Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion, is 12th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings and still looking for his first win of the 2009 season. He spoke about his hopes for this weekend following practice on Friday at Lowe's...
Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion, is 12th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings and still looking for his first win of the 2009 season. He spoke about his hopes for this weekend following practice on Friday at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
HOW IS YOUR CAR? "Right now, I'm having a little trouble getting my car to go fast. I think the track has the potential to change quite a bit in the night time, so I'm not gonna worry about it too much. We're kind of just going over all the notes and making sure we don't panic here, but the best we could muster there was like a 16th or 17th-place fun, so, hopefully, we'll get it right for qualifying. In general, I just can't get the balance of the car like I want it in turns three and four. The track in the day time, it seems there's a lot of variation in that corner so we're working on it."
HOW DO YOU PREPARE FOR THIS RACE? "I have a great trainer in Dean Golich from Carmichael Training Systems and we work real hard to make sure that I don't get tired in these long races, but it's still grueling. I always tell everybody that this is the one when they yell, 'Coming to halfway,' that you just can't believe you've got another 300 miles to go. So it's a long race and it looks like it's gonna be pretty warm and if your car is not right, it'll be excruciating. If your car is right, it'll be fun."
DO YOU FEEL PEOPLE ARE LISTENING ABOUT WHAT YOU'VE BEEN SAYING ABOUT SAFETY AFTER TALLADEGA? "If you look around at what we've got here in this sport right now and all the safety advances, I think NASCAR has come a long way since I was sitting at home watching on television. But Talladega and wrecks like that, and Matt Kenseth's wreck the day before, I think it shows there are still things to do and I thought it was really cool of NASCAR to listen to me and Jack Roush and the other folks that spoke with him about that stuff. I have a feeling by the time we get back to Talladega there will be new things there that make it even safer, so that's good."
HOW HAS YOUR LIFE CHANGED SINCE THAT WRECK? "My life hasn't really changed since that wreck. We wreck all the time in NASCAR. There are always wrecks and I've had wrecks that were way worse than that one, for me, in the car. But I think that wreck did make me realize the responsibility we all have towards the fans, and I think NASCAR and everyone recognizes that now more than ever."
DO YOU FEEL AT ANY TRACK WHEN YOU'RE GOING THAT FAST AN ACCIDENT LIKE TALLADEGA CAN HAPPEN? "I don't know what can happen. All I can do is look back and say what has happened and I don't think we've had any sort of problems like we had at Talladega at any of the other tracks, other than Talladega and Daytona. I'm not certain, but it doesn't seem like that's a problem at other places."
DID YOU LIKE THE DOUBLE-FILE RESTARTS LAST WEEK? "I feel like the next evolution or the next thing in restarts is to get rid of the lapped cars on the inside. When I'm a lapped car I don't want to be down there. I don't want to be in the way. We've got the lucky dog rule. I think it would be cool for everyone involved if we started the whole field either in one single line or double-file like we did at the All-Star Race. I thought that was pretty fun."
TWO TIRES HAVE BEEN A BIG STRATEGY OF LATE. HOW MUCH ARE YOU PAYING ATTENTION TO THAT? "Goodyear has been doing an unreal job of making tires that hold up and you can take two tires. We watched too many times at Darlington and I didn't take advantage of it and get two tires, we kept getting four. We've been watching. There is some strategy right now with taking two tires."
IS ROUSH FENWAY DOWN A PIT FROM WHERE IT WAS A YEAR AGO? "Right now, Roush Fenway -- relative to the rest of the field -- we're not performing as well as we should be and we all know that. We've been working really hard and not just on the race track -- on pit road, us as drivers. We can all do better. We all know that and we're working hard. The good thing is that even though we aren't as great as we were at this point last season, we're still really competitive and we've just got a couple little things to fix. So we're not in panic mode, but we're definitely aware that we can be better."
HAVE YOU IDENTIFIED AREAS WHERE YOU'RE STRUGGLING? "There are a couple of things we need to do. We need to be just a little bit faster on the race track. That makes everything easier, and we need to be just a little bit better on pit road, and then as teammates we can always race better together and work better together. That's something we can do as drivers. It's so competitive right now that a couple hundredths of a second here or there makes all the difference in the world, so we're aware of that too. We're not scrambling and we're not changing our format, we're just gonna work smarter."
WHAT'S YOUR THEORY ON ALL OF THE PIT ROAD ISSUES WE'VE SEEN THIS YEAR? "I think they changed the stud length rule and that's caused some trouble with the guys who carry the tires, getting them put on and making sure all the lugnuts are in the right spot. And then for us, we've had some new guys working together and had a couple of injuries. I don't know. I've heard people telling me after the race that guys were driving through their pit stalls and I think it's just more competitive now than ever and pit road is a place where you can typically gain an advantage or lose, and it shows up now more than ever."
IS THERE A SENSE OF DESPERATION ON PIT ROAD NOW BECAUSE IT'S SO HARD TO PASS ON THE TRACK? "Right now, I'm looking at all these cars out here and they're all so close that, yeah, that could be a part of it. We all know when we come on pit road that if you lose four spots, you might never get those four spots back, so that's a lot of pressure on those guys and that's something we've been working really hard at is not putting anymore pressure on them because it's right there. I don't know what that's a function of exactly, but it's possible that's what's going on."
DO YOU EAT DURING THIS RACE? "I probably won't eat anything in the car. I used to carry like granola bars. They had a little thing for me and I quit eating in the car. Richard Petty told me that's a safety thing. You don't want to have food in your stomach in case you wreck, so I try not to eat anymore right before I get in the race car."
IS THERE CONCERN YOU COULD MISS THE CHASE BEING 12TH IN POINTS NOW? "Yes, there's a concern I'll miss the chase. It can happen. We've got to run well enough and keep that bad luck away from us, so that we can go into Richmond with a cushion because if you have one blown tire or an engine or whatever, you can't get those points back. Trust me, I know exactly where we are in points and I'm working hard to change it in a good way."
HAVE YOU EVER BROUGHT MORE CONFIDENCE INTO A SEASON THIS YEAR? "You can bring confidence and, yeah, I was really confident going into this year, but it really changes week to week. You can't build on anything you've done on this sport, really. You have to go prove yourself every week and every lap, really. Let's say we go out here and dominate this Coke 600 on Sunday. That means nothing for Dover. You've got to do it every week and that's what's amazing about some of these guys when they're running well week-in and week-out like Mark Martin. It's like a whole different set of problems every week."
ANY CONCERN THAT CLARITIN HAS BEEN BROUGHT UP IN THIS JEREMY MAYFIELD ISSUE? "I'm proud to represent Claritin and Claritin works for me. As far as the way the brand perceives anything that's been said in the media, you have to ask them about it."
HAVE YOU GUYS HAD ANY DISCUSSION ABOUT IT? "You'll just have to ask them."
WHY DON'T YOU THINK YOU'VE BEEN AS STRONG HERE AT CHARLOTTE AS YOU HAVE BEEN AT ATLANTA AND TEXAS? "I don't think we've had the results at Charlotte, but we've been really strong. If you look at the fall race here, we were screaming fast and I just had that ignition problem. I felt like we had the car to beat. It was faster than any of the other cars. We've run well in the 600, but we haven't gotten the multiple wins like we've got on some of the tracks that look a lot like this. I don't know what it is. If you figure it out, let me know."
-credit: ford racing