Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Claritin Ford Fusion, is 10th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings going into tomorrow night's race. He held his weekly Q&A session after Friday's first practice session. WHAT DO YOU ...
Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Claritin Ford Fusion, is 10th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings going into tomorrow night's race. He held his weekly Q&A session after Friday's first practice session.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE TRACK? "Yesterday, I felt like wearing black today. I felt like we were gonna have to have funeral because we killed my favorite race track. I was really frustrated, but then today as we ran around with the Cup cars, it's kind of starting to come back and it's not so bad. The surface is growing on me and our car is actually getting pretty fast, so I'm feeling better about it."
IS IT TOO SMOOTH? "I personally like a lot of character in a race track. I think it's fine to have patches and places that are rough and seams and worn out, old pavement. I like that, so for me it's gonna take a little bit just to really like this thing, but somebody is gonna win on Saturday night so there's no sense in complaining about it. We've just got to go race."
WHAT KIND OF RACING WILL WE SEE SATURDAY? "I don't know. I think tonight in the Nationwide race it's gonna be virtually impossible to pass -- really, really tough because you're on the edge the whole time. You're either real fast and doing great or you're wrecked, so there's no in between. I think in the Cup cars with the extra horsepower and less downforce it will be a little bit better race. Anytime you have more horsepower and less downforce it's better racing, so I don't know. I think that's how they'll kind of compare. Hopefully, tomorrow night it'll be a great race. This is, I think, the greatest race track on the circuit and I hope that this paving job doesn't take away from it."
OTHER COMPETITORS HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT YOUR CAR AND THE WAY IT'S YAWED OUT AND THE WAY IT GOES DOWN THE TRACK. WHAT'S YOUR TAKE ON ALL THAT. "Yeah, that's exactly what makes my car so fast. In fact, when we thought about taking a couple of weekends off, we were gonna go get a monkey to drive the car because it's real easy and that's the only reason we're winning. So they should just focus on that and not worry about anything else."
WHAT KIND OF INFLUENCE HAS YOUR MOM HAD ON YOUR CAREER? "My mom had a huge influence on my career, not only the $20 or $40 she'd throw me for every Saturday when I'd go to get pit passes and stuff, but emotionally she's just been unbelievable with her support. She's a woman who has instilled in me the idea that you can do anything you set your mind to and that's it. She lives it. She's a hardcore woman. She's pretty cool."
SHOULD DARLINGTON BE IN THE CHASE? "Oh yeah, it would be fine if this track was in the chase. That would be great, especially if this pavement gets worn back out. This is just a real race track. It's really fun and you've got to really drive on it to make the car go fast. I think these are the type of tracks that when a guy wins at there's a lot of pride. I was just over there talking with David Pearson and to know that whoever wins this race tomorrow night is gonna be right up there with all the legends, that's big. So I think it deserves however many dates we can get it."
COULD YOU SEE IT GOING BACK TO LABOR DAY AND BEING KNOWN AS THE SOUTHERN 500? "I don't know all the politics around the dates, but if it's always been the Southern 500 that's pretty cool. Anytime you can keep a hold of a piece of history and have new guys compete in it, that's big. The Daytona 500 is the Daytona 500. You know that when you go there it's the same race that Richard Petty and all those guys raced a long time ago and that means a lot to me. I think anytime we can keep history, that's good. I don't know the politics of the name though and things like that, but it would be cool. It would be cool if we ran the same exact schedule they ran in 1955. That would be great, but things change, I guess."
IS LOOSE TOO FAST HERE? "You can tell from all the cars wrecked. A little bit loose is OK, but the track right now is a little too green. That's just part of it, I guess. I was pissed off yesterday at the end of the day. I was just so frustrated, but then I talked to some people that have been around and they said, 'Hey, when they paved it here 12 years ago, it was the same way.' And they said it will get better and it will be fine, but right now it's pretty green."
IS THERE A CONCERN GUYS WILL DRIVE OVER THEIR HEAD TOMORROW NIGHT? "Oh yeah. Wait until tonight. Tonight is gonna be spectacular in the Nationwide race. I mean, there are some serious issues. The cars are real, real fast. They're real hard to drive and there's such a disparity between the fast cars and the slow cars that the closing rate is crazy. Since it's an unconventional line here, the guys that are going slow don't know where to go, so we're gonna have huge problems there. I think in the Cup car, we're going so fast that it's going to be real hard to pass. If we can get long runs, it'll be pretty cool, but on the short runs, man, it's gonna be a mess."
IS THERE SOME FUN TO BEING ON THIS NEW SURFACE? "It's fun, but I just liked the old surface so much. I really did. It's just gonna take me a little while. I'm just being honest. The folks here are great. I know that they're trying to do the best they can for this race track, I just really, really loved the old surface. It's hard for me. I'm getting there though. I'm better today than I was yesterday, it's one step at a time."
WILL THIS BE LIKE A TALLADEGA RACE WITHOUT PLATES? "No, it won't be like Talladega. It's still gonna be a race. It's going to be exciting. I believe there will be more follow the leader than you've seen before here because you can't be as aggressive with the car because there's not as much room for error. Before, you could get it real sideways here and you could spin the tires and get it back. That's not gonna happen now. You've got to really be precise. It's gonna be more like a Charlotte race right now."
IS IT BECAUSE OF THE TIRE, THE CAR OR THE SURFACE? "The surface. We raced here with this same car on the old surface and it seemed like the same race we've always had. It's just progress. I'm sure they were saying the same thing 12 years ago when they paved it."
HAVE YOU HIT THE WALL YET? "Just a little. Just barely in turn three. I had a little brake problem yesterday. I mean, just barely. It didn't even scrape the decals off."
IS THERE A SAFETY CONCERN FOR TONIGHT'S RACE? "I think so, yeah. They put helmets on every week, but I think we've got to really watch out. I know I'm gonna be extremely cautious tonight just because of what I saw in practice. I've never seen so many cars wreck in practice."
-credit: ford racing