Continued from part 1 JACK ROUSH, Car Owner -- No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion: "I'm just thrilled to be here with Carl and Bob. Last year I made some changes in the team and I though it would be OK and I kind of screwed them up. Anyway,...
Continued from part 1
JACK ROUSH, Car Owner -- No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion:
"I'm just thrilled to be here with Carl and Bob. Last year I made some changes in the team and I though it would be OK and I kind of screwed them up. Anyway, we've got that straightened out now. We started off the year and I really thought that we were used to going to a new race track -- we went to Texas and won the first time, we went to Las Vegas and ran really well or won the first time. I've looked forward to changes. I think that my group responds to them faster than most of their contemporaries, but we started with what we thought was a level playing field and we figured out, we went to the first Richmond and Phoenix that, man, we didn't understand near enough about this car of tomorrow to be able to race the thing. We didn't have the shocks right, we didn't have the bump stops right, we didn't understand what the attitude needed to be on the race track. We couldn't keep the splitter off the ground, but we've been testing the car and the guys have worked real hard. Ford Motor Company got behind us and helped us with some of the challenges we had. We've got enough equipment in the shop now to do what we need and I think we do have a realistic chance of peaking. If we can win the championship, it would be wonderful, but with what's going to happen and what we're going to learn in the next 10 races is really going to give us a good shot at starting off next year. I was concerned tonight that Carl had taken the lead too early, that we had opened ourselves up to somebody else stopping for tires. The tires dropped off about a half-a-second in 50 laps and then the second 50 laps they would drop off another three-tenths of a second or so, so I wasn't certain that somebody couldn't stop with 70 laps to go. Kyle Busch really gave me heartburn as I saw him stop for tires. If he would have been as good as Carl, if Carl would have been where he was, I think Carl would have driven to the front and given whoever was up there a lot of trouble, but Carl and Bob and the team had a great car tonight. I was proud to be on their pit box and watch them celebrate the win."
WHO HAS MOMENTUM AND IS IT A BIG DEAL?
CARL EDWARDS: "I don't know about the momentum thing. I don't really believe in that. I feel like you go to every race and usually you start with a fresh car and fresh outlook. I guess I don't believe in it when we're running bad and when we're running great, it's like it's the greatest thing in the world. You feel like you have a little momentum, but I guess I've been here just long enough to be able to see that momentum stop and start pretty quickly and kind of go to the wayside. I think there is a lot to say about confidence. I feel like if you're confident and the pit crew is confident, people can relax and do their jobs the way they know how. I think there's a lot to that."
TWO GUYS LED ALL BUT 13 LAPS AND EVERYONE WAS HAPPY WITH THE RACING. IS THIS THE RACE YOU WANTED TO WIN OR IS IT A DIFFERENT RACE?
CARL EDWARDS: "I know what you're saying. Before you had a track where you could have had the fastest car and be running 25th and it was hard to get to the front. Now you have a track, where if you have a really fast car, you can kind of pass people and move around and get to the front. So I think that's why you saw guys like Kasey and our car and Dale Jr., everybody just kind of got to where they belonged by lap 250 or 300. When I say where they belonged, they stacked up relative to how fast they were. I don't know what it looked like, but from where I was sitting there's a lot of things going on around this race track in 16 seconds. The things that go on in the race car and the input you have to put in and the feeling you have to have and the way the car moves around, that makes it gratifying. I guess to clarify, the reason this race track I think is so special and the reason people like it is because it really does take a lot to get around here fast and to hold on for 500 laps. I think what you saw tonight is only the beginning based on what Goodyear said. I'll reiterate that. When they bring out a more aggressive tire, you will see guys coming from the back and I think you'll see it shook up a little bit more than you did tonight."
DO YOU THINK IF THE TIRES WERE SOFTER IT WOULD HAVE MADE THINGS EVEN BETTER?
CARL EDWARDS: "It wouldn't have made it better for us tonight. Like what Jack said, Kyle Busch would have been able to come up there, I think, quicker if our tires fell off a little more. That's what I'm trying to say. I think it could have turned into a spectacular race, instead of where two guys led 490 laps. I think you would have seen more coming and going with tires."
BOB OSBORNE: "I think with a more aggressive tire package, depending on how aggressive they get, at 70 laps the whole field would have pitted. Maybe at 40 laps the entire field would have pitted and put tires on. You wouldn't have had the situation where the lead let Carl stay out with 100 laps to go. That just won't happen, so you'll have more action on pit road, more pit stops, more opportunities for the crews to work and more competitive racing in the end because of that, I believe."
ARE YOU HANDICAPPED GOING INTO THE CHASE?
JACK ROUSH: "No, I don't think we're handicapped. We're gonna go testing next week. I'm sure we'll test every week between now and at least halfway through the chase, and depending on what ideas the guys come up with, and they're full of ideas right now for the tracks that we're heading into, I think we're gonna have the opportunity to look at the things that occur to us at the last possible moment. We've got a good baseline for the car now. I think we're going to have a good car of today for the car of today races. It's been no secret that we've struggled with the car of tomorrow on the flat tracks and we're gonna try to work that out in the next couple of weeks. I feel that we've got as many strengths as anybody and I wouldn't trade Carl's prospects for winning a championship for anybody in the chase. I'm excited that we got 10 bonus points for the win and the prospect of having that not as a disadvantage and not having won a couple of races going in. I think it's great."
WHAT ABOUT MATT?
JACK ROUSH: "I put Matt right alongside David Pearson. You don't know what Matt's going to do until he does it. It's hard to tell what his car can do until he shows you in the middle of a race. Carl has matured in the last year just dramatically. He was taking the measure of the race track as seen by me tonight, and protecting himself for a late race caution. I don't think he would have done that a year ago, but Matt is a very calculating person. He and Robbie Reiser have got a lot of experience and they'll be real tough, but I would put Matt and Carl as bookends. Depending on what works out in their car to be the best for a given race, one will have a little better prospect than the other, but neither one of them will miss an opportunity."
DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE TWO SOLID CHANCES TO WIN THE TITLE? THE TITLE?
JACK ROUSH: "That's the thing of editorials and I'm not a writer, but I couldn't be happier. I would be happier if we had Greg in there beside them and Jamie and, of course, David Ragan, but given the fact that we've got two of our five teams in, I
"That's the thing of editorials and I'm not a writer, but I couldn't be happier. I would be happier if we had Greg in there beside them and Jamie and, of course, David Ragan, but given the fact that we've got two of our five teams in, I couldn't be happier with our prospects and I think a year from now there will be a different tire, there will be a whole number of different circumstances, but the stars are lined up for us pretty good right now. I'm happy to let the issue play out as it will."
HOW IS YOUR HAND?
CARL EDWARDS: "I can't wait to get this thing off. It's good. The hardest part about tonight was the high fives down on the front straightaway, but my hand is good. It's really minor. Like Jack said when I first did it. I told him, 'I think it's gonna be alright.' He was like, 'Damn straight it's gonna be alright.' I was like, 'OK'. He says, 'It'll be fine.'"
JACK ROUSH: "He told me something like, 'I think I can do this.' I said, 'I know you can do this.' Playing with pain was not my problem."
CARL EDWARDS: "He said, 'As long as it only causes pain and suffering, we'll be fine.' It's good. It's no big deal."
-credit: ford racing