Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion, is in sixth place in the standings going into this weekend's race at Watkins Glen. Edwards visited the infield media center prior to Friday's practice session. WHAT'S YOUR OUTLOOK FOR ...
Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion, is in sixth place in the standings going into this weekend's race at Watkins Glen. Edwards visited the infield media center prior to Friday's practice session.
WHAT'S YOUR OUTLOOK FOR THIS WEEKEND? "I hope we run well. We need it. Right now, we're, I think, 200 points ahead of the Chase cutoff, and this race is an important one, just like the four after it. We just need to have a good, solid run in our Aflac Fusion. It doesn't look like it's going to rain today or tomorrow, so we're going to focus on qualifying trim today, the whole day today. It's the first time we've done this in years, so my first lap out there will be a qualifying lap."
WHAT DO YOU EXPECT WITH THE DOUBLE-FILE RE-STARTS HERE? "Last week was awful for my time, the double-file re-starts were. I'm hoping this week this race goes as it has in the past -- there won't be too many re-starts. Those double-file re-starts seem to breed more re-starts. It could end up being a one- or two-lap sprint races at the end, so that could have a huge impact. I hope it doesn't, but it could and we're prepared for that. I'm prepared for that."
BECAUSE YOU'LL BE IN QUALIFYING TRIM ALL DAY TODAY, IS THAT AN INDICATION OF HOW IMPORTANT YOU THINK TRACK POSITION IS GOING TO BE HERE? "That's a great point, and it's more important everywhere we go. Our team has worked hard on race trim since the day I started racing here in the Cup series. Like I said, it's been years since we started practice in qualifying trim at Watkins Glen. So, I think it's more important than ever. It'll very important Sunday."
LOOKING AHEAD TO THE CHASE, IS THERE A TRACK WHERE YOU FEEL YOU NEED TO IMPROVE YOUR PERFORMANCE? "Last year I felt like we performed very well at all of them. Phoenix, I think we ran fourth there. Martinsville, I was third, I think. Those tracks haven't given me the best finishes -- Martinsville is probably the one I probably have the worst finishing average at that track compared to the rest of tracks in the Chase. But, that finish was good -- I think it was third, you'd have to check that out, but I think it was third. And we ran really good at Martinsville this year, so I feel pretty good about that one. That's the one I'm most concerned about, but I feel better than ever. Talladega, obviously, that's one that you really have to pick your battle there during that race, so if you want to fight for the win or do you want to hang out and save your car, I learned a lot last year that race and how terrible it went. So, those two tracks, I'd say, are the ones to me that are the wild-cards, the ones that'll be bottlenecks for me in the Chase."
ON THE RE-START HERE, DO YOU WANT THE INSIDE OR OUTSIDE GOING INTO TURN ONE? "I don't know; I couldn't decide. I thought a reason I was doing so terribly at Pocono was because I kept getting the outside, and then I got the inside and it was just as bad.
"It's such a chaotic mess if you're in the fifth, sixth row, somewhere back there, in these double-file re-starts, that there's no telling which line is going to be best. I have to say at this track, probably, statistically, I would guess that the inside lane, the right-side lane will be the best one to be in. But, I mean, there's just no telling what's going to happen. There's no telling."
DOES THE COMFORT LEVEL WITH THE NEW CAR CONTRIBUTE TO THE AGGRESSIVENESS ON THE TRACK? "My comfort level hasn't changed with this car. It just depends on the race track. That's maybe a good idea there; this car, you can run into more stuff and keep truckin'. Maybe that's part of it. Maybe people are more likely to slide the thing down in there and bang off of somebody's car. I don't know. It's insane. I think it probably has to do more with people's contracts being up in the air and sponsors and everything squeezing for every bit of exposure that we can get. It's like the whole economy, everyone in the market is, I think everyone's aware of that and I think everyone wants to get the very best finish they can -- more than ever. People are racing for their careers and their team's existence. I think that's why you see this type of racing."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT DEALING WITH THE CHICANE HERE? "The first time I came here and tested, I put it right in the sand out there, the gravel. The chicane, or the bus stop, back there looks very simple, but what makes it difficult is that you're coming from the highest speed portion of the race track and then you're braking, and at the same time you're braking, you're trying to set up this corner and it's got curbs. If you get the rear-axle hopping or you get a little loose and hit that curb just wrong and lock up the brakes or whatever, so much energy built up, you can't get it slowed down for the left-hander, and it ends up being pretty exciting. Plus, it's a great place to pass, but if the guy doesn't give it to you, now you're both going in there side-by-side and there's just no room. That makes it pretty exciting."
-credit: ford racing