Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion, is hobbled with a broken right foot after an accident playing Frisbee earlier in the week. Edwards spoke about the injury and his thoughts on how it will affect him in the car tomorrow...
Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion, is hobbled with a broken right foot after an accident playing Frisbee earlier in the week. Edwards spoke about the injury and his thoughts on how it will affect him in the car tomorrow night.
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES OF GETTING IN AND OUT OF THE CAR? "The race car is really the simplest part of having a foot injury. I feel for all the folks who have to go around on crutches. That's a lot harder than it looks just to do everything, so it'll be a little bit of a learning experience for me. I'm always up for a challenge, but my big thing is I just hope this heals up to where it's a zero issue in the race car, where I don't feel anything here in the next couple of weeks. That would be really nice, but right now it's pretty good. It's not perfect, though."
WHAT WERE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES DURING PRACTICE? "The biggest challenge in practice was in the Save-a-Lot Nationwide car. You spend so much time wide-open in that car. In the past, I've had a habit of bending pedals because I feel like the harder I push on that pedal the faster the car goes, and now I have to really, really push on it softly, so that's been a little bit tough. The Cup car is pretty good."
WHAT IS THE PAIN LIKE? "The pain isn't that bad unless I push too hard on the pedal and, trust me, I know right when I push too hard on the pedal. But I'm very fortunate. The two bones I broke, broke in a manner they said was one in a million. It could have been pretty bad, so as long as I just don't walk on it or push anything too hard, I should be all right."
DO YOU HAVE A RELIEF DRIVER TONIGHT? "Yeah, Matt Kenseth is gonna help me out tonight if we need anything, which I thought was pretty cool. I've had really great support from all my teammates -- Matt, Greg, and everyone -- and then for tomorrow I'm not quite sure what we've got yet, but I think Travis Kvapil has offered to help out, so both of those guys are champions so that would be great to have them."
WHAT KIND OF PROTECTION DO YOU HAVE FOR THE FOOT? "What they did was they said they could put a cast on it, but then I couldn't remove it. So what they gave me was a walking-type boot that I'll wear all the time, except for when I'm in the car, and then Mid Mo Orthodics made a carbon piece for the bottom of my shoe and then a form-fitting piece of plastic that goes on top of that, so the sole is rigid. They say as long as I keep my shoe laced up tight, as long as that stays rigid, I can't really do any damage."
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO HEAL? "If everything goes right and goes well, and I don't injure it any further, they say eight weeks is how long I have to wear that boot. But I'm hoping a little bit of strength will come back. I only need about 10-20 percent of the strength in those bones to drive like I normally do. It's just walking, running and things like that which are gonna require that full eight weeks."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON MAKING IT THROUGH BOTH RACES? "That first practice session didn't go that well in the Nationwide car. It took me a little while to get used to it, but the Cup car was great. I felt almost 100 percent, so that was good."
HOW MUCH RIBBING HAVE YOU GOTTEN? "I've had a lot of people ask me if I want to go play Frisbee. I don't want to go play Frisbee right now."
IS IT A SECOND 'F' WORD YOU CAN USE? "Yeah, Frisbee is not four letters, but it's an 'F' word for sure."
ANY PAIN MEDICATION? "I'm not taking any pain medication at all and I don't plan on taking any. The only thing that I would do is if, after the race on Sunday night, if I couldn't sleep or something like that I might take something, but, right now, I haven't gone and filled any prescriptions or anything."
WHAT WAS JACK'S REACTION? "Jack's reaction was something along the lines was, 'You just can't go a day without showing everybody how dumb you are, can you.' (Laughing) That's how Jack is. When I hurt my thumb I told him I thought it was gonna be all right and he said, 'Damn straight it's gonna be all right.' At least he can see the humor in it. He understands. We're gonna race no matter what, it's just up to me."
WHEN DO YOU HAVE THE MOST PAIN IN THE CAR? "It's really simple. The harder I push on the pedal that's when it hurts the most -- when I push hard. So what I'm trying to do is get out of my habits because, as a driver, that's just one of your inputs. There are times when I slap the throttle pedal really hard and I just can't do that right now, so I'm just having to be a little more tentative and think a little harder about my throttle application."
WHAT IF YOU WIN? NO BACKFLIP? "I hate to say it, but I probably won't be doing a backflip for six to eight months no matter how many races we win. But it was pretty cool yesterday at the Aflac Cancer Center. Jody Lawrence, the girl who designed my car, she said, 'It's no problem. I'll be there and I can do a backflip,' so Jodi volunteered to do one if we won on Sunday. The car is pretty good, so she better be ready."
