Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Subway Ford Fusion, sits sixth in the point standings and trails leader Jimmie Johnson by 213 points. He spoke about returning to Talladega after Friday's first practice session. "We've got the Subway Ford this...
Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Subway Ford Fusion, sits sixth in the point standings and trails leader Jimmie Johnson by 213 points. He spoke about returning to Talladega after Friday's first practice session.
"We've got the Subway Ford this week. The car ran pretty well, but we've got a vibration that we're working on and trying to figure it out. It's not as bad as it's been, but we're working on that. I noticed when I sat down here this stand right in front of me says 'vibration reduction stand.' I thought that was pretty humorous. I should take that with me when I leave. That's what we've been working on, but it's a fun day for me today. We get to practice a couple of practices and then I'm gonna go over to a Subway in Pell City and we're gonna sign some autographs. I've never been to Pell City, so we'll go over there and maybe get some lunch and meet some people at Subway, and then come back and do Trackside Live tonight. We haven't tried any qualifying trim yet, so I don't know really what to expect for qualifying tomorrow, but we'll do that tomorrow. For me, this race is an opportunity for us to cut into our points deficit. Most of you know my love-hate relationship with this place and right now I'm really looking forward to it, just because it could shake things up and it could work out in our favor, so we'll just go run."
WHAT WOULD YOU THINK IF YOU GOT ONE POINT FOR EACH LAP LED HERE? "Are you trying to make it more dramatic? I guess that would be pretty interesting. I'd have to think that through. You can already wreck up there in the front and I think if you were paying points for leading, there would probably be a series of wrecks with guys leading and you still might be better off to sit in the back and wait it out. So it just comes down to how much risk guys are taking. It might even be more riskier to run up front, but that's a good question."
WAS THERE A VIBRATION WITH ALL THE ROUSH CARS? "I was just speaking with someone on the way in and they said that, too. I didn't realize that Matt was having trouble. I knew that Greg was, but it seems like something we're all fighting and it's such a difficult thing. They always give me a hard time in the meetings because I'm always screaming about how my car is vibrating and it makes you just want to give up. You're like that guy on TV that swears he saw a UFO and everybody is like, 'Yeah, okay,' because they can't duplicate it in the shop and they can't duplicate it on the chassis dyno, so it's one of those things you chase around. In the race car, it feels like it robs horsepower and it robs speed, so it's important to me, but I'm the only one who knows that it's going on. In a way, I'm glad all of our cars are doing the same thing at least, so we can maybe work on it."
WHAT DOES YOUR MIND GO THROUGH HERE WHEN IT'S INTENSE? "You're thinking a lot of things, but here the tough part is to understand exactly where your car is, and that's normally what you work on - you're at a race track and you're worrying about your car and the way you're positioning yourself on the race track, but as important here you've got to have your peripheral vision working and watching your mirrors, listening to your spotter and understanding where everybody else is going and how much momentum they have, and then you also have to - at the same time - think about their possible intentions or what they are trying to do. If you can kind of keep that all going in your head, you can pick the right spot to move and that's what makes it intense - these little bitty split-second decisions can dictate whether you go backwards or forwards. It all comes down to that last lap and you've got to make sure you pick the right one."
DO YOU STRESS UNTIL IT'S DONE? "I don't stress about it, I just try to really focus. I've watched enough of these things and I've been involved in enough of them to realize that you just do the best you can and, at the end, one guys is gonna be in front when you cross that finish line. If you can separate yourself like Brad and I did a couple of years ago, if you can separate yourselves from the group at the end, you're obviously doing yourself a huge favor because then you're only dealing with one guy - so that would probably be the goal. I think that's what you'll see. I think you'll see breakout groups at the very end of the race - guys that just commit to pushing another guy. Everybody is getting really good at that, so it could be pretty interesting."
TEAMMATES SEEM TO GET IN IT AT MARTINSVILLE. WHY? "I don't know, I think it's just coincidence. Usually, you leave there mad at somebody and everybody has enough teammates now that there are gonna be times when you're really mad at your teammate, but that's just racing. You've got to do the best you can to work with your teammates. I think that's really important. I've learned that lesson over time. Obviously, I haven't always worked the best with my teammates, or we haven't gotten along the best, but I feel like that's one of the strongest things we have on our team right now is I'm there to help Matt and Greg and David and I feel like they're doing the same with me. I'm just glad we're not having trouble and those guys can go do whatever they're doing. On our team we are not 'having at it'. We're doing okay."
