Chicagoland: Edwards - Thursday media visit

Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion, spoke to reporters following practice for Saturday's 400 and addressed a variety of issues. HOW HAS THE NIGHT RACE HERE CHANGED THINGS? "The track changes a little...

Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion, spoke to reporters following practice for Saturday's 400 and addressed a variety of issues.

HOW HAS THE NIGHT RACE HERE CHANGED THINGS? "The track changes a little bit with the night race, but not a ton. This place is fun. It's got some character. It's got some bumps and different grooves, and I really enjoyed the race last year. We made it all the way to the lead and had a little bit of mechanical trouble, but it should be good and it's good for the fans, too. I like these night races."

THE TRACK HAS WEATHERED OVER THE YEARS. "Yeah, the older the asphalt gets the better it gets at all these places. The only bad thing about the night race is just waiting all day for it to start. Other than that, they're great."

A LOT OF FRIENDS AND FAMILY COMING UP? "Yeah, we've got a lot of folks coming and that's gonna be cool. This place, I've got some friends over in Iowa and some friends from Missouri and some friends in Champagne that come up here every once in a while. It's pretty cool."

WHAT OUTSIDE INVESTMENT AND BUSINESSES ARE YOU ASSOCIATED WITH? "Someone once told me it's the three g's -- guns, ground and gold and those are the best investments. I don't have any gold, but I've got some farm land and that's been a lot of fun. Missouri is a beautiful place and I don't know how many acres total I've got, but I've got a few places that add up to quite a bit, and Back 40 Records has been a lot of fun, and somehow I keep acquiring airplanes, but those just use money. They don't make any money. I'm just trying to save all I can and still have a little bit of fun."

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN BACK 40 RECORDS? "The music that we've done so far with Back 40 Records has just come from the folks that we started the label with -- the artists. That's the music that they were into, that's what they love, and it's not a hip-hop label or a country label -- it's whatever we can create that people enjoy that's what we've been doing."

PEOPLE ARE COMPARING LAST WEEK'S WRECK TO YOURS AT TALLADEGA. IS THAT FAIR? "Yeah. From what I could see of the replays I think it was almost an identical situation. In my wreck I barely started to block. Brad really held his ground. I think the Daytona wreck Kyle blocked a little more, but it happened so quickly that you can't really tell. The scary part, when I saw the replays, is all the people standing against the fence at Daytona. If they would have been standing against the fence like that at Talladega, it would have been really bad. I guess we are gonna keep racing like that. I guess that's how it's gonna be, so the only thing I hope happens is they get those fans away from the fence because nobody in this garage wants any part of something bad like that happening."

ARE GUYS GOING TO TAKE MORE CHANCES NOW THAT WE HAVE SOME HISTORY BUILT UP WITH THESE KIND OF FINISHES? "I don't think anyone is gonna take any more chances, but it looks like you don't want to be leading coming to the line at these races. If you look at a year ago at Daytona, Kyle and I were side-by-side, neck-and-neck and we had a caution, so it stopped everything before we got to the finish line, but those races really crescendo. You can feel it. Your heart is pounding and you're coming to the start-finish line, and I guess it is what it is. As long as we're gonna race there, those are finishes we're gonna have, but I firmly, firmly believe that NASCAR and the tracks need to make sure they keep those fans away from the fence."

SHOULD THEY GET RID OF THE YELLOW LINE RULE ON THE FINAL LAP? "The yellow line wouldn't have made any difference there at Daytona. You've got to have a line somewhere because you don't want people in the grass, but it's not the yellow line rule. It's the track. We're racing 190 miles an hour on tracks that we could be racing 210 or 220 miles an hour on. Until you make the Goodyear tires give up a little more than they did at Daytona, where you have to lift off the throttle, or you knock the banking down, you're gonna have finishes like that. You're gonna have wrecks."

WE SAW SOME PASSING HERE AFTER THE FINAL PIT STOP LAST YEAR. WILL WE SEE THAT AGAIN SATURDAY? "You never know, but this place does give some great racing. It's a lot like an Atlanta or Texas. It's got multiple grooves. The asphalt is getting a little bit old and that lends itself to really good races and, hopefully, a good finish. I didn't pay close attention to what happened last year here, but one of the guys was just talking about it how Kyle got by Jimmie. I don't remember how it happened, but I guess it was a pretty good race."

IF NASCAR WERE TO STEP IN AND START JUDGING BLOCKING AND OFFICIATING THAT MORE, HOW WOULD YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT? "I think it's a bad position for NASCAR to have to be in to make those kind of judgment calls. NASCAR has done a really good job of trying to make as few judgment calls as they can. I think that's good for sports. I think things need to be black and white. I don't think that's the way to do it. I think the way to do it is to take grip away from the cars, so that you have to lift. You'll still have some awesome racing with drafting down the straightaways. They don't need to slow the cars down. I think they're going the right speed. Worst-case, I still don't think they can make it over the fence and I don't think they need to just dirty them up because that keeps the pack closer together. I think they need to take downforce away or take grip away from the tires, and I think it would be alright."

MIGHT THE ACTIONS OF THE DRIVERS FORCE NASCAR IN THAT DIRECTION? "Now more than ever you've got to get wins where you can. With Brad and I, it wasn't like one of us was out to get the other guy and I don't think Tony and Kyle were out to get each other. It's just you're playing at 195 miles an hour, you're playing with inches and that's what you get."

THAT COULD HAPPEN ANYWHERE WHEN TWO GUYS GET TOGETHER. "It's not going to. It might happen. It's a 1-in-25 chance you'll have a finish like that anywhere else, and it's about a 1-in-1 chance you're gonna have it at Talladega or Daytona."

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE MILWAUKEE MILE BEING ON LIFE SUPPORT? "Something is not right about that. I'm not a track owner or promoter, but something is not right when it looked to me that they had 50,000 people there. I don't know how many they had, but it was a lot. It looked pretty packed for a fairground and everybody was having a good time. It's a great race and, man, I hate to see a place go away."

DO YOU HAVE ANY RITUALS ON RACE DAY? "No, not really. I try to stay away from it because if you miss it, then it'll bother you, so I try to stay away from any rituals or routines or lucky charms. I've left it just at my wedding band. That's it. As long as I've got that, I'm OK. If, for some reason, I lost it, I think I'd be alright anyway, so I've tried to get away from that."

-credit: ford racing

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Carl Edwards