I remember growing up in central Missouri when they would come to Odessa, that was huge. I don’t know how many of you guys have been there, but if you brought the Truck Series to Odessa next season it would pack the house and people would love it. Same with places like ORP, Rockingham, all these tracks. I think it has a really bright future and people need to remember it is about guys like Mike Mitler and those type of guys that make up the Truck Series and hopefully there are a lot more opportunities for guys like myself.”

THERE HAS BEEN A LOT OF TALK TODAY ABOUT THE PROS AND CONS OF RUNNING DUAL SERIES’. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WHY IT WORKS FOR YOU AND IF IT IS A DISTRACTION AT ALL TO YOUR CUP PROGRAM? “It is the only thing I have ever done so it is very possible that next season when I cut back on the Nationwide series that we could do much better. I could perform better but I don’t know if that will be the case. For me, I see it as a positive thing. It has been seven years for me running both and the first couple of years especially I needed those races on Saturday. I needed the track time and to make the mistakes that I was making. Still lately, speeding on pit road, over-driving the car a little on Saturday’s. Those mistakes that I have made in the last month or two I feel like they have helped me to learn what I need to do for Sunday. There are days like today where I am running around back and forth in different cars. I mean, I woke up this morning and put the wrong uniform on. I don’t even know what is going on because I am running all over the place. I think some of these days, when I am not running the Nationwide series that it will be better. Obviously you can’t argue with Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson’s success through not running it. For me it has been a very positive thing. Hopefully I will do better next year, I just don’t know.”

HOW MUCH STOCK DO YOU PUT INTO MOMENTUM GOING INTO THE CHASE? “I don’t know. It is 10 races and anything can happen in those 10 races. You can have some sort of problem or bad fortune or good fortune at any point in those 10 races and things can change in a hurry. Literally all the way up until the last lap of that race in Homestead, I am going to predict the championship will be up for grabs until the last lap at Homestead. With this points system and as competitive as everyone has been, I just don’t see a favorite and I don’t see anyone on a real big run that they can’t be beat by one bad race. I think it is going to be an amazing championship run.”

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT ALL THE INFORMATION YOU COLLECT AS A RACE TEAM ABOUT DIFFERENT TRACKS AND HOW YOU CONTRIBUTE TO THAT? “Each track is different. This one looks very simple but it is very complicated because of different vertical loading of the car through the transitions and different corners. As you go into turn one, the radius decreases and the banking picks up. Turn three and four are much different. The banking and the radius do a lot different changes in the corner in three and four. This track is very tough and there are a lot of things to learn and a lot of variable that could make a big difference. For instance, if we go run tonight in the Nationwide car and we learn some things then there might be something we can apply to the Cup car for tomorrow night. On a bigger scale, things that we learned at the last race we can apply now. Every time we go to a track we look at what worked and what didn’t work and try to use it going forward.”

HOW DO YOU WANT NASCAR TO OFFICIATE THIS RACE? “They have a lot of confidence in us don’t they? I think they just need to let it go and let it be a race unless something is just outlandish or crazy they just need to let it go. I think there are so many different things that can happen in this race that it will be exciting to watch different strategies. I haven’t sat down to look at the points and what everyone has to gain or lose but there could be guys begging other guys for favors and really trying to get people to work with them. To watch all of that will be interesting.”

AS THE RACE PROGRESSES, HOW DOES IT CHANGE YOUR ATTITUDE? WHEN YOU ARE IN THE CAR, DO YOU FIND YOURSELF THINKING ABOUT STRATEGY DUE TO HOW OFTEN GUYS LEAD A TON OF LAPS AND DON’T WIN OR VICE VERSA? “Yeah, you do. Last week in the Nationwide race as the laps wound down I thought it was great that we came from the back and had the fastest car but if a caution came up I had no clue what would happen. It seems like track position is more important and the races are more competitive. In the Cup series some of the races this year that have been surprise winners it feels like we were the ones that lost on that deal because we were running well enough that our hands were tied when the caution came out at the end of the race and we came and got tires. There is an opportunity for guys that are running 10th or 12th and you have nothing to lose you can stay out and gamble on strategy and that has worked for a lot of guys. I don’t want to take anything away from their wins, they earned those wins, but it is a different way or facing. The sport seems to be becoming more and more competitive and people are exploiting every opportunity to gain an advantage.”

YOUR BUDDY RANDY SAYS WHEN YOU GO BACK TO LAS VEGAS IN DECEMBER THAT YOU ARE GOING TO JUMP OFF THE STRATOSPHERE AGAIN. IN MARCH YOU SAID ANY MEDIA GUY THAT WANTED TO JUMP WITH YOU, THAT YOU WOULD PAY FOR THEM TO DO IT. DOES THAT STILL STAND? “Yeah. If you want to go I would love to watch you jump off that thing (laughter). I will pay. Now are you going to use a rope or what? (laughter). It is fun. It is really neat. If you guys want to all take a trip over there I will pay if you guys want to jump off it. It is pretty neat. It is actually scary when you stand there. You are strapped to all the stuff but your heart will be pounding. Especially you Mulhern.”

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOU AND YOUR TEAM FINISHING OUT HERE AND HOW YOU ENJOY RACING AT THIS TRACK? “Yeah, it is a fun track and this is a special weekend. We are going to do our best to honor all the folks that are serving and the ones whose lives were lost 10 years ago. I think there is no better place to do it. There are a lot of military personnel here and a lot of really intense NASCAR fans here and a lot on the line. This weekend has the potential to be one of the biggest weekends of the year. There couldn’t be a better place to do it. The track is great. It is fun to race on. I think all the drivers love it. For us, for our Kellogg’s team this weekend we would love to get a win. There would be no better way to head into the Chase than with a win.”

WHERE WERE YOU 10 YEARS AGO ON 9/11 AND WHAT IS THE MEMORY FOR YOU THAT DAY? “I was in school at the University of Missouri in Columbia and I came out of class and they had a television set up in the commons area and they were showing the footage of what was going on. I think like everyone I was very, very nervous about the scope of it and not knowing what would happen next. That is the think I remember most, just being scared that we didn’t know what was going to happen. To see how it ended up with so many people losing their lives, I think like all of America I felt an overwhelming sense of patriotism and desire to stick together as a country.”

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Tags edwards, ford, richmond, sprint cup