Atlanta II: Winning team press conference, part 1

Pep Boys Auto 500 Post-Race Transcript An interview with: CARL EDWARDS BOB OSBORNE JACK ROUSH KERRY THARP: Carl Edwards wins the 2008 Pep Boys Auto 500 here at Atlanta Motor Speedway, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford, with crew chief...

Pep Boys Auto 500 Post-Race Transcript

An interview with:
CARL EDWARDS
BOB OSBORNE
JACK ROUSH

KERRY THARP: Carl Edwards wins the 2008 Pep Boys Auto 500 here at Atlanta Motor Speedway, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford, with crew chief Bob Osborne and team owner Jack Roush. Carl, your thoughts about the race out there today. Obviously you knew you had a good car coming in. You really handled that racetrack extremely well.

CARL EDWARDS: Man, it was a lot of fun. This racetrack is a blast. I hope they never repave it, mess with it. It's really fun to drive on. You can spin the tires halfway down each straightaway. Made it driving like on a dry slick dirt track. It was a lot of fun. Bob did a great job.

Middle of the race we weren't as fast as we were at the beginning and the end, which I guess if you got to pick a spot in the race not to be fast, that would be it. Bob did a great job at the end. It all worked out. Just awesome. It's been a great couple days for me. I can't thank Jack enough for the opportunity. This is amazing.

KERRY THARP: Bob, your thoughts about some of the calls you had to make out on the pit box tonight.

BOB OSBORNE: We got behind relative to the racetrack and relative to some of the competitors. I think some of that had to do with some of the calls I made went a little bit too far on some of my adjustments, had to back pedal a little bit, go in a different direction late in the race to try to get caught back up.

KERRY THARP: Jack, your thoughts about the performance of the 99 team here today.

JACK ROUSH: They did really, really, really well obviously. To watch Bob and Carl work the car, work the racetrack, work the race, and a 500 mile race is an amazing thing to watch unfold. They've got the chemistry you need to have between a driver and a crew chief to be able to sort all those things out. They worked their way through it.

I knew that Bob was good, that the car was good early on. I knew they had lost their way or the competitors had gotten better in the middle. I was really, really relieved at the end when they made their last adjustment or Bob made his last adjustment and he got it where it needed to be.

The one thing I wanted to say is that days like this, for teams like ours that have the success we've had, we want to go back and think about 2008, think about our championship run, what it meant. Unfortunately I'm afraid it will come down to thinking about the broken engine parts, the ignition and the other frustrations we've had.

But it would be my suggestion as NASCAR looks at how to make this thing more exciting, if we had an opportunity, every team had an opportunity, to throw out one race and be able to just count nine of the 10, that means you could have a Mulligan and you could be able to come back from it.

Anyway, we're going to remember this night. It was a wonderful evening to be in Atlanta here. We had soldiers from the 75th regiment, third brigade, Army Rangers, that came back from Iraq. One of their soldiers Patrick Rudd died over

there. He was a friend of a friend. The racetrack extended an invitation to 200 of the soldiers to come out and join us today. It was a wonderful thing the racetrack did.

Anyway, I'm dedicating my part of the victory to Sergeant Patrick Rudd that lost his life in Iraq. He and his regiment of Rangers are one of the reasons we can have events like this with relative safety with all of the other things going on in the world.

KERRY THARP: We'll take questions for the winning team.

Q: Carl, you began the race with Jimmie Johnson. Apparently much to your surprise you ended it with him behind you. Did you lose track of him in between? Did you have any idea where he was?

CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, I looked up there on the scoreboard, saw he was running seventh, eighth, ninth, somewhere in there most of the second half of the race. When Dave said, What do you think about Jimmie finishing second, I thought he was joking. I truly didn't know until I looked at the scoreboard that Jimmie had made that back up. I got to see some video. They put on some tires and went for it. That's pretty amazing.

He's a heck of a competitor, just like I've said before. He's the first guy to come and congratulate when you win, in a way that just makes him harder to beat. He's just one of those guys that does it right.

We've got to hope that he has something happen like the things that we've had happen, lose a couple hundred points, and we just have to be able to capitalize because I believe that the way they're running, it's going to be really tough to beat them.

We can do it. I mean, we just have to go win. If we do everything we can, that's all we can do.

Q: Carl, you took the lead 10 laps or so before the final. How difficult was it for you to stay patient? You said in the middle of the race you didn't have the speed like in the beginning. Was there maybe a moment when you were under panic?

CARL EDWARDS: No, I didn't panic or anything. Definitely got a little frustrated there in the middle of the race.

Like Bob said, we kind of adjusted ourselves away from being as fast as we were at the beginning. But, you know, you just got to keep working, you know, keep digging, never give up. That applies to every part of our race team. We try to always focus on what we have to do no matter what the circumstance. It worked out today. But definitely in the middle of the race

I didn't believe we were going to win the thing.

