Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion held a Q&A session Friday at Texas Motor Speedway. He spoke after practice about this weekend's race and other issues. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT DANICA PATRICK POSSIBLY COMING TO NASCAR NEXT ...
Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion held a Q&A session Friday at Texas Motor Speedway. He spoke after practice about this weekend's race and other issues.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT DANICA PATRICK POSSIBLY COMING TO NASCAR NEXT YEAR? "Here's the deal. It's simple. If Danica Patrick could come over here to NASCAR and run well, it would be great for the sport and it would be great for the sponsors that she brings over here. The fans would love it, so I think the better she does over here -- barring running in front of me -- the better it is for the sport and I think that's good."
WHAT IF SHE DOESN'T DO WELL? "Then she doesn't do well. There are a lot of people who have come over here and not been able to do well, and I think Juan Montoya is the best example, to me, of a guy who has huge talent, who came over and had a mass of success in other things, and was able to do it. He's as good as any of us over here now, so if she doesn't do it, I don't think it would be a huge surprise, but, like I said, for all those reasons I hope she does well."
WHAT ABOUT DOING INDY CAR AND STOCK CARS AT THE SAME TIME? "I've never driven and Indy Car, so I don't know. But it is a fact that these cars are different than almost anything else out there, I guess, so the more time you can spend in these heavier cars, the better. I know for me personally, what I came from were lighter-weight dirt cars, USAC Silver Crown stuff, and these cars were quite different, so that will take a little while. But I don't think running another car at the same time hurts you."
HOW IS YOUR CAR? "We're good. This is the best we've been in a long time and I'm happy. We need to go out here and get a top-three or top-five qualifying effort, and then go out and race well. That's a fast race car over there. To me, this is a really fun race track. This would be a great place to get that first win of the season. This is the best we've been in the first practice in a long time."
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE? "I don't know what the difference is, but I'm sure if we end up running as well as we think we can this weekend, we'll know what we need to work on. This is the point in the year where you really want to build some momentum, you want to have something good to go into the winter with, and this could be a good weekend for us. We'll see what happens."
ANY FEEDBACK FROM OTHER DRIVERS ABOUT THE NATIONWIDE TEST AT TALLADEGA MONDAY? "No, I didn't talk to anybody about the Nationwide test at Talladega. I got to run the new car at Lowe's Motor Speedway, and I think I ran it somewhere else. I ran it twice and it was good. There wasn't anything bad about it, so from what I read about the test at Talladega I think it went pretty well, so that should be good. The biggest thing they could do with those cars is give them about another 200 horsepower and it would be great."
HOW FRUSTRATING HAS IT BEEN THIS YEAR COMPARED TO LAST YEAR AT THIS TIME? "It's really frustrating. I don't know how many wins we had at this point last year, seven or something, but we had nine wins last year. That was an amazing year. I've kind of tried to think of it differently, it's not that we haven't had no wins this season, it's just that we've had nine wins over the last two. That sounds a lot better, but I'd like to have 10 or 12 wins over the last two seasons by the end of this year, but it is frustrating. You go out and you do the very best you can. I feel like I'm doing sometimes a better job in the race car and we're not getting the same results, but that's what makes this sport tough. The good times are good, the bad times you've just got to dig in and work."
YOU PROBABLY DIDN'T IMAGINE THIS COULD HAPPEN. "No, I know the possibilities. In 2005 and 2006 were a lot like this, where we had huge expectations. The media is so nice to me. Everybody was so pumped and voted us to win the championship and everybody was on board, but I knew in the back of my mind that things can go great or they can go bad and no amount of speculation can affect that. It's just how hard you're working and whether you're working on the right things, so, yeah, it's frustrating but I know how cruel this sport can be."
WHAT ABOUT THE NATIONWIDE SEASON? "The Nationwide season I feel like we've been as good as we can be. I made a mistake at Michigan that cost us 80 or 100 points, but, other than that, we've won when we could win and we've run second when we could run second. I feel like we just have to have more horsepower there. Literally, we need more horsepower and that's what we're fighting right now, but once we get that, I think we're gonna be really good. Hopefully, the things we're doing here with the crew chief changes, hopefully that stuff helps for next year, and then the new engine stuff that they're working on, I hope that pays off too."
DID YOU QUESTION THE CREW CHIEF CHANGES? "We all agreed that the crew chief change could be good. Right now, the first week out, David Ragan is screaming fast, I'm fast, and it's working. Dan Stillman was over in our hauler talking to us, and it's pretty cool to have a team like that where you can move people around and see how it goes. But it's a three-race trial, really. Our Scotts Save-a-Lot team, we need a little boost and maybe this will be a way to get it."
HOW DO YOU COMPARE THE COMPETITION LEVEL THIS YEAR FROM LAST YEAR? "I may not be the right guy to ask. To me, the competition wasn't easy, but I felt like when we got our stuff right, when my car was balanced, I felt like I could win almost every race that we were in last year, and I really felt good about most of the races. This year, from where I'm sitting, the competition level has increased hugely. Not only are guys faster, but there are more fast guys and that's tough. Compared to five or six years ago when I started this, there's no comparison. It's way tougher now."
EXPLAIN THAT. "If I had a really good race car five years ago, my car was perfect and we had a competitive car, I could go out there and I might have to race two or three other guys -- maybe only one -- and, other than that, we had everybody beat. Right now, if you've got a perfect car and everything is good, there are six or seven guys -- maybe 10 or 12 at a given race track -- that you've got to beat. It makes the strategy on pit road, driver input, changes on the car by the crew chief, it puts all of that at a real premium."
HOW DO YOU SEE THE DOUBLE-FILE RESTARTS AFTER 20 RACES? "I think the double-file restart is good. At first, I was really nervous about the potential for a disaster, but all of the drivers seem to be doing really well with it, and the fans I've talked to -- even the people close to me like my brother and my dad and my friends at home -- they're like, 'That's the greatest thing ever. It's so much fun to watch,' so I think that's a good move NASCAR made there."
-credit: ford racing