Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Scotts Taurus, has a streak of three straight top-10 finishes going into Saturday night's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race and is currently sixth in the point standings. Edwards, who trails leader Tony ...
Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Scotts Taurus, has a streak of three straight top-10 finishes going into Saturday night's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race and is currently sixth in the point standings. Edwards, who trails leader Tony Stewart by 95 points, held a Q&A session before qualifying.
CARL EDWARDS - No. 99 Scotts Taurus
YOU'RE SIXTH IN POINTS. HOW DID YOU GET THERE? "I remember Steve Myers you're talking about. He's a cool guy. They make this computer game I play and I saw him wearing a t-shirt down by the pool and I was like, 'Hey, do you guys work for that company?' He said he was scared, but it's amazing. I remember that weekend very vividly. I don't know. I'm just very fortunate. I've teamed up with Jack Roush and I couldn't be with a more dominant team than I am right now. I've had great crew chiefs. Doug Richert was my first crew chief when I came down here and I think I learned a lot of good things from him. Kevin Starland was awesome as well and now I've got Bob Osborne, who I think is the best crew chief in NASCAR. I just feel like I've really been in the right place at the right time. Other than that, as a competitor I try not to settle for anything less than perfection even though we don't achieve it most of the time. I'm just very lucky to be a part of the team I'm part of."
DO YOU FEEL YOU'VE GAINED RESPECT FROM YOUR COMPETITORS AND YOU'RE NOT A ROOKIE ANYMORE? "I don't know. You'd have to ask my fellow competitors about that. It is a little odd that we were able to run for rookie of the year in the Busch Series and not the Cup Series, but that's the way the rules are written. Brad Parrott, if you'd have seen him when they told him we were gonna be able to run for rookie of the year how excited he was, you wouldn't have believed it because that meant we got more tests and things like that which have been helpful. I think Daytona was my second race in a Busch car - the Daytona race this year. As far as the rookie stripe, I still feel like I'm learning every week. I still make mistakes that sometimes rub guys the wrong way and I'm getting to learn how to race these cars a little bit better every week, but I think by the end of the year I'll be ready to take it off."
SOME THINK YOU MIGHT BE JUST HAPPY TO BE IN THE CHASE, BUT IS WINNING THIS TITLE A REAL POSSIBILITY IN YOUR FIRST YEAR? "First of all, I am really just happy to be in the chase. That was a huge weight off my shoulders, but you hit it on the head. I've actually had people comment to me, they misunderstand the joy that I get out of racing. They misinterpret that and they think that I might not be as competitive as I could be. All you have to do is ask the people that are close to me how competitive I am. I do enjoy this. It's a wonderful opportunity to get to go race these cars, but we are focusing on winning this Nextel Cup Series championship. It would be the greatest thing in the world. I feel like we almost can't lose because nobody expected us to be in this position, but as cool as it is to be in the chase and as awesome as it has been to win two races, to win the championship would just be such an unbelievable accomplishment that how could you not go out there and chase it and fight for it, so that's what we're doing."
WHAT IS YOUR THOUGHT ON GIVING A TEAMMATE THE CHANCE TO LEAD A LAP? "Honestly, I don't know what the best case is. Mark and I spoke about it a little bit. Greg and I talked about it. I haven't spoken with Matt or Kurt. I definitely wouldn't give anyone else other than my teammates five points, and I have a feeling that if we are in fact in a position to win this championship at the end of the year, we're gonna be racing one of our teammates so the competitor in me says there is no way I would give anybody five points. On the other side of that, we do have five Roush cars in the top 10 and there may be a little bit of a middle ground where maybe we could try to help one another as much as we could up until three races to go or up until we see who is actually in a position to win the championship. Or we could just decide not to help one another. I haven't decided yet. What I'm gonna try to do is make my decision on how I'm gonna race my teammates and whether we're gonna give up five points, I'm gonna try to do that before the race starts this weekend so we can just get on with it. Those are really hard decisions to make on the race track.
"It's better to get that aired out before you go racing. As far as I'm concerned, if all four of my teammates say, 'Carl, we're not giving you any points.' That's fine with me, I'll just reciprocate. I just haven't made a decision yet and that's something I've been thinking a lot about this week."
