Phoenix: This Week in Ford Racing

This Week in Ford Racing November 2, 2004 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series With three races remaining in the NASCAR season, Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Ford F-150, finds himself in the middle of the Craftsman Truck Series...

This Week in Ford Racing
November 2, 2004

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series

With three races remaining in the NASCAR season, Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Ford F-150, finds himself in the middle of the Craftsman Truck Series championship chase. Edwards, who has successfully completed double duty in the NEXTEL Cup Series and Craftsman Truck Series since Michigan in August, will have it a little easier the final three races as both series will be competing at the same venues beginning with this weekend's races at Phoenix International Raceway. Edwards enters the truck series race fourth in the point standings, 122 points out of the lead.

CARL EDWARDS --No. 99--Superchips Ford F-150

THE FINAL THREE TRUCK AND CUP RACES OF THE SEASON ARE AT THE SAME VENUES. HOW MUCH OF A RELIEF IS IT NOT TO HAVE TO TRAVEL BETWEEN VENUES DURING THE WEEKENDS?

"I think it will only help my performance in both vehicles. The travel wasn't very tiresome, but just being at the same track all weekend will let me keep my focus on one place. The jet allowed us to travel greater distances between races, and it was really neat of Jack and everybody to go out of their way to arrange the travel so that I could drive in two races the same weekend, but I'm really looking forward to the last three races because getting laps at the same place all weekend can only be a positive."

TALK ABOUT BEING IN THE TRUCK SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP HUNT AND THE MENTALITY YOU HAVE ENTERING THE LAST THREE RACES.

"The only real championship hunts that I've been in before were at the local dirt track. I really feel like that we've hit our stride lately. We've been running really well and I look forward to these last three 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 races."

HAS THE EXTRA SEAT TIME IN THE CUP CAR HELPED YOU IN THE TRUCK?

"There's nothing we can use setup-wise, but it's helping my confidence a little bit to run with the Cup guys. Those guys are so patient and that was one area I needed to work on. When a guy is faster over there early in a race, they don't put up a big fight. They don't race hard at the wrong times, and sometimes as a driver I've definitely raced way too hard at the wrong time. I'm learning when to race really hard and when to not ask too much, and I think that's what it takes to be a good points racer. 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. I could race every day and that would be fine with me, but the hard part is the competition."

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 at some of these mile-and-a-half tracks. Tires are such a big deal and they go away so quickly that it's 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."

HAS YOUR PHYSICAL CONDITIONING HELPED YOU IN YOUR PURSUIT TO PULL DOUBLE DUTY AT THE END OF THE SEASON?

"I think has helped on the Cup side with the races being so much longer. You really don't know how much wear and tear a driver goes through until you run 500 laps at Martinsville. I've always stayed in shape 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 at 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. 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."

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Carl Edwards