Carl Edwards captured the 22nd NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win of his career with Sunday’s victory.
The last time Ford won consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races was 2012 when Marcos Ambrose and Greg Biffle won at Watkins Glen and Michigan, respectively.
The last time Ford swept the top three spots in a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race was last season when David Ragan, David Gilliland and Carl Edwards finished 1-2-3 at Talladega on May 5, 2013.
1st – Carl Edwards
2nd – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
3rd – Aric Almirola
5th – Marcos Ambrose
12th – Greg Biffle
14th – Brad Keselowski
20th – Joey Logano
22nd – David Gilliland
31st – David Ragan
CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes Ford Fusion
VICTORY LANE INTERVIEW – “I wasn’t sure about the backflip. First, I’ve got to thank the fans for sticking around. How about Ford? They’ve done so much in this sport. They make the greatest cars on the road and for them to finish tonight 1-2-3-5, that’s a big turnaround from the other night. I’ve got to thank Kellogg’s, they stick with me – Fastenal. Jimmy Fennig made some calls. Subway, Aflac, UPS, Sprint, the Eco Power oil, Wiley X, Cessna, New Holland.”
HAD HE NOT MADE THAT CALL WOULD YOU HAVE WON? “I don’t know. Aric and those guys were really fast. I don’t know if I could have got by them. That’s a gutsy call with all the tire trouble. Goodyear makes great tires. We didn’t have trouble at the end, but it was just a bad matchup with the track. I’ve got to say get well to my Uncle Dan. He’s battling something real tough, but he’s and Edwards and he’s tough and we’re thinking of him. It’s just an awesome night. We’re in the Chase and we’re gonna go win this championship. I just can’t believe we turned this thing around. We were terrible on Saturday, so I’m just glad we turned it around. Jimmy is the man.”
“At this rate there will be 26 winners and it will be a heck of a battle. First thing, thanks to my guys for working so hard. Everyone worked really, really long hours last night. Jimmy told me they worked until 3 a.m. on the simulation stuff trying to figure out what to do with the race car because we were terrible yesterday. It was really bad in practice. It was a huge day for us though, a great day for Kellogg’s, for Frosted Flakes, Cheez-It and everybody that was here that supports our team. A huge day for Ford. People were talking a lot about how Fords were running so great on Friday and it wasn’t our Fords, it was not our Roush Fenway Fords.
We’ve been struggling lately and for us to come out of here with a win and to run so well with a number of the Fords out of our shop that was big, so it was a fun day and now, yeah, I’m part of a group of guys that can go and have some fun and focus on the final 10 races to win this championship. I’ve been a little bit jealous of those guys that have wins this early in the season. I was thinking today I can’t imagine what that must feel like to be able to come to a race track like this and have all that pressure off of you, so now we’ll be able to go have some fun. I’m really excited about the next 22 races. That will be a blast.”
CARL EDWARDS PRESS CONFERENCE
WILL THIS PROPEL YOU ON TO TWITTER? “No. Am I the last holdout? Is Tony still? So that will be a battle until the end to see which one of us can last the longest. There’s a lot of pressure from the sponsors. I don’t know, but, no I’m not gonna be on Twitter.”
WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS WHEN THAT CAUTION CAME OUT? “For Robin and NASCAR to come up here and explain exactly what happened immediately after the race and just put it out there that, hey, it was just a mistake and inadvertent I think that says a lot about the state of the leadership of our sport. I’ve been involved in one other incident like that and I think I might be the only guy that, anyway I was leading it the last time that happened at Charlotte in a truck race and we got passed and Mike Helton, they put out a press release that said, ‘Hey, we messed up. We apologize to Carl and his crew.’ And I think NASCAR, that was 12-13 years ago, and they still stand by their mistakes and for them to come up here and say, ‘Hey, we messed up,’ that means a lot. As a sport, they make a lot of tough calls. We all do a lot of things where there is a lot of room for mistakes, so the outcome worked out for me but even if it hadn’t I’m glad to be part of something where they say, ‘Hey, we just screwed up.’”
RICKY WAS THINKING BUMP AND RUN, AND JACK SAID HE’D EXPECT NOTHING LESS. “I knew what Ricky was thinking and it was going to be a battle. The way I envision it in my mind knowing Ricky and knowing him neither one of us would have made it back to the start-finish line. It could have been that ugly, so Aric probably would have been in a really good spot. Ricky was being aggressive out there all night and I knew what was coming, so that was gonna be a battle.”
ULTIMATELY IT DIDN’T MATTER BUT WHEN THE CAUTION COMES OUT ARE YOU THINKING, ‘OH NO, NOW I’VE GOT TO PREPARE TO DEFEND THIS WIN?’ “Yeah, I was fully prepared, I mean, smash into each other, bouncing off the walls, wrecking each other for the win. That’s what I expected and now that I know Ricky was gonna do that, I’ll go ahead and return the favor the next time he’s in front (laughing). But, no, I expected it to be pretty crazy. I don’t know though, it could have been clean too. Aric got really close to getting by me on the bottom clean, so we joke around about that and talk about that, but I would not have been surprised if it would have been a big mess, but that’s where we’re at right now. You’ve got to go for the win.”
