Atlanta II: Edwards - Friday media visit

CARL EDWARDS -- No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS FOR SUNDAY? "Really, everybody knows that Jimmie's got that giant lead and we just have to go out and we have to win races and hope that all the luck balances out and we can...

CARL EDWARDS -- No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS FOR SUNDAY? "Really, everybody knows that Jimmie's got that giant lead and we just have to go out and we have to win races and hope that all the luck balances out and we can catch him. We've got a great race car. We ran five laps in race trim. This spring, that car was so awesome. We had a huge lead and something let go in the engine. This track has been so good to me and I love it so much that all week I haven't hardly been able to wait to race. I just really want to race, so I'm very excited about the race on Sunday."

DOES THE SENSATION OF SPEED AT TEXAS SLOW DOWN AT ALL ONCE THE RACE STARTS? "Yeah, a lot of these tracks are like that. Atlanta is one of them that's the same way, but definitely Texas. Dover is one that's the same thing. The first couple laps of practice you think, 'Man, this is fast.' About halfway through the race you think, 'This is the slowest car I've ever had. I wish I could go faster.' Depending on how your race is going it can start to feel real slow as you race more with guys and you get more used to it, but, yeah, Texas is one that we go to that had a real high sensation of speed, mostly because we are going extremely fast there, but the track does make a lot of grip. There's a lot of banking. Atlanta is the same kind of thing. These tracks are fun. I think all the drivers really enjoy them, especially in these cars that we're racing right now. They don't have a ton of downforce, so you can actually move the car around quite a bit and it's neat to be going through the corner 150 miles an hour, sliding sideways and steering the car. I mean, that's fun. That's really why we all started racing because it's fun to go fast."

CAN YOU OUT JIMMIE JIMMIE IN THE LAST FOUR RACES? "I don't know. We just have to go out and, number one, we have to beat him on the race track. Last week at Martinsville was a great race for us. It was a third-place, solid, the best run we've ever had there, but it's not good enough if Jimmie wins the thing, so we've got to go out and win and he's got to run 10th or 15th every week. I know that sounds like it's impossible, but it actually can happen and that's what we're going to do."

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE TRUCK SERIES STATUS AND THE OPPORTUNITY IT GAVE YOU IN YOUR CAREER? "If you take another step back before Jack and running full-time, the true break in my career, the true giant step was running with Mike Mitler. There's a guy who, because of the rules and how close NASCAR monitors the competition, he can afford to pay out of his pocket to go race a few truck races every year. If you don't have guys like that in the sport, it's very hard as a driver to make it, to hope to get the opportunity. It's extremely difficult, so I think it's NASCAR's job and I think they've done a good job of trying to keep the rules and work on it enough so guys like Mike Mitler can go out there and run teams. It's a tough economy, it's tough for everyone, and I think as far as motorsports go, the thing that we have here and the thing that I value the most is this rules package and the parity among all the teams. I truly believe that I can go win a race every week and I'm not racing technology as much as I would be if I were running in Indy Car or Formula One or something like that, so as long as we remember that and NASCAR keeps going that way, it'll be good. But definitely without the guys who can field those trucks and the one-off Busch teams, the sport will not have the talent in it that it has now if that goes away."

DID IT EVER CROSS YOUR MIND NOT TO RUN A FULL NATIONWIDE SCHEDULE NEXT YEAR? ARE YOU CONCERNED ABOUT HAVING ENOUGH FUNDING TO GO FOR THAT TITLE? "First of all, for me right now there's really no question whether I was gonna run the full season or not. With Drew and Darrell Morrow, the car chief, and all the guys who work on that 60 car, we have such a good time racing that as long as we can do it, I'm gonna do it. That's what I foresee right now. I really enjoy racing on Saturday, so I'm not too concerned about the way the funding is working out because of the structure at Roush Fenway. A lot of our information, we have catalogued and we can share from the Cup side over to the Nationwide side, so I'm not too concerned about that. I know Jack well enough and Drew and all these guys well enough to know that we aren't gonna go out there and race for 10th place. We're gonna have what it takes and if we don't have it, we'll go get it no matter how we have to do it. We've got great sponsors with Scotts, Save-a-lot and those folks, so, hopefully, that will be able to fund it at a level that's as competitive as it is now."

JIMMIE SAID THE GUY HE FEARS MOST IS YOU. DO YOU HAVE A FEAR OF JIMMIE? "No, I don't necessarily have a fear of Jimmie. I definitely have a bunch of respect for him and what they can do. The races that we've had together and the relationship that we've had on and off the track has been great. I don't know how to explain it other than like I said after the race last week, Jimmie is a competitor and he's a really fun guy to compete against. I do believe that we can beat him these last four races. I don't know if we can beat him badly enough to catch him without him having some bad luck, but I'm in a position where we've got nothing to lose. We're gonna go race this thing for the win these last four weeks and we're going for it. It's gonna be fun whether we win or lose, that's for sure."

