Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion, is coming off a runner-up finish at Darlington Raceway last weekend. Edwards held a Q&A session Friday at Lowe's Motor Speedway to talk about his season to date and his role...
Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion, is coming off a runner-up finish at Darlington Raceway last weekend. Edwards held a Q&A session Friday at Lowe's Motor Speedway to talk about his season to date and his role in a fan marriage proposal.
IT'S DALE JARRETT'S LAST RACE. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THAT? "What his whole family has done for the sport, they're pillars of the sport. Dale Jarrett is a class act. I've only had him mad at me one time and it was here and he was real nice about even how mad he was at me, so we've had a lot of good times and it's always been fun to race him. It'll be neat to see what he does next. I think he can bring a lot to the sport even outside of the driver's seat. He's one of those guys who can do a lot for the sport."
HE CARRIED THE FLAG FOR FORD FOR A WHILE AND NOW YOU'RE ONE OF THE GUYS DOING THAT. "Oh yeah. That Quality Care Ford and all the success he had in that thing, that was very cool what he did at Yates. He's a role model for me and, hopefully, I can do the things for Ford that he's done, but those are pretty big shoes to try to fill."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THIS MARRIAGE PROPOSAL YOU COORDINATED TODAY? "That's a big deal for a person to decide they want to spend the rest of their life with someone, and I think it's very cool for Harlequin and Office Depot to do this. I was a little nervous for Phillip and I could tell how nervous he was, and Janice was obviously very emotional. It's crazy that they're getting their marriage proposal on the back of a race car at the All-Star event. It's a very, very creative promotion."
IT'S PRACTICE FOR WHEN YOU PROPOSE ONE DAY. "Yeah, I've got a really nice girlfriend. I don't know about marriage though. I haven't thought too hard about that yet."
YOU GET $1 MILLION TO WIN TOMORROW, BUT IS IT STILL A BIG DEAL TO WIN THAT MUCH? "Well yeah a million dollars is a big deal. That's just a fact. To race on a Saturday night, a 100-lapper for a million bucks, that's every racer's dream, so it's pretty simple -- a million dollars is a lot of money."
YOU GOT PEGGED AS THE BAD GUY AFTER THE INCIDENT WITH MATT LAST YEAR. KYLE BUSCH IS VIEWED THAT WAY NOW. WHAT'S IT LIKE BEING IN THAT POSITION? "First of all, in this sport, I'm sure it's the same in any sport or any public position, people are always gonna have their opinions and people like to hate someone. Fans like to cheer against someone. I know I've had times where there were some fans that definitely did not like me, and I think everybody goes through that. That's just part of it. The one thing, looking back on some of my adventures, it's funny in a way because everybody goes through that and it's just part of it. It's good for the sport and, in some ways, it's good for the individual that is getting booed and cheered against because people are paying attention to you."
ARE YOU AWARE WHEN GUYS ARE PERCEIVED AS THE BAD GUY? "Oh yeah, everybody is aware of it. You sit there in driver's intros and you listen, and you can hear a lot of boos for certain guys and a lot of cheers for other guys. Sometimes the guys who are running the best get the most boos and that just goes with the territory. A lot of people think, and sometimes I've felt this way, that if you're getting booed, that means you're doing something right. You're making somebody mad and usually that's by winning."
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT KYLE? "Kyle is really fast right now and all I can do, along with everybody else, is hope that he's peaking right now and that he won't be this fast in the chase because he's gonna be hard to beat if he is. But this thing goes in cycles though and we've still got a lot of races before the chase starts but that's all you can hope for when a guy is that fast."
IS THE ALL-STAR RACE A TUNE-UP FOR THE 600? "Oh yeah, this is a huge tune-up for the Coca-Cola 600. You get time on the race track. You get to race and see how the car is gonna act and see how this new tire is gonna work. The 600 is gonna be fun and I think this All-Star race is a great practice event for that."
ELDORA IS IN A COUPLE OF WEEKS. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THAT? "Eldora is gonna be a lot of fun. The coolest part about that is that we raise so much money for Victory Junction Gang Camp. It's all charity and that makes it really fun. The other great thing is it's a chance for all of us to go race in dirt cars, which are fun to begin with, but for no points, nothing but fun. Even the guys who wreck are having a blast and to win it last year was very cool, especially to hold off Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch. They were really fast and I've got a better car this year, so I'm hoping we can do it again."
WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO WIN AGAIN? "We just have to have a great car and some good luck. Track conditions have to be right because you only get one shot at it. We don't run there every week, so you've got to make sure you get it right."
DO YOU EVER THINK AHEAD ABOUT THE DAY YOU'LL RETIRE LIKE DJ? "Yeah, of course I do. I'm aware that this is the oldest I've ever been right now and I'm not getting any younger. I'm 28 and hopefully I can do this for another 20 years. That would be spectacular. Seeing guys like Dale Jarrett retire, I think everyone can look at that and apply it to their own career and say, 'Man, I wonder what it will feel like that day.' I don't know what it will feel like. I hope I'll feel satisfied that I achieved everything I wanted to do in this sport and I can walk away with my head up. That would be great."
DO YOU SEE DOING IT FOR 20 MORE YEARS? "It's a lot better than a regular job. I could definitely see myself doing this for 20 years."
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO HAVE YOUR CONTRACT DONE WITH? "To have my contract done, signed and that I'm at Roush Fenway Racing driving a Ford, that's huge and that's part of why I wanted to get it done quietly and I wanted to expedite the whole process. I think when you drag it out, sometimes it can have a negative effect on your team that you can't fix because guys leave or sponsors get a little nervous about what's gonna happen, so it's good to get it done early."
WHAT WAS IT LIKE BEING CUPID TODAY? "That was very cool to be a part of this promotion. Office Depot and Harlequin, this is like one dimension farther from a regular appearance. You're actually creating and being part of a memory for someone for the rest of their life and it's something that's very special. This is very cool."
WHAT WAS IT LIKE BEING PART OF THAT MOMENT? "It's very cool to be part of the moment. To see these folks decide they're gonna spend the rest of their lives together and they'll never forget it, that's cool."
DO HAVE THE PROPOSAL ON THE BACK OF THE CAR FOR THE WHOLE RACE. "Yeah, to have it on the back of the car for hopefully the whole race, that's great. Hopefully, that's the only part of the car everyone sees."
WHAT'S THE FEELING AFTER YOU WIN A RACE? "It's a really good feeling to win these races. The greatest feeling is knowing when everything is done and you're leaving the race track and you see traffic lined up for miles in every direction and all the stands are empty and people are going home, you know that every single person that came and every single person that watched -- of everyone involved -- you won the race. You're the guy that won the race. That's a really good feeling."
-credit: ford racing