POLE SPEED MIGHT BE 194 MPH TONIGHT. IS THAT TOO FAST? "The track is very fast. I was really nervous coming here because of everything I heard. I hadn't tested here. I didn't even come watch the testing. It is extremely fast. Casey Mears and I were talking about it the other day. He said, 'You know what, it doesn't matter to me how fast it is. We're here to race fast cars and if you don't want to race fast cars, don't race them.' And, in a way, I really kind of agree with that. It is fast, but we do our best. We've got SAFER barriers. I don't know what you can do other than make the cars slower. I don't know how you could make it slower. I don't know what the answer to that is, but, to me personally, I feel like it's extremely fast but I'm having fun with it. Until I hit something, like you say, I'll enjoy it. It's a tough call because as soon as you say that somebody goes and gets hurt, so I don't know what the answer to that is. But it is extremely fast. In the Busch car it was the first time I noticed I didn't have a right side net thing to hold my headrest. I said, 'Boy, my headrest looks awfully fragile today."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE CNN SPECIAL COMING UP? HOW DID YOU DISPELL THE MYTH OF DRIVERS NOT BEING ATHLETES? WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON PERFORMANCE ENHANCING DRUGS? "You're speaking about the CNN special that's gonna air Sunday night with Dr. Sonjay Gupta. We had a good time with that and, essentially, I've seen it and it's great. It's really interesting and it tells both sides of it. You've got guys like Mark Martin or even like myself - we try real hard to be as fit as we can, and you've got guys like Tony Stewart who admittedly exercises by changing the channels on his TV. Mark and Tony are both fast. They go about it different ways. I do believe for myself personally, I work out because I feel like it gives me an advantage sometimes. I feel like it's worth doing. It benefits racing and it benefits me in everyday life. As far as race car drivers not being athletes, some of the toughest people I know are race car drivers. It was an eye-opening experience for me the first time I drove a Craftsman Truck to realize how hot it was and just how draining the race was. I thought my truck was the only one that was that hot. Once I realized that's how it was gonna be, I knew I was gonna be in for a lot of work. Definitely it is a grueling sport sometimes. It's not always a grueling sport. As far as performance enhancing drugs, I don't know a lot about them but I don't see and kind of feel like most of them are geared - from what I understand - they gain in muscle mass and I don't know that that would inherently make you a better race car driver, having more muscle mass. I don't think there's anything, unless there's something that can make your neurons or something fire better in your brain, I don't know that there's a drug that would help you in a race car, really. I don't know."
WHAT ABOUT BEING ABLE TO FOCUS? "For me personally I've been told that if I were to take something like Ridelin or something like that I would be a little focused more, but I don't know. I've never experimented with any of that. I don't know. It's a good question. I guess if you could go search something out like that and experiment with it and use it to your advantage that would be better, but I've never heard of anything like that."
IS THERE ANY MYTH OUT THERE YOU'D LIKE TO DISPELL ABOUT YOURSELF? "That's a great question. I really appreciate the opportunity to respond to that. I wish there was something that ticked me off that I read about, but there's nothing. All of you guys have been awesome. I know after one of my wins I thanked you guys. All of you have done an awesome job of just relaying exactly what's going on. There really hasn't been anything. From the very beginning what I try to do is when somebody asks me a question try to tell them how I feel about it. Sometimes I sugarcoat it just a little too much, but, really, no. I think you guys have done an awesome job. You've got me pretty much pegged. This is what I am."
ANY THOUGHTS ON THE TRACK TODAY COMPARED TO MAY? "I was surprised and pleasantly surprised. I think the track is really awesome right now and I say that because in May it seemed like there were spots on the race track that might have been real fast and some that didn't have a lot of grip. Right now the whole thing is fast. You can drive in the corner and screw up and slide eight feet up the race track and run the same lap time because it has the grip up there just like it does on the bottom. It's mostly in one and two, but the sun is beating on three and four right now, so I can't quite get a bearing on three and four just yet. But it seems like even though the track is faster it's easier for me to keep control of the race car at the speeds just because it's a more uniform surface. So, in that respect, they did an awesome job changing it. I was really nervous about it though, seriously."
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