Kansas: This Week in Ford Racing

This Week in Ford Racing June 29, 2004 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Ford F-150, is anxiously anticipating his return home this weekend as the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competitors travel to Kansas ...

This Week in Ford Racing
June 29, 2004

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series

Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Ford F-150, is anxiously anticipating his return home this weekend as the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competitors travel to Kansas Speedway for Saturday's O'Reilly Auto Parts 250. The 24-year-old Columbia, Mo., native posted a 23rd-place finish last weekend at The Milwaukee Mile after he made contact with the outside wall while running in the second position. Despite the late-race misfortune, Edwards remains in second place in the point standings, but he fell 131 points behind Dennis Setzer in the race for the championship. Edwards discussed the positives that came out of Milwaukee and his fondness of Kansas Speedway.

CARL EDWARDS-99-Superchips Ford F-150

YOU GREW UP IN COLUMBIA, MO., A CITY BETWEEN ST. LOUIS AND KANSAS CITY. WHICH TRACK DO YOU CONSIDER YOUR HOMETOWN TRACK, GATEWAY INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY OR KANSAS SPEEDWAY? "I kind of consider them both as hometown tracks. They both have the same hometown feeling for me. The neatest thing about Kansas Speedway is when they built that speedway it was a big deal in the Columbia area, where I was from. I remember the first time I drove out there thinking, 'Man, that place is beautiful.' But, I really never thought I would get to race there. It's really an honor to get to race at a place like that, especially the way I used to view it."

THERE IS MORE RACING HISTORY ASSOCIATED WITH GATEWAY, WHEREAS KANSAS SPEEDWAY IS A RELATIVELY NEW VENUE. DO YOU PREFER TO WRITE YOUR OWN HISTORY OR ADD TO THE LORE OF A TRACK? "I never thought of it like that. I've always looked at the other way. I feel like it's really neat to race at places that have a lot of history, but Kansas really stands out to me because growing up in Columbia, I'd never seen a race track of that scale. They were just always places you saw on TV. To actually be able to drive up the road 100 miles and to see this unbelievable facility and see Cup cars racing there, that's just something that was never a reality to me until they built that race track."

YOU ARE SLATED TO TAKE OVER THE NO. 6 CUP CAR WHEN MARK MARTIN RETIRES. WITH THE NO. 6 BEING THE FRANCHISE OF THE ROUSH RACING STABLE, ARE YOU COMFORTABLE STEPPING INTO THAT ROLE? "It might sound strange but I feel more like a participant in this sport than someone who is paving some new ground. This sport has been here for a long time. NASCAR has been around for so long and there have been so many great drivers that, in this point in my career, I feel lucky getting to take part in this great thing. I don't feel like I'm out there laying my own bricks down and building a new road. I hadn't really thought about it too much, but I guess there are some feelings that come along with each scenario."

LAST WEEK'S RACE IN MILWAUKEE COULD BE SEEN AS A SETBACK IN YOUR QUEST FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP, BUT COULD IT ALSO BE A POSITIVE? "Right now, at this point in the season, I talked to my brother and I talked to mom a little bit and people pointed out that I was acting like I was a little stressed out. After the Milwaukee race, I was disappointed 100 percent in what happened with me hitting the wall and costing us a race win, but I was just as much disappointed that we fell back in points. To me, I feel like I don't need to be that worried about points right now. My crew chief (Kevin Starland) and I talked about it a little bit and Cowboy said, 'Hey, I'm not looking at those points ever again this season. We're just going to race to win because we're getting worked up over something that does not affect our performance right now.' It might have been a blessing to have that happen on Friday. We might look at Milwaukee as the turning point of our season the same way Dover was last year."

YOU ABIDE BY A VERY STRICT WORKOUT REGIMENT. DO YOU FEEL THAT THE YOUNG DRIVERS ENTERING THE SPORT ARE FORCING THE OLDER DRIVERS TO IMPROVE THEIR PHYSICAL CONDITIONING? "I always did it for me. If I weren't racing, I'd still do the same thing. The fact that it applies to my race driving helps me to stay motivated. Our whole team meets up a the shop at 6:45 every morning and we lift weights pretty hard for about 45 minutes, essentially five days a week. When we're racing on a weekly basis it's harder to keep up with five days, but I try to come in on the weekends when we go to the track. Then three or four days a week I do some sort of cardio at noon. I've been running a lot and I'm getting a bicycle here real soon to start biking. For me, it's just something I really like doing. It's my thing, and it's something I can do to get away and focus on and do by myself and kind of get my mind off of things."

ARE YOU ABLE TO RUN WITHOUT THE NEED TO TRACK YOUR RESULTS? "I try really hard not to do that, but the other day I took a watch and I timed myself, and then I took my truck and went over the amount I ran and calculated the distance. I could let myself get real competitive as far as always trying to better my time, but right now, I go until I can't stand it and that's good enough. I started keeping track of the time more than the distance, and I think that's a better way for racing. I came up with this idea the other day, but I don't know if I will do it, but I thought about getting the broadcasts of the races and running under green flags and walking under yellow, but that would take too much planning."

WITH THE HOT SUMMER MONTHS UPON US, HOW MUCH OF AN ADVANTAGE IS IT TO BE PHYSICALLY FIT WHEN YOU'RE BEHIND THE WHEEL OF A TRUCK FOR TWO HOURS STRAIGHT? "It's a good feeling. The first reaction is to think, 'Wow, it's so hot, this is terrible.' But, it's pretty neat because I feel like it's an advantage for me because it's the same temperature for everyone and I feel like I'm as prepared as I can be physically. When you're racing and you realize you're following somebody, and everybody is really hot, you can kind of tell that they're slipping up a little bit. It just helps to make you feel a little more confident and a little more well prepared."

-ford-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Dennis Setzer , Carl Edwards