Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion, held Q&A session following Friday's only practice session. DO YOU KNOW THE POINT SPREAD AND WHAT HAS TO HAPPEN? DO YOU FOCUS ON THAT? "It really doesn't matter. We just have to go...
Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion, held Q&A session following Friday's only practice session.
DO YOU KNOW THE POINT SPREAD AND WHAT HAS TO HAPPEN? DO YOU FOCUS ON THAT? "It really doesn't matter. We just have to go out and be aggressive, race hard and get everything we can and that's gonna earn us the most points that we can possibly get and that's what we have to do. You can only control your own deal, so that's what we're working on."
DOES IT BOTHER YOU THAT OTHER PEOPLE SAY JIMMIE JUST HAS TO FINISH 9TH OR 10TH? "No, the deal is it's easy being the underdog. You just go out and race as hard as you can. There's really no pressure on us this week. We've just got everything to gain, so this is racing and a lot can happen in three races. I know that and our guys know that, so we're going out here like this is our championship to lose and doing everything we can."
HOW WAS PRACTICE? "Practice was really good. The Office Depot Fusion was real good in race trim and was real good in qualifying trim, which is nice. We've got an early draw, so it won't be the best draw, but it looks like everybody is gonna make one lap probably, so I think we've got a real good shot at the pole."
ARE YOU EXCITED TO QUALIFY? "Yeah, it's fun to qualify. What's it been, a month or something? It'll be fun and it'll be good. I'm glad we get to qualify and it's good because it'll kind of spread everybody in the chase around a little bit and shake things up a bit, and that's what we need."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE RACE OF CHAMPIONS IN DECEMBER? "I'm very excited to go to London for the Race of Champions. We're gonna have a good time. I'm a little nervous about going over there with Travis Pastrana. I hear he can get you in some trouble (joking), so you've got to be careful. But Jimmie and Jeff told me it was a really awesome experience. I get to go race with guys like David Webber and Michael Schumacher and those guys. That will be cool."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON RACING GUYS LIKE THAT? "I think it will be cool. My trainer, Dean, he's a huge Michael Schumacher fan. He wears a Ferrari hat at the NASCAR races when he's with me just because he knows he should be wearing one of my hats. If we can keep Dean under control when he sees Michael Schumacher, we'll be fine."
HAVE YOU EVER DRIVEN CARS LIKE THAT BEFORE? "I don't know. I've seen the videos, but I don't really know what it's gonna be like to drive the cars, but they look like a lot of fun. It looks like you've got to drive them hard. Those guys, a lot of them, are so good at the road course stuff and grew up racing go-karts and things like that, so I'm sure I've got a lot to learn, but, so far, Webber and Pastrana, they're supposed to give me some tips and it should be fun."
HOW MUCH PRACTICE WILL YOU GET? "I think we get very minimal practice once we get there and supposedly that's one of the tough parts is that everyone gets only a few laps and I'll really have to focus on those few laps, go back to the hotel and make sure I go through a lap in my head. They say it's real easy to stall the cars on the start, it's really easy to be too aggressive and there's not a lot of room for error."
WHAT CAN YOU SAY ABOUT JEFF GORDON AND WHERE HE RANKS IN THIS SPORT? "I think you have to put Jeff Gordon right up there at the top of the list with any driver that's ever lived. He's done it all. He's won at I don't know how many tracks. I don't know if there's a track he hasn't won at on the schedule. In the old points system he's won four championships and it would be six, if they would have kept it. He's a great driver and a great competitor."
WAS JACK SERIOUS ABOUT TEAMS HAVING A MULLIGAN IN THE CHASE? "I think Jack was serious about that. It seems to make sense, too. Right now we're so far behind it seems like that it would be very advantageous to us to have a mulligan in the chase, but after listening to his explanation of it, he said that he's raced in series where with that mulligan guys race a little more aggressively and take more chances before they use it up and that makes for more exciting racing. That's something, I think, we could look at for the future, but I definitely think he's serious about it."
BIFFLE SAID TO JUST TAKE TALLADEGA OUT OF THE CHASE. "I like that idea. That would be good. Talladega would be a whole lot more fun if it wasn't a points race, that's for sure."
HAVE YOU SEEN ANYBODY COME BACK FROM AS BIG A DEFICIT AS YOU FACE? "I don't know. You don't have to go very far to see what three races can do. Look at the first three races of the chase and look how everything shook out there -- look at the guys who shined and the guys who had trouble, so three races is a lot, especially when you're going 200 miles an hour with the best drivers in the world and you've got to go 500 miles at a place like this. Yeah, if they were giving out the trophy right now, it would be over, but they aren't. It's not over. There's a lot to go."
