This Week in Ford Racing September 28, 2004 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Superchips Ford F-150, successfully completed the first of his two consecutive cross-country excursions that allowed him to race in...
This Week in Ford Racing
September 28, 2004
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Superchips Ford F-150, successfully completed the first of his two consecutive cross-country excursions that allowed him to race in both the Craftsman Truck Series and NEXTEL Cup events on same weekend. While the end result saw Edwards lose ground in the truck series point standings - now 125 points out of the lead - the Columbia, Mo., native remains steadfast in his determination to compete in the remaining truck and Cup events this season. This weekend, however, it gets tougher as Edwards is charged with the task of making two roundtrip flights from California Speedway to Talladega Superspeedway. Edwards discussed the fatigue factor in pulling double duty, his upcoming travel plans and his outlook on the truck series championship.
CARL EDWARDS -99-Superchips Ford F-150
YOU'VE HAD A DAY TO RELAX FOLLOWING YOUR CROSS-COUNTRY TRAVELS THIS WEEKEND. HOW DO YOU FEEL?
"I feel great. It's about the same as running all the dirt races we used to do where we stayed up all night traveling from track to track over the course of a weekend. It was kind of like that, but the jet allowed us to travel greater distances between races. It was really neat of Jack and everybody to go out of their way to arrange the travel so that I could drive in those two races. Matt Kenseth was nice enough to let me use his plane to get back and forth from Vegas, and Jack arranged for a motorhome for me at the track in Dover."
WERE YOU GIVEN IMPLICIT INSTRUCTIONS FROM JACK AS TO YOUR SCHEDULE?
"My mom went with me and did the whole double-duty thing right along with me. Jack gave her direct orders to make sure that I slept on the plane and I wasn't allowed out of the motorhome at Dover until the driver's meeting. Those were the only orders that he gave."
THIS WEEKEND YOU HAVE TO MAKE THE TREK FROM CALIFORNIA TO TALLADEGA TWICE. WILL THIS BE A MORE TAXING WEEKEND FOR YOU?
"I think that this week will actually be a little bit tougher. For me, it's really not tough; it's a lot of fun. This weekend we go back and forth twice from California to Talladega. We'll start the weekend on Friday at California, and practice and qualify the truck before flying to Talladega for drafting practice on Saturday. Then it's back to California for Saturday night's truck race. After the truck race we'll hop back on the jet and fly to Talladega for the Cup race on Sunday. I just hope the weather stays good to where we don't have any schedule problems. I really want to run both races."
WILL THERE EVER BE A CASE WHERE YOU WILL HAVE TO MISS A TRUCK PRACTICE SESSION TO ATTEND A CUP ACTIVITY?
"Throughout this whole deal we won't miss any truck activities. That's the number one priority. Dave Blaney will handle the Cup duties this weekend when I'm in California."
YOUR TRUCK SUFFERED ENGINE FAILURE LAST WEEK IN VEGAS. WITH THE LACK OF HAPPY HOUR PRACTICE AND INABILITY TO INSPECT THE TRUCKS AFTER QUALIFYING, HOW DOES THE IMPOUND RULE CHANGE THE OVERALL STRATEGY FOR THE WEEKEND?
"I still don't know what it was that happened, but it came about so quickly I don't think we could have done anything about it. I'm fine with it either way. I don't mind not having a Happy Hour. It just makes it a little tougher and you've got to resort back to last year's notes for how the track changed. I think having a teammate and with the way our team is running, I think that Happy Hour will let us get the truck that much better and it could play into our favor. The last couple of races you really just qualify your race setup because you can't touch the trucks, and like we saw last weekend, we weren't great in qualifying but we had a good race setup, so you just have to take what you get in qualifying and hope the track conditions change in your favor for the race"
THERE ARE SOME SUBTLE DIFFERENCES IN THE RULES BETWEEN THE TRUCK AND CUP SERIES, MOST NOTABLY THE AMOUNT OF TIRES YOU'RE ALLOWED TO CHANGE DURING THE RACE. DOES THAT IMPACT YOUR MENTALITY AS A DRIVER KNOWING YOU NEED TO BE MORE CONSERVATIVE WITH TIRE WEAR ON THE TRUCK SIDE?
"Given the fact we're only allotted three sets of tires on the truck side, I think it makes you a little better at tire management. It really has a big impact on race strategy, though. I think it makes the job a little bit tougher the crew chiefs over in the truck series, especially last week at Las Vegas. Tires were such a big deal and they went away so quickly that it was a big deal if you took tires or not. It's a different mentality completely on the Cup side. If you can get tires then you get tires."
HAVE YOU GROWN TIRED OF PEOPLE ASKING YOU ABOUT THE WEAR-AND-TEAR FACTOR OF PULLING DOUBLE DUTY AND THE EFFECT IT MAY HAVE ON YOUR CHANCES AT WINNING THE TRUCK SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP?
"A lot of people have asked me that, but the biggest thing to me is that I'm not tired. I don't think you can do anything to take away from my focus. As long as I'm driving a race car, I think it's a positive thing to pull double duty at the end of the season. A lot of people, the way that they've talked to me about it, they act like it's something detrimental to my performance, but I think it's actually helping me. As long as too many of the guys don't catch on and start doing stuff like this hopefully I can use it to my advantage."
YOU LOST SOME GROUND TO THE TOP TWO IN THE POINT STANDINGS THIS PAST WEEKEND, BUT REMAIN IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP CHASE. HOW CLOSE ARE YOU TO HITTING THE PANIC BUTTON AT THIS POINT IN THE SEASON WITH A 125-POINT DEFICIT?
"I think we'll still be fine. We have six races left, and we're 125 points out of the lead. We were really hoping to come out of Vegas with the points lead, but if any team can do it, we can do it. I really feel like that we've hit our stride lately. We've been running really well and I look forward to these last six races. It's going to be a fun challenge. It would mean the world to me to win this championship and I hope we get it. We're just going to go out there and try to win every race and that's what we've been doing the last few weeks and it's been awesome. If we just finished in the position we were in at Vegas I think we would have been pretty close to being tied for the points lead, and if that would have happened that meant we would have closed up over 200 points in five races. Hopefully, we can do that again here in the next four or five races and then points race for the last couple."
DOES IT HELP KNOWING THAT YOU'VE BEEN IN THIS POSITION BEFORE THIS SEASON AND WERE ABLE TO MAKE UP GROUND TO THE TOP TWO IN THE POINT STANDINGS?
"It helps with our confidence some. We've been running so well the last month. If we can continue like that and not have anything else break, I feel really good about our chances."