Talladega: Edwards - Ford Friday interview

Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion, is in ninth place in the standings heading into this weekend's Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. Edwards leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with three...

Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion, is in ninth place in the standings heading into this weekend's Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. Edwards leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with three victories.

"Superspeedways have been kind of our weak point here, but that's almost by design. It's four races a year that are totally different from other things we do, so we really focused on the meat of the schedule and we've just kind of got what we could get at these places. It was really hard for me to accept when I first came here, but now I kind of see how that works. We could spend of time and energy on these things, but they're still such a crapshoot that it might not really help you. But, we can get better and we probably will eventually, once we get everything else wrapped up."

MORE ON RACING AT RESTRICTOR-PLATE TRACKS. "It would be nice to show up at Daytona every year and know that you've got a car that could sit on the pole. And we're working on that. We're working on it. As painful as Daytona is sometimes, it sure is nice like this year to go to California and Vegas and Texas and all those places and run really well."

CAN YOU SEE THAT HAPPENING THIS WEEK, THAT IT STARTS TO TURN? "It could. The guys have been working in the engine shop. I know the guys have been working on the cars -- that's a brand-new car for us. There's only so much time in the day, you know, and we're doing the best we can."

IN THE PAST, AT THIS TRACK, THE CAR YOU TAKE OFF THE TRUCK IS THE CAR YOU HAVE FOR THE WEEKEND. DOES THAT STILL HOLD TRUE WITH THE NEW CAR? "There's really now much you can do to the cars. As a driver, handling is not an issue -- at least my car right now -- so you just kind of unload and make sure everything is alright. You might have a couple of little things that you might try, but, really, what you build back at the shop is going to dictate how fast you go."

YOU WERE FOURTH-FASTEST IN THE FIRST PRACTICE. SO, DOES THAT MEAN YOU WILL HAVE A GOOD CAR THROUGH THE WEEKEND? "I think we're okay. We'll see in qualifying what we really have."

YOUR THREE WINS THIS YEAR HAVE BEEN ON TRACKS THAT ARE SMALLER THAN THIS ONE. HOW DO YOU TRANSLATE THAT SUCCESS TO THIS TRACK? "There's nothing you can really translate from those tracks to here. These supespeedways restrictor-plate racing is it's own animal. It's not like you can really drive it harder and go faster, you just have to be real smart, have some luck and have a great big engine, you know?"

WILL IT BOTHER YOU IF YOU NEVER WIN ON A SUPERSPEEDWAY? "It bothers me just as much. I want to win every race. But, I know what makes a fast race car here and it's not the driver, so there's nothing I can do about it. My car will only go so fast, that's as fast as it will go. All I can do is drive as fast as I can with what I've got, and have faith that the guys are using their resources the best way for the whole season back at the shop. If I went crazy and wanted the guys to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week for this race, and sacrifice something else, that wouldn't be wise. So, I just have faith in those guys as managers."

ON CONTRACTS AND NEGOTIATIONS. "For me, personally, just out of respect to everyone and sponsors, and the teams and the way we do business, for me it's always my mission to get that stuff out of the way and get it done as early as I can. That's how I've always tried to do it."

WHERE DO YOU STAND ON YOUR CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS? "I don't want to say anything." MORE ON CURRENT NEGOTIATIONS. "I'm working really hard to get my stuff, just because I think it's fair to get it done early, and once I get it done I'll let everyone know what I've done. But, we're working on it."

CAN YOU SEE YOURSELF DRIVING FOR SOMEBODY ELSE? DO YOU ENVISION WHAT IT WOULD BE LIKE, WEIGHING THE PROS AND CONS? "I think everyone -- you always want to weigh everything. It doesn't cost anything to listen. I think it's wise to always wise to listen and look at your options and things. And, that's that."

IS IT UNUSUAL FOR SOMEONE IN YOUR POSITION TO NOT HAVE AN AGENT? "It's probably statistically unusual, but for me personally, dealing with Geoff Smith, in particular, I've always been able to walk in there, sit down and go through everything and come out feeling like -- I feel perfectly comfortable with everything. So, I don't think anybody knows what I want more than me. So, that's kind of worked out."

WHAT DO YOU WANT? "Lots of things. Just the structure of stuff. There are always little things that are negotiable in a contract. It's a lot more than just drive a race car for this amount of money. There's appearances. I think every person is different. They're willing to maybe do more days for more money, and some guys want to spend more time at home, so they're willing to negotiate that. Really, I've been fortunate. The people I've dealt with have always been really easy to deal with."

MORE ON CONTRACTS INVOLVING MORE THAN DRIVING, SUCH AS COMMERCIALS AND ENDORSEMENTS. "It's a big complex thing, but it's nothing that I don't think I can't work out the way I want it to be, and I'm working on it right now."

IS THAT WHY DRIVERS MOVE FROM TEAM TO TEAM, BECAUSE OF THE DETAILS? "I don't know. I don't know why guys -- I can only tell you my personal experiences. So far, I've raced for Mike Mittler and Jack Roush, and that's it. So, I've been very fortunate."

IS IT DIFFICULT OR DIFFERENT FOR YOU IF YOU'VE GOT A POTENTIAL CHANGE IN SPONSORSHIP, WHEN YOU'RE NEGOTIATING THINGS LIKE APPEARANCES? "Generally, just like anything, people are the same, no matter if it's one sponsor or the other. I can't think of a sponsor I have or had that's been really difficult in any way. It's real simple, the sponsor wants the best exposure, and they want to get their brand out. They want to win races, just like I do. And it seems like no matter what the circumstance or the sponsor, we've always been able to sit down, talk out whatever our plans are, and there's some hang up we've been able to work it out. So, for me, personally, I know that Geoff and Jack and everyone, they've always included me in what's going on with the sponsorships, so I kind of know what's going on, and that's always been a big help. That always gives me more comfort."

-credit: ford racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Carl Edwards , Jack Roush