HOW HARD IS IT TO ALWAYS BE DISCUSSING THIS THING? "The deal is we come here and we race as hard as we can and, in the end, someone will be champion. This whole season I've seen the ebb and flow and the waves and the bandwagons everybody gets on. As soon as somebody goes and wins a few races, now that's the guy to beat and now this guy's the guy to beat, but that's what's so great about this sport is you can't really predict what's gonna happen. There are so many variables that you just have to go see. All the speculation in the world doesn't make something come true."
COMING INTO THE CHASE DID YOU THINK KYLE BUSCH OR JIMMIE JOHNSON WOULD BE YOUR BIGGEST COMPETITION? "Heading into the chase everyone thought that Kyle Busch was gonna be the toughest guy and that's why it's kind of interesting to me that everyone writes off these last three races like they've already been run because you look at the first three races and what happened, totally not anything other than pure bad luck, and Kyle lost 200-and-something points. That's what can happen. I don't know what position Kyle is in right now, but I would have bet, and I'm sure a lot of people actually did place bets, that he would be leading right now and that's the way this sport goes. It's very cut throat."
WHY ARE YOU SO GOOD ON THESE KIND OF TRACKS? "I really like these mile-and-a-halfs. I really like the way they drive. I like the momentum aspect of it. I've got a really good crew chief and engines and bodies and all that stuff, but I feel like this year has been the first year I feel like we can win at every race track we go to. We had a great run at Martinsville, the road courses were spectacular for us, but these tracks -- even when I first got here, the first time I ran a truck at Kansas, Kentucky, I just really like the way these places feel."
ARE GUYS GETTING THIS FIGURED OUT WITH THE NEW CAR? "Yeah, everybody is getting way better with the new car. The gaps in the competition are narrowing and closing and it gets stepped up every week and the cars, they've got them handling better and better and they're figuring out all the little tricks and that's how this thing evolves. It's amazing."
YOU'RE RUNNING ALL THE NATIONWIDE RACES NEXT YEAR AGAIN. WHY? "There are a couple of things. For instance, that race at Memphis, that was awesome. Where else on a Saturday can you go race and have that much fun and have something that great to race for and have those guys to race against. For me, I love the race. My team is unbelievable. They're great guys. I feel really fortunate to have a crew with guys like Darrell Morrow and my buddy Darren Beach, who I grew up racing with, he's one of the mechanics, so it's just fun. That's what it comes down to. As long as I'm having fun doing it and those guys are having fun, we're gonna keep doing it."
WHY DON'T OTHER GUYS DO THAT? "It takes up a lot of time. I'm real fortunate with the group of people I have with Bob and the Cup team and Drew and that Nationwide team, those guys are so good at managing the people. We communicate so well that I really do get Mondays and Tuesdays off. I don't have to spend a lot of time with them and I think if I did, it would be real grueling, but, for now, it's pretty simple. I'd say it's the time, though. The time commitment really keeps people from doing it."
WILL KYLE'S SEASON BE JUST A FOOTNOTE BECAUSE OF HOW HIS CHASE HAS GONE? "No. People in the garage, everybody knows who runs well and who is tough, and I think everybody here appreciates what that 18 team has done and how much Kyle has accomplished in all three series. It might be a footnote to the media or to the casual fan, but everybody else knows that this is a great year for him no matter how he ends up in the championship."
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE HIS REGULAR SEASON IN ONE WORD? "Great."
WHAT ABOUT YOUR DEFICIT IN THE NATIONWIDE SERIES? "That's a real reasonable gap to close. You look at what happened last week and I think we closed 60 points or something like that in one week, so that's what we're here to do. The thing about this stuff, I've live it, I've sat there in that seat and had things like that ignition box go bad at Charlotte. That stuff can happen and, I mean, it doesn't matter where you are in points or how much you hope it doesn't happen, but those things happen. I think in most series one or two things like that and the whole thing can turn upside-down."
CAN YOU BE ANYMORE CONFIDENT GOING INTO THIS WEEKEND? "No. This weekend is one that we truly believe, and I believe, that we can come here and we can dominate this race. You never know how it's really gonna go, but everything we've done up to this point has built that confidence and I'd say that we couldn't go to a track that I feel better at."
-credit: ford racing