Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 60 Ford Fusion, has scored top-10 finishes in both Busch Series races in Mexico City with an eighth-place performance in the inaugural race and a third-place finish last year. Edwards, who currently holds the second...
Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 60 Ford Fusion, has scored top-10 finishes in both Busch Series races in Mexico City with an eighth-place performance in the inaugural race and a third-place finish last year. Edwards, who currently holds the second spot in the driver point standings, spoke between practice sessions about the changes to the layout of the race track and his outlook for this year's race.
CARL EDWARDS-60-Scotts Ford Fusion
YOU WERE VOCAL ABOUT THE NEED TO REMOVE THE CHICANE FROM THE ROAD COURSE, AND THIS YEAR IT'S GONE. WAS IT THAT BAD? "No, it just got me that one trip to the hospital there. But other than, it's fine and it was fun. I think it will be better without it. It will be just a little more straightforward. The only problem with the chicane was that in traffic you couldn't see the curbs very well at all, so everybody just had to agree to take easy though there and that made it a little bit tough."
HOW WILL IT CHANGE THE RACING? "I think it will make passing a little more straightforward if you get a good run off of the last corner. It will make it simpler to make a pass on somebody, and you get that whole straightaway to figure out how you're going to pass them. I think you'll see some neat blocking and stuff because that's a long straightaway."
DO YOU THINK THE OPINION OF THE DRIVERS HELPED TO REMOVE THE CHICANE? "I don't know about that. I think it's pretty obvious that that was a band-aid for the long straightaway. I think practice went pretty well. I didn't feel that I was going much faster at the end of the straightaway than we were, and it just felt a lot more comfortable. It was just a bottleneck and I think will be fine without it. I think it will be better. That was kind of a bottleneck and kind of a crutch to keep everybody going a little bit slower, but it kind of took the racing away from that section of the race track. You couldn't get a run on somebody and pass them off of the corner because you had to feed right back in line. I think it's good."
WILL THAT RESULT IN FASTER LAP TIMES AND A QUICKER RACE? "It will be a little faster lap times maybe, but I don't think it will really change the way the race looks. It will just give guys a little more space. It will be one more spot on the track to pass where we couldn't pass before."
DO THE MEXICAN DRIVERS HOLD AN ADVANTAGE HERE? "Well, they sat on the pole the first year, Jorge did, and Adrian was really fast last year. We're all kind of in the same boat here. The geographic location really doesn't have much to do with it, I don't think. Some of the Mexican drivers are great road racers, and the guys who have been coming here for three years have been spending more time in these stock cars and great racers are going to get faster every time that they go, so I believe they'll be tougher and tougher every year."
HOW BIG OF AN IMPACT IS THE HIGHER ALTITUDE ON THE DRIVERS AND CARS? "It makes a big difference with the car. This is one of the races that I enjoy coming to physically because I train really hard. It's fun to come somewhere where it's harder to breathe. I enjoy that part of it, and I can tell just a little bit, I can feel it. But, the car is the biggest thing. We're down probably 150 horsepower."
HOW WAS THE CAR IN PRACTICE? "We got a little bit better there at the end. Our last lap was real good and I think we'll better because we were way too tight."
DO YOU LIKE COMING TO MEXICO TO RACE? "I like it a lot. It's fun and it's totally different. I wish we went to places like this more often. I'm excited to go to Canada. I'm sure it's more of a nightmare for everybody that has to drive a truck here or deal with all of the paperwork or whatever, but for me as a driver, I got up this morning in my bed in Charlotte and flew down here with Greg (Biffle) and got to take a great van ride. Jon Wood was interpreting for everybody, which was pretty funny."
DOES HE SPEAK SPANISH? "Almost as much as I do, which is not a lot. We had fun, and it's just different. Like tonight, I'm excited to go back to the hotel and check it out and try to understand what they're saying on TV."
IT SEEMS LIKE THERE IS A SMALLER CONTINGENCY OF CUP DRIVERS COMING DOWN HERE EACH YEAR. DO MORE OF THEM NEED TO SHOW UP TO KEEP THIS EVENT GOING? "That's an interesting question: Do we need more Cup guys at the Busch race? That's the first time that I've heard that. I don't know. I don't know how the ticket sales work out, and I don't know if the fans are interested in going regardless of who the drivers are here. The signs that I see out on the highway are for the Mexican drivers or the international drivers. I guess this is the longest that I've been at a race track and haven't seen a lot of fans with Cup driver apparel on and stuff like that. I'll probably keep coming here. The only thing is that it's an off week. That makes it the perfect week to take off for the guys who want to take off. You get 10 days between events on the West Coast."
JUAN PABLO SEEMS TO BE GETTING THE MOST ATTENTION DOWN HERE. HAVE YOU HAD A CHANCE TO HANG OUT WITH HIM? "I haven't gotten to hang out with him a lot, but he seems like a normal racer and a regular guy. One of my roommates named Josh (Amelunke) moved down here from Missouri. His mom was my kindergarten assistant teacher, and I helped him - he earned it - but he ended up getting a job down here working for Bobby Ginn. He's only got two hats in his room. He's got a Carl Edwards hat and a Juan Montoya hat. He's just a huge fan, and he's a guy that other than knowing me growing up, he loves that guy and I think there's a lot of people out there like that who really like him a lot."
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT THE CULTURE AND COMING HERE? "I guess just the fact that it's different. It's fun to realize that there's people all over the world that live in a completely separate world than we live in."
YOU HAVE A CHANCE TO LEAVE HERE WITH THE POINTS LEAD THIS WEEKEND. HOW COMFORTABLE ARE YOU WITH EVERYONE EYEING YOU AS THE EARLY-SEASON FAVORITE TO WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP? "Personally, it doesn't really matter either way with what people expect or don't expect from me. I'm going to do the same thing, but it is fun though to think about winning that championship. That's cool."
-credit: ford racing