Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Scotts Taurus, comes into tomorrow night's race in eighth place in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings. He's 85 points ahead of 10th-place Ryan Newman and needs to finish 19th or better to...
Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Scotts Taurus, comes into tomorrow night's race in eighth place in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings. He's 85 points ahead of 10th-place Ryan Newman and needs to finish 19th or better to clinch a spot in the Chase for the Nextel Cup. He spoke about the race shortly after practice Friday afternoon.
CARL EDWARDS - No. 99 Scotts Taurus
"To make the chase our first year would be awesome, and I think this is a place where we can definitely do it, but, at the same time, it's getting there you know? We had a really great practice in our Winterizer Ford. Winterizer made the Win part real big, so Scotts is hoping we have a really good night here tomorrow night. I hope we do, too. Everything is just kind of amped up. It's like the car was pushing a little bit, but it feels like it's pushing a ton. We've got a little vibration right now and that's really worrying me, but I guess we'll just do whatever we can."
HOW MUCH WILL YOU WATCH THE GUYS BEHIND YOU IN POINTS DURING THE RACE? "We're in a position where, I feel like if we're leading, we're gonna obviously be just fine. This track is one that's really tough. I've been here twice in a Cup car and the first time we were awesome. The car was great, but the last time it was a struggle to finish in the top 20. I'm hoping it cycles around and we have a good enough car, but if we're 20th or 25th, it could be really tough."
HOW HARD IS IT NOT TO PUT PRESSURE ON YOURSELF? "Not really. The pressure really isn't tough for me. I really feel like this whole season has just been a bonus in itself and we've had great success. I love the way things have happened. If we don't make the chase, we've still had a great season. What I'm trying to ignore is the fact that if we make the chase, it's just gonna be the coolest thing in the world, so I'm trying not to let myself think too much about it. If we don't make it, fine. But if we do make it, it will feel great."
IS THERE ANYTHING LIKE THIS THAT YOU'VE BEEN INVOLVED WITH BEFORE? "No, this is definitely the most intense points battle I've been in. My first points championship was a lot like this at the local dirt track back in Missouri and it was pretty rough on me. It's hard to race for points. It's really tough to not second-guess yourself and think back to all of those races you gave up easy points in."
WHAT DO YOU THINK THE GIVE-AND-TAKE WILL BE LIKE TOMORROW NIGHT? "I don't know. We'll just have to see. I know that everyone is gonna be doing their very best. I think if it really comes down to a 10-lap sprint or something and it's real close, and everybody knows where they stand, it's gonna get pretty cut-throat because it means so much to make it in. On the other side of the coin, these guys are such professionals. I wouldn't want to get in the chase by knocking somebody out of the chase. I don't think you'll see too much of that. I think all of these guys have enough respect for one another."
WAS IT REALISTIC TO THINK YOU COULD GET ALL FIVE ROUSH CARS IN THE CHASE AT THE START OF THE YEAR? "Of course it was a goal and right now there are three pretty much locked in. It could be five, but probably four. So even on the low end of the scale, three is still a ton and five would just be spectacular. That's pretty awesome. I'd have to say that says a lot about Jack's organization."
IF ALL FIVE MAKE THE CHASE WILL THERE STILL BE A LOT OF COMMUNICATION OR WILL IT BE EVERY TEAM FOR ITSELF? "No, we're going to have a meeting right now to try and help one another. I think that what's gonna happen, I know for me personally, if I make it into the chase I'm gonna do my best to race for as many points as I can. If I don't make it in, we're gonna go all-out to win as many races as we can. It's a little bit different strategy, but I think as a team we'll probably work together the same no matter what."
HAS YOUR LEARNING CURVE ON SHORT TRACKS BEEN STEEPER? "Not really. I think my patience level has had to change a little bit. I mean, we came here last year to Richmond. It was one of my first races and we were the fastest car at the end of the race. I finished sixth and had a pretty decent night for my first time here in a Cup car. I love short tracks. We won the Busch race earlier this year here at Richmond and won a Truck race at Bristol and IRP. I think what I need to get used to a little bit more is the intensity of these Cup guys at these short tracks. You can't make up a car length on any of these guys every lap, and that's what I'm used to being able to do if I get everything right. So I'm learning how to be patient."
YOU'VE HAD SOME RUN-INS WITH GUYS THIS YEAR THAT ARE BATTLING TO GET INTO THE CHASE. ARE YOU WORRIED THAT AS PROFESSIONAL AS THESE GUYS ARE THAT THERE MIGHT BE SOME RETRIBUTION? "I sure hope not. I've been spun out way more times than I've given them, but I just don't think that's even an issue. I can point to a couple of instances this year where I've been flat spun out and it's just been an accident - just like the ones where I ran into other people. I think everyone understands that. I hope it doesn't come to that. That would be really, really a shame."