Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Scotts Ortho Ford Fusion, has a nine-point lead in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings heading into this weekend. Edwards sat on the pole for this event last year before finishing fifth. He came into the WGI infield media center after Friday’s final practice to talk about his hopes for the weekend.
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THIS WEEKEND? “I love racing here. This is a fun weekend. It’s one I’ve looked forward to for awhile. Our Nationwide car is really fast. The Cup car seems pretty fast. It’s not near as fast as Marcos. He’s screaming fast, but he was nice enough to talk to me a little bit in practice and give me some pointers, which I think helped, so this place is great. Weather is nice today. I hope it holds out for good weather on Sunday, but either way we’ve got two great races.”
HOW DOES MONTREAL COMPARE TO SONOMA AND WATKINS GLEN? “If I were to place all the tracks on a scale, if we just talk about braking, right off the bat Montreal is twice as hard on the brakes as any of these other race tracks we go to. It has long straightaways, stop, right-left, long straightaway, stop, right-left, it’s a very taxing race track on the brakes. It’s unlike any other track I’ve ever driven on, so that one is different. Sonoma is very slick, it’s a momentum race track. It’s a finesse race track and this place is somewhere in between. Watkins Glen has some areas, like the esses, where you really have to finesse it through there, but then it has a couple of really hard braking zones that are tough, too. It’s fun to get to run these road courses. There’s a lot of driving going on. Even when you’re driving by yourself, you’re really driving hard and that’s fun. It’s neat to be a part of.”
WHY DO YOU THINK THE TRACK RECORD TIME WAS BROKEN BY SO MANY GUYS IN PRACTICE TODAY? “It does feel like the cars are a little faster. I don’t know if there’s anything different with the tire or not, but it seems like the cars just have a little more grip, a little more speed. It seems like it’s that way every time we come back to race tracks, we go just a little bit faster, but I felt like a lot of the guys were fast. Like you said, there were a lot of fast cars, but not just fast, it seems like Marcos is really fast. Kurt seemed really fast and Montoya was fast, and then there were a lot of cars about the same speed, so it’s gonna be a pretty tough race back there if you’re not one of those front guys.”
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT MARCOS AS A ROAD COURSE RACER AND WHAT DID HE TELL YOU TODAY? “He’s phenomenal. He’s an unbelievable road course racer. I would say that if he were to go run Formula One, in the right equipment, he could be a threat for the world championship. I think he’s that good. One of the neatest road races in my life was that road race in Montreal when it was drying up and we were both on rain tires and we got him in the last corner. That was huge for me, but he is due to win one of these Cup races any time. He is the fastest car here this weekend and he just told me his braking points. How he was shifting. The corners that he gave priority to and I hope he’s telling me the truth because I’m relying on that information out there.”
ARE YOU TRYING TO SHUFFLE HIM OFF TO F1? “Yeah, that would help us out a lot if he would go run Formula One, actually (laughing), but, I’m telling you, he his very, very good. I’ve had the chance to work with him on the prototype deal that I crashed before the race started, but we went testing together and I got to see his data and talk to him in-depth about how he drives. It’s amazing.”