HOW MUCH DIFFERENCE IS THERE BETWEEN QUALIFYING SETUP AND RACE SETUP BEING AN IMPOUND RACE? AND ARE WE GOING TO SEE TWO GUYS DECIDE THIS RACE BY BREAKING AWAY? "We're not gonna go into qualifying trim, I believe, or make a run by ourselves so we'll just get the car the best we can to run the race and then we'll go run our laps tomorrow. As far as the way the cars work together, the deal is if you can push someone's bumper, your car gets in a little void of low pressure behind their car and you can just lay into it. You guys see what happens, but I think it's too difficult to do that with three cars because the guy in the middle gets choked up and wrecked, so it's hard enough to do with two. I think you're right, like we talked about earlier, it'll be two cars breaking away. If you look at the last laps of the last couple of these races, it's been two cars breaking away - two cars over here and two cars over there - kind of separating themselves. If there are a couple groups of those two-car things going on during that last lap, it could be a pretty amazing race. But everybody realizes that's the deal now, so that's what everybody is gonna be looking for, I think. They're gonna be looking for somebody's bumper to push on hard for the last lap."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON PHOENIX? "Phoenix has been one of my favorite tracks to go to. That was the first place I ever raced on pavement, so that was a big deal to me to go out there in the USAC Silver Crown cars, so I spent a lot of nights laying in my bed thinking about Phoenix and how to run that place. I've had a lot of success there in the Nationwide Series. I think we sat on the pole there maybe in the Cup car or qualified second and led a bunch one time and that was good. It's a driver's race track. It's a track that the driver can make a big difference on. Obviously, your car has to be set up really well, but once the car is perfect, that's a track where it truly comes down to the driver. If you win that race, it's one you can be really proud of, so I'd love to win a Cup race out there. That would be great, and the Nationwide races have been really good. I've really enjoyed running there. It's such a unique track. It's got bumps and it's really unique. I like it."
WITH THIS TWO-CAR BREAKAWAY CAN YOU WORK WELL WITH JUST ABOUT ANYONE? "Yeah, and because of this two-car breakaway thing and how well the cars match up bumper to bumper, it leaves a lot of options out there. When Brad and I had our race there, I was in line like sixth or eighth and he just pulled up behind me and started pushing and we pulled out and we passed everyone. In two laps we were however many yards ahead of the field and we were just screaming. We hadn't worked together all day. I'd never drafted with him before and that went really well. That could happen with anyone. I think you could have guys running under the white flag in eighth or ninth position and they get matched up the right way and pull out and go, I don't think it matters what manufacturer the car is and whether they're teammates or not, it's just gonna come down to who gets teamed up together and if they can keep their cars together and not wreck one another. They're gonna be really fast."
THERE HAS BEEN TALK ABOUT THE RPM ISSUES AND THE POSSIBILITY OF GANASSI COMING TO FORD. HOW MUCH OF A BENEFIT WOULD THAT BE HAVING WORKED WITH JAMIE BEFORE? "I don't know what's going on with RPM. I asked the question in the hallway there 15 minutes ago and nobody there really knew what was going on. That aside, the more Ford teams we can have the better. Ford is doing a great job in the marketplace and they've got a lot of resources at their disposal right now, and the more teams we can have running Fords, the better off we'd be. If the Ganassi guys want to switch to Fords, that would be huge for us. I would love to be able to work with Jamie and Juan and their engineers, and all the people over there. They've made some really big gains and their cars are really fast, so that would be huge for us to be able to work with them. The more the merrier."
WOULD IT GIVE THE ROUSH CARS COMPETITION IN THEIR OWN RANKS? "I think it would help us. I don't know if I'd call it competition, but maybe it would be. It always helps me when one of my teammates is running better than me. It makes me faster. If those guys were able to come over and able to be part of our group and they had things that were working better than us, that's definitely good for us. Hopefully, we could learn from them. Just like we talked about last week at Martinsville, we looked at Jamie's situation and we say, 'Here's a guy who changed teams and all of a sudden can run very, very well.' What I wouldn't give to know exactly what's different. That would be huge for us to be able to understand what is different with Jamie running at Roush and Jamie running at Ganassi because we would hope we could apply that stuff to our cars and make them faster too. So if you could have people like that, that are close and competitive, that are close to you, that would be great."
HOW DO YOU THINK THE 'HAVE AT IT' PHILOSOPHY HAS WORKED THIS YEAR? "I think it's worked out pretty well. I haven't noticed a huge difference, except for maybe in the penalties and that's been nice for NASCAR to let us police things out there. I know I've pushed the limits of it personally, not intentionally, it's just that some of the results weren't intentional - that's for sure. I think it's good and I think it says a lot for NASCAR to recognize and stand behind the fact that the guys on the race track can police this as well as anyone. I think it's a good thing. I think it's good for the fans and good for the sport, and probably, in the end, better for safety."
-source: ford racing