CARL EDWARDS -- No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion JIMMIE THOUGHT YOU LOOKED STRONG IN TESTING. "It's nice of Jimmie to say, but I really felt like we were pretty good. He might be trying to just get us to rest a little bit, but we're not.
CARL EDWARDS -- No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion
JIMMIE THOUGHT YOU LOOKED STRONG IN TESTING. "It's nice of Jimmie to say, but I really felt like we were pretty good. He might be trying to just get us to rest a little bit, but we're not. We're gonna try to be a lot faster, so, hopefully, it's good enough to compete with those guys. They've been spectacular."
DID YOU DO ANYTHING SPECIAL DURING THE OFF-SEASON? "I had a whole plan to go on some crazy vacation. The neatest thing I did this off-season was just hang out in Missouri. My buddy bought me a bow for Christmas. I sat in a tree stand for a couple of afternoons. It's been a long time since I sat that long and not talked to anyone or said a word. I bought a little r/c car and built that on my living room coffee table and I just stayed in Missouri for about 10 days straight. That was pretty neat and pretty relaxing."
DID YOU SHOOT ANYTHING? "I must smell bad or I'm just too loud because the deer I saw was coming straight at my tree and then circled around just out of where I felt comfortable taking a shot, so I didn't get anything but hopefully I will."
DID YOU EVER HAVE DOUBTS ABOUT YOUR ABILITY FROM '05 TO '06? "It's not that you lack in your ability or I ever lacked confidence at what I could do in a race car, it's just frustrating. It's just like anything. If you go along and you don't achieve the goals that you set forth for a long time, it wears you down a little bit and it's a little bit frustrating. It's very similar. It feels so good to win and that can get you so far that I don't ever want to go that long again without winning. I hope I don't."
WHAT'S DRIVING ON THE EDGE LIKE HERE? "Daytona is a different type of track in that there's a lot more strategy involved. It's more like driving down the interstate and determining how you're gonna navigate through these cars. It's not the same as other tracks, where the real hardest part about racing at a track where you're always on the edge are places like Charlotte or something like that where it's fast and you're on the edge. What you don't see on TV is that anytime that car is turning around a corner, it's on the edge. All four tires are sliding. You're doing everything you can to go as fast as you can. If you give up one-tenth of a second of maximum traction in that corner, you're slow. So that's the hard part about racing is you're always getting the most out of your car."
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO ADAPT DURING THE RACE AT THIS TRACK? IS IT HIGH HERE? "Oh yeah, especially here. In a way, this race track, to me, when we race at a place like Talladega, that's pretty straightforward. Then you come here and when the tires fall off, no longer are you trying to figure out which line is going faster, how you work in dirty air behind certain cars, but you've also got to watch the bumps, your tire wear, what line you're gonna run. This is one of the most mentally complex tracks at the end of a race, especially with the other cars. Everybody is trying to get a little advantage and you have to be able to adapt at this race track."
HOW HARD IS TO MAINTAIN YOUR PATIENCE WHEN LEADING BECAUSE YOU DON'T WANT TO RUN OUT TOO FAR FROM THE GUYS BEHIND YOU? "There's a lot to leading here. I don't know as much about it as I'd like to know, but I won that truck race here and there's a lot to making sure you do the best you can so that you're not sticking your neck out by being too aggressive in the lead."
HOW MUCH DOES CONFIDENCE PLAY A ROLE IN A DRIVER'S SUCCESS? "I know for me I've made a conscious decision -- whether it's good or bad -- I just firmly believe that I'm the best race car driver out there and if that race car won't go as fast as it needs to, there's something we need to fix to get it done. I think that just makes it simple. It makes it straightforward. You don't end up spending too much time or wasting energy questioning yourself. I don't know if that's the right thing to do, but that's what works for me. I'm sure sometimes that could be construed as overconfidence or whatever, but that's what I think it takes. As far as I can see, there's no time in this sport to not be confident in your abilities. I can't sit around and question whether or not I can do the job, I just have to go out and do it and see what happens."
DO YOU REMEMBER THE FIRST TIME YOU WATCHED THIS RACE? "I don't know if I remember the first time. We'd get together at one of my dad's buddies that he used to race with. We'd go over to their house and watch the 500 and we'd watch certain races throughout the year over there. My first memories of it were watching Kenny Schrader in the Kodiak car. He always ran pretty well and that was our guy. My dad and him are cousins, so I was watching Uncle Kenny running on TV. I didn't understand. I had no clue what Daytona was. It could have been in a foreign country as far as I knew. It was just a long ways from Missouri in February, so that was cool to see. It's amazing to think that there's probably some kid right now watching who looks at it as a big, giant event. That's cool."
WAS THE FIRST TIME HERE SPECIAL FOR YOU? "Oh yeah. The first time I came here was with Ken Schrader Racing. I stayed at the Mayan Inn and I think I slept on the floor in someone's room because they didn't have a room for me. Mike Mittler brought me here for the first time in a truck and I got to run around this place as a driver. Veterans and guys who come here all the time talk about how boring testing is and even to me it's starting to get a little boring with single-car runs, but, man, that day I would have ran all day. All they had to do was put gas in that thing. I was having a blast."
-credit: ford racing