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT RACING AT ATLANTA ON LABOR DAY NEXT YEAR? "Anytime you can race at night at a place like this, that's gonna be cool. It's gonna be a lot of fun. Like I said before, for me, this is one of the most fun race tracks that we go to. You get to go real fast. You can run right by the fence, you can run down on the apron. You can do a lot of stuff here and I think for the fans, having a night race at a place like this is gonna be exciting. It'll be an all-star style event, I think, in all aspects, so that should be a blast."

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT BOB OSBORNE AND THE DECISIONS HE'S MAKING ON THE BOX? "Really, so far, if this chase were over today -- for us -- it would have been defined by the wreck at Talladega and the ignition box at Lowe's. Our performances have been great. I believe our cars have been unbelievable and that comes down to the guy sitting on the box. I wouldn't trade Bob Osborne for any guy in the garage area, any person in the world. I believe, right off the bat, I think he's as smart or smarter as anyone in the garage. He's a great problem-solver and then if you add onto that the relationship that we've built over the last three or four years, I think we're in the best position that we've ever been. I hope that going forward we can build on that relationship and make it what defines us as a team, what gets us through all these hard decisions like you see Chad and Jimmie. The one thing that amazes me about them is they're able to start off poorly and re-group throughout the day and somehow end up in the front and I think that's a sign of their decision-making and their problem-solving and their relationship. So, yeah, I think over time Bob and I can beat them."

WHEN BOB LEFT YOU FOR THAT BRIEF TIME WAS IT A CASE OF NOT KNOWING WHAT YOU HAD UNTIL IT WAS GONE? "That's a good way to think of it. Obviously, you don't ever want to give anything up. I would never have made the change that Jack made if it were all up to me, but he did what he had to do and I learned a lot dealing with Wally. Wally Brown is a brilliant guy and a great friend. If we could have Wally just on our team as well as Bob, we'd be better off. I think in the end though, it's one of those things that you don't know what you've got until it's gone and I probably do value that relationship more and I wouldn't let Bob leave my team without the biggest fight. I'd do anything I could to keep him there knowing what I know now and being wiser like I am now. I wouldn't have let it happen in the first place if I knew what I know now."

YOU GOT FIVE LAPS ON THE TIRES. ANY IDEA IF THEY'RE BETTER THAN THE FIRST RACE? "I did think about that a little bit and I don't know. It seemed like the tire had a ton of grip and you could drive the car pretty hung out. It wasn't a real hard-feeling tire. I felt like I could get the tire real sideways and drag that tire around, so I hope that tire wear is not an issue. I'm a little nervous about it just because it's a change. I guess they had Kyle here testing or something and I'm sure he ran some really hard laps, so I hope it holds up and I hope it works out. They didn't have tire failures, I believe, the last time we were here, people just didn't like the tire so it makes me a little nervous that they changed it."

IS IT TOO EARLY TO START THINKING ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED AT INDY AND LOOK FOR SIMILAR TRENDS? "We'll know tomorrow. I think we'll know -- maybe not after the first practice but definitely after the second practice. We should know, but, man, the tire thing is touchy. You've got such high loads at these places. I hope they never pave this place. The pavement is perfect. Whatever tire they end up getting, I hope that it lasts."

WILL THERE BE ANY GOOD-NATURED TRASH TALKING THIS WEEKEND WITH JIMMIE? "I don't know. The thing about Jimmie and this is just the way it is, have you ever seen those crock pots they've got for the drivers. Apparently, a crock pot with your face on it is funny. So I get a royalty, I guess, for every crock pot that's sold. I don't know if people know it, but if you buy a Carl Edwards crock pot, on the crock pot there's a picture of us in Victory Lane in Atlanta in 2005 and it's like a Where's Waldo. There's this little Jimmie Johnson head sticking out from behind my shoulder, where he's coming up to pour his drink over my head and congratulate me. Somebody told me about it, so I went to my mom's house and I got there and I got the crock pot off the shelf and I was like, 'Sure enough, there's Jimmie.' The point is that he's the kind of guy that when you win a race or you have a good race with him and you beat him, he's the first guy over there to congratulate you. So, yeah, I want to beat him more than anything, but I probably won't be trash-talking him anytime soon. That crock pot is funny. He doesn't get a royalty, even though his face is on it, but I don't think he gets paid for the Carl Edwards crock pot."

-credit: ford racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jimmie Johnson , Carl Edwards