IS THIS MORE EMBARRASING THAN JIMMIE FALLING OFF A GOLF CART? "I don't know. It is what it is. You could get hurt doing anything. Of all the things I've done the last few weeks are things I do all the time. I never thought I'd break a bone playing Frisbee. I rode my motorcycle to the University where we were playing Frisbee, so I just guess you never know. Things happen."
INSIDE IS IT FRUSTRATING TO BE IN THIS SITUATION? "There's nothing I can do about it. Things happen. When I went into the hospital the other day I walked through the front door on some crutches and there was a guy sitting there that was missing the bottom half of one of his legs, so I have nothing to complain about. I can still do my job pretty well. I think we're as fast as anyone in race trim. I was a little bit nervous before I got in the car, but I guess it's just one more thing. I think we'll be all right."
ANY CONSIDERATION OF GIVING UP THE NATIONWIDE SCHEDULE? "No. I'm gonna race every lap that I can. If I can physically do it, I'm gonna do it."
HOW MUCH DOES THIS TRACK CHANGE AT NIGHT? "We just saw in practice when the sun came out the track slowed way down, so I think when the sun goes down and the track cools off, it's gonna be a lot faster race track. The setups are gonna be different. The amount the cars are traveling is gonna change, and I think there's gonna be a premium for crew chiefs that can predict how the cars are gonna handle in really cool weather."
HOW MUCH PRESSURE DO GUYS ON THE BUBBLE FEEL NOW? "I feel like I'm on the bubble still, but I know what that pressure is about. In 2005, that race at Richmond took a lot out of me. There was so much stress trying to make it into the chase and it's tough. I can imagine that those guys right now are feeling really, really, really stress."
DO YOU FEEL ON THE BUBBLE? "A little bit. I mean, anything can happen. Until we're mathematically in it, I'm not resting on anything. We've got to go out and win this race."
WOULD YOU HAVE FELT BETTER IF YOU BROKE YOUR FOOT DOING SOMETHING MACHO? "When it happened, we all kind of sat there and looked at each other. My buddy said, 'We can come up with something a lot better than Frisbee,' and I said, 'No, everybody would find out anyways.' I enjoy Frisbee. It's fun. Those stories are true. It is a dangerous, dangerous sport -- I'm here to tell you. (Laughing). It's just what it is. You can hurt yourself doing anything. The great thing as far as my sponsor is concerned, I didn't even think about it until afterwards, they called my wife and sent us the claim sheet and I get a check for breaking two bones in my foot, so I understand how Aflac works now really well."
WHAT DID YOUR WIFE SAY? "Kate helped me out a lot. She got me in to get an x-ray right away and that was really nice of her to help me. She didn't really say much. She expects nothing less out of me I'm sure."
HOW WAS THE WEATHER CHANNEL LAST NIGHT? "We had fun at the Weather Channel. That was cool. We used my crutch to point to tropical disturbances on the big wall. Jim Cantore and those guys are really fun. I had a good time."
NO CONCERN GETTING OUT OF THE CAR REALLY FAST? "I can get in and out of the car really fast, I'll just be laying on the ground. I won't be standing up, but I can get out of the car well. I wasn't sure how that was gonna work, but getting in and out I realized I don't use my right foot for anything, so that's good."
ARE GUYS SETTING UP FOR SHORT RUNS MORE NOW WITH THESE DOUBLE-FILE RESTARTS? "We talked about that and there are races where that looks like the smart thing to do, but my hope is these double-file restarts will get calmed down and somehow people will get better at it and we won't have as many of them. But as it stands right now, it was just short runs and I really suffered because of that. We usually set up for the long run, but it just depends on the track."
SO YOU'RE CHANGING YOUR WAY OF THINKING? "We're not really changing anything yet. I'm still holding onto the idea we're gonna have longer runs."
WHY? "Because when you do, you don't want to have a bad car. That's not good. By definition, if you have a short run and have a car set up for a long run, you're only gonna suffer for a short amount of time. If you have a short run car and you go a couple long runs, you're gonna be in deep trouble."
IS THIS ABOUT MENTAL TOUGHNESS, TOO? "Mental toughness to me is a picture of Ricky Rudd with his eyelids taped open. This is nothing. I'm doing fine."
GLAD THERE'S NO ROAD COURSE? "I left-foot brake. I only use my right foot for the throttle, so it's not bad."
-credit: ford racing