Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion, is fifth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings going into the final race before the chase field is decided. He held a Q&A session with reporters after practice on Friday. "Things...
Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion, is fifth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings going into the final race before the chase field is decided. He held a Q&A session with reporters after practice on Friday.
"Things are good. My foot is better this week than last week, that's for sure. My Aflac Fusion is pretty fast. That's probably the highest we've been on the sheet in the first practice here in a long time, so all that work has been paying off. We just want to keep this as low stress of a weekend as possible. We want to run well and just be solidly in the chase. That's the key."
HOW WILL THE FOOT AFFECT YOU HERE VS. ATLANTA? "I thought I'd have more trouble at this track, but the extra week of time has made my foot feel a lot better, so it shouldn't really be an issue. I thought it was gonna be more of an issue last week, but that ended up being the least of my concerns during the race. It was fine."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE NATIONWIDE RACE TONIGHT? "The Nationwide battle is still alive. We've got enough races left that a lot can happen. I feel like right now, in a way, that's more important than what's going on on the Cup side. We just have to run well this weekend over there to make it in the chase, but we need to go win the thing in the Nationwide car, so I can't take it easy."
ARE YOU CONCERNED ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED IN ATLANTA THAT IF SOMETHING CATASTROPHIC HAPPENS TOMORROW? "Oh, yeah. I think if we just run well and don't have any failures or don't get caught up in a wreck or something like that, then we should be fine, but I'd much rather be in that green section of that wall. If we wouldn't have had that wheel weight puncture the oil cooler last week, I think we would have been in there, but I know what can happen and I won't sleep easy until it's over."
ARE YOU SURPRISED HOW TIGHT IT GOT SO QUICKLY? "Yeah, it got real tight, real quickly, but that's a sign of how competitive this sport is. It's really competitive. You look at what Kasey has done and with one or two weeks of good runs, you can move right up in there or you can fall back out, so I just hope I don't have two bad weeks in a row."
HOW MUCH WILL IT HELP HAVING KASEY KAHNE NEXT YEAR RATHER THAN TWO GUYS THAT AREN'T AT HIS LEVEL? "It's always hard to tell who is at what level, but I know just based on performance the way that 9 car has been running, that's a big deal for us to gain them as quasi teammates. That's pretty cool. Kenny Francis is real smart. Kasey is a great driver. A.J. is a great driver and Elliott has proven that he's a great driver, so I think we're gonna get some solid folks over there that can help us. It's cool for Ford, too. I think that will make us more of a powerhouse and maybe be able to compete and stay on the upside with those guys at Hendrick."
HOW BIG OF A FACTOR WILL DOUBLE-FILE RESTARTS BE IN THE CHASE AND DETERMINING THE CHAMPION? "I keep saying we still haven't seen the worst-case with these double-file restarts. I think that there's huge potential for a shake-up based on that, especially as we get towards the end of the year and the stress level for everyone gets higher and higher and more is on the line for different people for different reasons. You still could have that massive wreck at a place like Texas or California, based on those double-file restarts, so it's something you have to treat with respect."
WILL IT CHANGE IF BUSCH OR MARTIN AREN'T IN THE CHASE AND THEY'RE GOING FOR WINS WHILE YOU'RE PROTECTING YOURSELF? "The thing with the double-file restart is if you have nothing to lose, then you just go hard and you can pick up more spots. There are more cars right there and you can pass more cars if you're very aggressive, but if you're on the other side of it and you're just trying to make it out of there unscathed, it's pretty tough, so there are different strategies going on with those double-file restarts."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE MERGER? "Like I said earlier, I'm really excited about having the Richard Petty team join up with Yates. I think having Kenny Francis and Kasey Kahne, that's gonna be great. My trainer has worked a lot with A.J. Allmendinger and he said that guy has supernatural talent, so I'm really excited about that. Elliott Sadler is a great guy and a great driver, so I think we're gaining a group of people, and then the behind-the-scenes folks -- all the folks that make those cars go so well -- that's good for Ford and good for Roush."
HOW MUCH DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE 10 BONUS POINTS FOR WINS? "I don't think about the bonus points too much. There's nothing I can do about them. I want to try to win this race here at Richmond. It would be nice to have 10 bonus points, but I think the chase will come down to the guy who has the least amount of bad days, just like it did last year and the year before. It comes down to not always the last 10 points you can get, but not losing those 100 points and having a bad night."
IS IT POSSIBLE A TEAMMATE WOULD INTENTIONALLY PULL OVER AND ALLOW THEM TO GAIN A SPOT? "I've already thought about that in regards to my teammates and if there's anything I can do to help my teammates, I'd do it. This is a team sport and especially at this point in the year, having more of your teammates in the chase is good. I don't know about everyone's team in particular, but if I can help Matt and Greg, then that's what I'm gonna do."
WHAT ABOUT IF YOU'RE WINNING? "That's a tough call. It's not the 10 points, it's the win. If that's what it took and that's what had to happen, then that's what I would do."
WOULD YOU TAKE KYLE BUSCH OUT? THAT'S ANYTHING? "You can't take somebody out because you're not just taking that person out, you're taking out their team and their sponsors and all that stuff, so I don't think it'll come to that. I think that would be an ugly way to have the season shape up."
HOW MUCH DO YOU WORRY ABOUT RUNNING WELL VS. SOMETHING BAD HAPPENING? "The thing is worrying about things you can't control is not good, that's not productive, but I would say 50 percent of my thoughts are, 'Let's get this car good. Let's make it as fast as we can.' That's where my active thinking is going, but, still, I can't get rid of the, 'Hey, we've got to be cautious, be a little bit more careful, anything can happen,' that mentality is still there. Look at what happened last week with Vickers and those guys replacing an axle -- stuff like that -- we've got to be ready for anything. Our oil cooler, the difference between being in the chase and winning the championship could be 30 seconds in the pits or 10 seconds in the pits -- one lap on the race track -- so all of that stuff is important."
MATT SAID HE FEELS LIKE ROUSH HAS BEEN TREADING WATER THE LAST SIX MONTHS. HOW DO YOU COMBAT HENDRICK WHEN THE CHASE STARTS? "The Hendrick guys have definitely done a good job. You just look at the history books and it shows you that they're very strong. What we've been working on are little things and when we get a little behind trying to minimize that and the duration of our struggle -- trying to figure out what we're doing and get back on track. I don't know what to tell you other than we just work as hard as we can, and I've just got to hope that, A, we make it in the chase and then, B, we have good luck and performance that I know we're capable of during those 10 races. If we can time it just right to peak during the 10 races, struggle a little bit for the first 15 next year and then peak again, if we could do that every year, we'd be fine. We just have to be careful not to run like we ran in the beginning of this season in the last 10 races. I don't know exactly how to do that."
A NEW CAR THIS WEEKEND? "Yes, we've got some stuff we've been working on this weekend and it seemed to be a lot better in practice. This is the best I've run in the first practice at Richmond since my first time here."
SOMETHING FOR THE OVERALL SHORT TRACK PROGRAM? "Yes, hopefully it's something we can apply to all of the short tracks. We need to run better at Loudon. Last year we ran really well at Loudon in the chase, but that was one out of six races. This is a different race because of everything that's going on, but we've got to run well at Martinsville and Loudon."
-credit: ford racing