The pass for the lead there, that was on the restart. All day everybody had been having trouble spinning the tires. Denny spun his tires a little bit. I spun mine. Then he spun them some more. I got to his bumper. All I could think about was the guys passing all of us. I pushed on his rear bumper a little bit. Then he went to block the inside and spun the tires again, I guess, or something. I think that was a smart move on his part to go to the inside. That's where I was planning on going. That opened the door to the top. I thought, Well, I'll try it. But I was really nervous the guys behind me were going to get to the bottom and get by us. But it worked out. The last adjustment Bob made made the car real fast on the top.

Q: Carl, when you got the lead and pulled away, obviously the clean air was the deal all day.

CARL EDWARDS: Yeah.

Q: But you managed to get the lead. When you got up there, did you think, Now it's up to me not to make the same kind of mistake Denny made?

CARL EDWARDS: Oh, yeah. Bob came on the radio, on that last restart, he said, I think I saw what just happened with you and Denny. He said something like, Be careful, it's your turn now (laughter). I thought, Man, you know, it's so hard on those restarts. It's really difficult. You get put in the lead there, and a lot of times you're a sitting duck because all the hair on the back of your neck's standing up and everything in your brain is screaming stand on the gas, stand on the gas. It's really difficult not to spin the tires. Early in the race I did it a couple times real bad.

So, yeah, that was interesting.  But once we got the lead, yeah, it was just
don't mess up, you know, focus, hit your marks.  The car was really fast.

Q: What was going through your mind on that pit stop when you collided with the 88?

CARL EDWARDS: First of all, I didn't know until somebody told me. I thought I hit the 2 car. There's so much going on there. I didn't know exactly what happened. Bob cleared me one out. I was stuck behind Jimmie a little bit. I got around Jimmie and the rear end slid out an extra foot or whatever. I hit somebody's car there. I guess it was Dale.

I don't know if they were two or three wide or what was going on there, but there just wasn't a lot of room. I tried to keep it as tight as I could. You know, I've seen a lot of good races go bad on pit road, and that made me a little bit nervous when we got into them, those guys there. It just looked like a mess. I haven't seen a replay yet. Felt like a mess.

Q: Carl, can you tell us about the good luck necklace that you got from the kid at the Children's Hospital.

CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, it was really cool. I still got it on, this necklace here. Dalton, really cool kid. We went to the Aflac Cancer Center at the Children's Hospital in downtown Atlanta. I mean, I'm sure, as everybody knows, there's a lot of people that give a lot in this sport. I didn't realize how much Aflac does for all these kids. They don't turn one kid away. They treat everyone regardless of whether they can pay or not. They treat a lot of children. And they cure 70% of the kids that come in there with cancer so they can go on and live regular lives and succeed at whatever they want to do.

Dalton was really cool. We went to the hospital, David Gilliland and myself. We had a really good time. At the end, Dalton said, Hey, I got this courage necklace. I get beads every time I come to the hospital and visit or do something or surgery or something like that. He said, I want you to wear it. I think it will be good luck on Sunday. He definitely said he wants it back after this race, which is too bad, because I think it worked.

Q: Bob, I don't want to put you on the spot. Did you not have it in your heart to tell Carl that Jimmie was second?

BOB OSBORNE: Honestly I didn't realize he was second either until I got to Victory Circle. I figured the 11 had finished second. I did see he got to third, but I didn't realize he made it to second till I was walking back there.

Q: Bob, is it an easy for Chad and Jimmie to take four tires there when they're running eighth with 10, 11 laps to go? Does that decision change or is it made easier knowing they had a 150 point cushion on you guys and can take a chance for a few spots?

BOB OSBORNE: For sure, the point cushion allows them to do some things that ordinarily we wouldn't do as crew chiefs. But they really didn't have anything to lose. If no one came in front of 'em, they were the first ones to come, they had a pretty good feeling that some of the cars behind 'em would come, too. But with a single file restart, four tires go a long way obviously.

Q: Carl, you have seven wins. Obviously a great season. If you don't win the championship, will you still be pleased with this season or will you be really disappointed that you didn't get everything you wanted?

CARL EDWARDS: I mean, here's the deal. We go out and do the best we can. If we win 10 races and the championship, that's going to be a spectacular season. That's what we're focusing on doing right now.

I don't know. We'll just have to see what happens. But one thing I've learned in this sport, it's really hard to come to grips with, you don't always get the result you want. You just have to perform the best you can. If you do that, the result doesn't matter. You can lay your head down at night and feel okay. I guess we'll see after Homestead. I hope that's not what happens.

Continued in part 2

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jimmie Johnson , Carl Edwards , David Gilliland , Jack Roush