CONCORD, N.C. (October 13, 2004) -- Up and comer Carl Edwards is just eight races into his NEXTEL Cup career and with three top-10 finishes, he looks to be well on his way to a successful career. So what are his thoughts now that he's completed...
CONCORD, N.C. (October 13, 2004) -- Up and comer Carl Edwards is just eight races into his NEXTEL Cup career and with three top-10 finishes, he looks to be well on his way to a successful career. So what are his thoughts now that he's completed more than 2,000 race laps with the some of the world's finest drivers? Here's what he had to say about the NEXTEL Cup Series, competition, traveling and the possibility of winning a championship in the No. 99 Superchips F-150.
You're eight races into your NEXTEL Cup career, how are you feeling about everything?
I'm having a lot of fun. It's an amazing experience and a wonderful opportunity. I can't thank Jack Roush and everybody enough for having enough faith in me and sticking me in this car and giving me the chance to learn in the NEXTEL Cup Series. I've got a great crew and I really enjoy working with them. It's been more fun than I thought it would be and less stressful. I truly enjoy going to the races every weekend and I think that has a lot to do with the guys Jack has surrounded me with. I've been excited to go to every track we go to. We've been able to test a lot and that's helped. The biggest thing is to just get more experience, race more, learn more and I think we're going to get better and better every week.
How is your relationship with crew chief Bob Osborne and the No. 99 Cup team? Are you all starting to understand each other a bit more?
I really like Bob Osborne. He's a really interesting guy. We have a lot of fun. He's extremely intelligent. We come from really different backgrounds so I think we compliment one another. I don't think Bob has ever been to a dirt race. He comes from an engineering position on a NEXTEL Cup Series team and I come from Central Missouri short-track racing so it's kind of neat to see what ideas he has and how he approaches things. As far as the crew, they are a great bunch of guys. It's just hilarious to hang out with them. They have a good time all the time and that makes it a lot more fun plus they work really hard and do a good job of preparing the cars and making sure everything is exactly how I need it. I'd say they treat me way better than I deserve to be treated and that's pretty neat.
How has it been having four other teammates to call on for help, guidance, advice, etc.?
It helps a lot. It helps mostly when we go testing. When we go testing I can use their information and their data that they found and that helps a lot. We went testing at Kansas a few weeks ago and it was so neat to be sharing a garage stall with Kurt Busch and Matt Kenseth. They are so good at what they do and they have so much experience, it's just invaluable to be able to go over and look at their data and see where they are lifting off the gas and how they are turning through the corners and then to speak with them about what they are doing to go fast. Without those teammates we wouldn't be doing as well as we are doing right now. I'm leaning on them a lot at this point and I appreciate that.
What's been the most difficult part of the transition from truck to Cup for you?
I'd have to say the level of competition is the hardest thing. In the truck if you make a mistake or have an off day you might loose a couple spots. In the Cup car if you make any mistakes or are just a little bit off it's really easy to loose 10 or 15 spots and they are very, very hard to gain back. It's just a lot more competitive and a lot more intense.
You're still racing a full truck schedule and you are currently in contention for a truck championship in the Superchips F-150. How is that going and how are you balancing both teams?
I think it's going great. I think running the Cup car helps me a lot with the truck. I get in the truck now and I have a total different outlook. The races seem really short to me now and I feel like I'm more focused in practice and I can get the truck handling better. I feel like I'm more precise with my feedback and as a driver I feel like I do a better job with not making mistakes. I feel like the Cup program has helped me a lot with my truck championship chase. On the other side of it, we've been doing two races in one weekend, we've done two of those so far and this weekend we're doing another one. That's kind of amazing when you think about it. I think it's a great opportunity for me and it means a lot that they (Roush Racing) are going to all the effort to allow me to race in both series. If anything, running two races in two days and even this weekend running two races in one day, it's helping to toughen me up a bit so when I run one race it seems really, really easy. It's a pretty neat experience and I'm glad I'm getting it.
You've completed two of three extreme double duty weekends flying back and forth across the country. How has that experience been for you and what are some of the obstacles you've had to overcome to be able to do this?
The biggest obstacle is having the airplanes to go back and forth and having two good teams that don't require me to be there all the time and Jack has taken care of all that. They couldn't have made it any easier for me. With that being said it's really just a lot of fun. It's really neat to get out of qualifying a Cup car then fly across the country to show up and have my Superchips truck sitting there ready to go. Everything's tuned in, it's like I've been there all weekend and we get in it and go fast then we come back to race the Cup car and it's the same thing. So far it's gone off without a hitch and hopefully it goes that way this weekend. Like I said before it just says a lot about the people on each team and how good they are at their jobs.
Over the past two months what has been your most memorable experience?
I'd have to say Bristol is my most memorable experience so far. I think I learned a lot about myself as a driver there. It was my first short-track race in the Cup car and I was very nervous and I really didn't know what to expect. During that long green flag run we had a very fast car and I was running right there with Jimmie Johnson who I think was running second or third at the time. I followed him for about 200 laps straight. That did a lot for my confidence; I'll never forget how I felt at that point making green flag pit stops. That's the first time I really felt like I was part of the series, I felt like I belonged there, like I was earning my spot there.
Do you have a favorite track of the eight you've raced at in the Cup car? Which track are you looking forward to racing at most in the upcoming six races?
I'd have to say my favorite track so far was California. I had a lot of fun there. I liked how slick it was when the sun was out. That was the most fun I've ever had in a racecar. I'm looking forward to Darlington the most. That to me is just the neatest track in the world. I don't know that I'll run well there but its fun. I mean I plan on running well there, I just had so much fun last year at Darlington in the Superchips truck, it was awesome.
What has been the most valuable piece of advice anyone has given you over the last eight weeks?
I'd have to say Mark Martin gave me the most valuable piece of advice and it would have been Friday this last week after I crashed our primary car at Kansas. Mark's been through a lot and he's had really great years and bad years and he's been the same driver the whole time and that's essentially what he told me. There are times when the car just will not do what you want it to do and those are the times when you need to come in and work on it and not try to make it do things it won't do and put it in the fence. It's hard to have that kind of calm confidence all the time especially when things aren't going well and I'm trying to prove myself. It's really nice of Mark to take the time to look at my situation and explain how he has dealt with that situation in the past. That was valuable.
Roush Racing is a subsidiary of Livonia, Mich., based Roush Industries that operates nine motorsports teams; five in NASCAR Nextel Cup with drivers Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards; two in the Busch Series with Martin, Kenseth and Biffle, and two in the Craftsman Truck Series with drivers Jon Wood and Edwards.