Charlotte: Edwards, Roush - Ford interview

Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion, qualified 21st for tomorrow night's Coca-Cola 600. He, along with car owner Jack Roush, spoke about the increased number of pit stops expected and other issues prior to...

Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion, qualified 21st for tomorrow night's Coca-Cola 600. He, along with car owner Jack Roush, spoke about the increased number of pit stops expected and other issues prior to Saturday's practice.

JACK ROUSH, Car Owner -- No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion

WHAT DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE PROSPECTS OF THE PIT CREWS POSSIBLY DECIDING THE OUTCOME OF THE RACE BECAUSE THERE ARE GOING TO BE A LOT MORE STOPS? "I feel more pressure from a team operation point of view for fuel mileage and for good pit work than I have since the heydays of four, five, six years ago when you were able to stretch fuel stop and win a race at Talladega by not having to stop as many times as your contemporaries did, so I think the action is going to be on pit road. I think that past 400 miles there won't be very many cautions and the driver's ability to get on and off pit road without messing up and with good speed and the ability to get all the nuts on tight and be able to go a long distance on fuel relative to your peers is going to make a huge difference."

CARL EDWARDS -- No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion

IS THERE MORE PRESSURE ON A DRIVER? "I think Elliott Sadler and I were talking the other night and he said something like if it went green we would have to pit every 18 minutes to stop for fuel and have to make a green flag pit stop. To me, that excites me. I think it will be fun. It just adds another element. As a driver, green flag pit stops are wild because you go from running around and you're in your groove and everything to all of a sudden slamming down through the gears and trying not to wreck getting getting on pit road. There's just so much that can happen. I definitely think it's going to change the outcome of the race. I think you're going to see the race maybe decided more on pit road -- getting on and off -- than we've ever had if it does go green like Jack said. But I don't look at it as more pressure. I look at it as an opportunity to get ahead."

BUT WITH SO MANY PIT STOPS DO YOU HAVE CONCERN THAT IF GUYS START FALLING BEHIND THINGS COULD GET MORE HECTIC? "It could cause a lot of frustration. The worst thing would be to get caught speeding down pit road or something. I guess the more times down pit road the more opportunities you have for that to happen, but it's just cool to me. I don't know how it appears to everyone else, but as a driver, when you're making a green flag pit stop it just seems like the excitement of the whole thing builds and builds. There's so much happening and it's hard to keep track of where everybody is at and there are so many different ways it can pan out. I'm sure it makes the car owner real nervous, but for a driver it's kind of exciting. I don't know if it will mean that people will be under more stress or pressure, but it definitely won't be probably as normal of a race. I think there are gonna be a lot of things happening."


THERE WILL BE NO FORDS AT THE CAR OF TOMORROW TEST NEXT WEEK. IS THAT BY YOUR CHOICE? "I hope I'm OK to tell this story. I had conversation with Mike Helton and, of course, the car has morphed. Hopefully it's morphed into something that's going to work as well as it needs to and as well as they anticipate it will. But it's morphed from what it started nine months ago when we built our first car into what it is today, so we took stock of what the current configuration of the car is, which is not written in ink yet. It's still in number two lead pencil and the car we've got today is not representative of what we would need at Charlotte and based on the direction that they gave the day before yesterday is also not current, I don't think it's current with what they're planning on doing at the announcement the middle of the week. So I told Mike, 'If you want us to go out and generate turbulence for somebody else to run a car that's more representative, that's fine. To put a rear spoiler or front air dam on our car for Charlotte wouldn't make any sense because it's not what we would bring based on where it is relative to the morphing process that's going on.' So he and I agreed that we would stand down and take multiple cars to Michigan when that test comes up later in the summer, but I gave them the choice of bringing a car that really wouldn't be any good, except for making turbulent air, and they said no."

ARE YOU INSINUATING THAT NONE OF THE CARS THAT WILL TEST HERE WON'T BE CLOSE ENOUGH TO WHAT THE FINAL CONFIGURATION WILL BE? "I wasn't at the meeting last week. My understanding is that they determined that there's an aero imbalance in the car, that it's got more rear downforce than it needs and the next thing they're going to do is shorten the back end up five or six inches, and if that's true and what I was told is true, that is in fact a problem that they choose to address, well then I don't think there's a car out there that's shortened up. My point was that the cars that we've got doesn't have the front end exactly right and it doesn't have the back end exactly right, even to what the pre-shortened rear configuration was, and for us to go out and try to do front splitter development and rear wing development would be a waste of time because the environment of those systems would not be correct on the car. It's just a difficult thing for NASCAR. We're kind of between the chicken and the egg. Unless you've got a bunch of cars that are configured to a given standard of shape, how are you going to determine what they need for the next iteration? So it's morphing into something that I hope will do what we need for it to do, but it's definitely a work in progress."

HOW WOULD YOU FEEL IF NASCAR CHANGED THE MODEL OF CAR IN THE BUSCH SERIES AND RACED SOMETHING LIKE THE MUSTANG? "If they want to make the Busch Series stand alone and not have the kind of interplay that they've got between car systems and these teams that they have today and make it a totally distinct and unique set of hardware would, of course, be important to that and I for one would be happy to race Camaros and Mustangs. I'd be happy to race those cars in the Busch Series. It would be totally different if that's what they want. Now the number of tires we'd have to buy and the length of the race and the number of people on pit road would have to be considered with regard to how much money you could generate. One of the criticisms of today is that it's so much like the Cup Series, but there's also the economies of scale and if they make it a totally different car with an all-unique carburetor, well then some of the hand-me-down stuff we move around won't work anymore and the cost will go up. It isn't just as simple as deciding what you want the cars to look like, but Mustangs and Camaros would be fun."


"I'll race whatever they want. That's fine. My mom has a neat Mustang and I slide it around all over the place, so that would be great."

-ford racing-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Carl Edwards , Jack Roush , Mike Helton , Elliott Sadler