WHAT DID YOU THINK WHEN JIMMY SAID TO STAY OUT WITH 70 OR SO TO GO? “I thought when Jimmy said we were gonna stay out I thought, ‘That’s a good idea,’ but then nobody stayed out around us and I thought, ‘Oh boy, that might not be the greatest thing,’ but it turned out to be perfect. Our car was just fast or faster than it had been all night after that, so there was no detriment to our performance. It didn’t hurt us in any way staying out and helped all that track position, so that was good.”
IS THERE ADDED PRESSURE TO GET A SECOND WIN NOW? “You’re exactly right, there has been a lot of talk about it. I’ve been listening to the radio guys a lot and everybody is assuming that you win and you’re in, and that’s definitely not the case. We have 12 more races an all of a sudden it turns in to there are already 16 winners, but the first step is you have to win. I think we’re proving that right now. You’re going to have to have a win, I believe, to be in the Chase, so now that we’ve checked that box, we need to go get another win and then I think we’ll be guaranteed to be in it. Just to have a win this early is a huge relief.
It’s gonna make California and Martinsville, it’s gonna be really fun to go there. I’m going out and taking a guess at what the 4 car was doing, but they were really fast on the straightaways tonight and they blew up, and I’m assuming they’re on the, ‘Hey, let’s develop things for the final 10 races program,’ and that’s a luxury you have if you believe you’re in the Chase. I think this new format is going to change the way people race throughout the year. It’s going to be very interesting to see how it all culminates at the end and see what everybody brings to those final 10 races, considering the fact that they have time to work on things because there’s not that pressure. I don’t know if I’m explaining that well, but it’s gonna be interesting.”
NO QUALMS ABOUT A BACKFLIP ON A WET TRACK? “Oh man, I thought this is stupid I shouldn’t do this, and I stopped right on the start-finish line and I looked and said, ‘It’s awfully glossy, it might be slick,’ so that’s why I kind of landed on my hands. I wanted to make sure I didn’t stick it perfectly and my feet go that way and break my arm on the concrete. That would have been terrible, but at that point you just say, ‘What the heck,’ and it worked out, so I was actually really nervous about that.”
DO YOU HAVE A BACKUP CELEBRATION? “No, I don’t have a backup celebration. I’ve got to work on that and it’s gonna have to involve giving something to the fans like pull out a bunch of t-shirts and launch them in the crowd because the last time I decided not to do a backflip they booed me out of the place, so you can’t not do them.”
WERE YOU CONCERNED THAT YOU HAD THE RACE WON AND THEN MIGHT HAVE TO DEFEND IT? “Yeah, concerned is not really a strong enough word, but it definitely got my attention, but at that point, hey, I’ve seen a lot of things happen in a race car and I knew that we’re probably gonna win this race if the caution didn’t come out. The caution did come out and now we get an opportunity to prove that we deserve to win this race and, honestly, it might have been a lot more exciting. With everything like that there’s always an opportunity, but I did not want to see that caution, I did not at all, so I’m glad the rain came. There was some higher powers at work there and it worked out great.”
HOW MANY LAPS INTO THAT FINAL RUN DID YOU KNOW THAT NOT PITTING WAS THE RIGHT CALL? “I knew pretty quickly after we restarted that not pitting was the right call, just with how fast the car was. We ran our fastest lap, I think, with 30 or 40 laps on the tires, so I felt pretty good about it. I was a little nervous that Kevin had four tires and I think he was fourth and I thought if we get a caution he’ll start on the outside on the top behind me and if I were to get a bad start he might be in a position to snatch the lead from that spot, but with him out of the picture I felt like that we definitely weren’t at a disadvantage to anyone, and I don’t know that it would have been a disadvantage even to somebody with tires, but that was the only one I was concerned about.”
DO YOU THINK IT WOULD MAKE SENSE TO STAY OUT WEST AND RUN BRISTOL LATER? “Robin was up here before me. That would have been a good question for him. I’ve got a great Cessna airplane that I don’t mind flying, so I’m fine to take the trip out west. And right now where I’m sitting I wouldn’t change anything about the schedule. It worked out great for me, rain included. Just me and Noah enjoying this.”
RICKY STENHOUSE JR. – No. 17 Nationwide Insurance Ford Fusion
DID YOU THINK WHEN THAT LAST CAUTION CAME OUT IT WAS YOUR CHANCE TO WIN? “I did until it started raining. I’m still not sure what the caution was for, but Mike Kelley got this Nationwide Insurance Ford Fusion rolling pretty good. We felt good about it all weekend because this was a track we were good in Nationwide, so it’s good to have him back and good to be running back up front. It’s good for our partners – Zest, Fifth Third, Nos – it’s just a lot of fun coming back up here and running in the top five. We got a 1-2 finish for Jack Roush. The Eco Power oil was getting a little hot under cautions there, but everything held together and we were able to come home with our first top five of the year. Hopefully, we can keep that going.”
HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO RUN THE CORNER LIKE YOU DID TONIGHT? “Our car was definitely, compared to last year, we could not roll the bottom and I thought this year with the work we did in the off-season it seemed like Aric and Carl and my car rolled the bottom a lot better than we were able to last year. We focused on that a lot in practice because if you look back at these races the cars that are up front every race here at Bristol are able to run the bottom when they need to, but I was really happy with being able to run bottom, middle, top. Enter in on the top and turn and drive across the bottom. I was really, really happy with our car and the changes that we’ve made and the progress that we’ve made from last year.”
WHAT DID YOU HAVE IN MIND IF YOU COULD HAVE HAD ONE LAST SHOT? “I don’t know. I was thinking I would use the bumper if the opportunity was there. If you get the win, you’re in the Chase and you can let the rest take care of itself later. That’s what I was really thinking if we went back green. I saw Aric was really strong on the restart before and I thought him and I were really pretty good on the bottom and Carl seemed to be a little too loose as soon as we went back green. I would have ran it in there pretty hard. He knows I would have. We’ve had a few races in Nationwide where they came down to the wire like that and we both drive really hard, so I was thinking about doing whatever I could to win.”
WAS THE TRACK NOTICEABLY WET WHEN THE CAUTION CAME OUT? “Yeah. As soon as whatever the caution was for came out it didn’t matter. We weren’t gonna get to Carl no matter what, so really it was only gonna help us have the opportunity to get that one more spot. As soon as it came out going in three it started raining pretty good.”
ARIC ALMIROLA – No. 43 Smithfield Ford Fusion
“It was a good run for us. The Smithfield Ford Fusion was good all weekend. We worked on it. Trent Owens and all these guys, we changed every part and piece on this race car throughout the weekend. I’m really proud of those guys. They did a great job and got a top-5 finish out of it. It was a good day for us. The first few weeks haven’t been great to us, so it was a good way to come back.” HOW DOES IT FEEL TO HAVE A CAREER-BEST FINISH? “It feels good. You want to win. I saw it right there at my fingertips on that one restart when I raced side-by-side with Carl, but he had a lot better car than we did tonight.”
HAS THE START OF THIS SEASON SURPRISED YOU OR DID YOU THINK THIS IS WHERE YOU COULD MAKE SOME INROADS? “No, actually we’ve had a lot of positives. We didn’t run very good at Vegas last week. We struggled really bad there, but at Daytona we had a great car. We went up and led some laps and had a really strong car there, and then had a miscue on pit road where we had to serve a penalty under green and got caught a lap down and then I was racing for the lucky dog and got caught in a wreck. At Phoenix we had a good car and ran in the top 10 all day and then those last couple of restarts we didn’t have very good restarts and I finished 14th or 15th, so we’ve had good cars, we’ve had good runs – last week was an exception – but this is how we expect to run.
We thought when we brought Trent over that he would come with some new ideas and our cars, everybody at Roush Fenway has been working really hard and everybody at Richard Petty Motorsports has been working really hard together to get our cars better and I feel like we have some really good cars right now. I think it shows. We had four of the top five cars tonight, so everybody has been working really hard and hard work pays off. I know everybody works hard, but we were not very happy with how our season went last year and we’ve made a lot of changes and all of those changes seem to have been positive.”
MARCOS AMBROSE – No. 9 Stanley Ford Fusion
“It’s just a great night for Richard Petty Motorsports. My teammate Aric Almirola was a couple spots in front of us, so we’re really proud of our team tonight and a great night for Ford tonight as well with Carl doing backflips on the frontstretch here. I’ve got thank the fans for sticking with us through all this rain this afternoon. I’m really proud of this Stanley team and can’t wait to watch this one on replay and look forward to California coming up.”
IT WAS AGGRESSIVE FROM THE START. “You had to. These cars go a lot faster around this track than the old style cars and we had to really dig in our feet. The groove went to the very fence and we had to really watch ourselves there and keep adjusting the car all night. We got a bad set of tires where they delaminated and started to cord really bad, so we lost a lap and then got it back. I passed Kyle Busch to get the lucky dog and worked our way back up to the front.”
BRAD KESELOWSKI – No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion
“It was exactly where I wanted to be, just not smart enough to take advantage of it. I saw the 4 was in trouble and we had new tires and the leaders didn’t. We were just making our way through traffic and he broke something in front of me. Everybody – me and the cars in front of me – we all knocked the wall down running in behind him. It’s unfortunate and just one of those racing deals, I guess. I should have anticipated he was gonna blow up, I guess, but that’s just part of it.”
THE RACE SEEMED AGGRESSIVE FROM THE START. “Yeah, I thought it was a typical Bristol race.”
JOEY LOGANO – No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion
RED FLAG INTERVIEW ON LOSS OF POWER-STEERING – “I’d say 500 laps is gonna be a lot longer than I thought it was gonna be around here, but Todd Gordon and the guys are putting a plan together. There’s so much load here and the car is pressing so hard down on the race track that it makes it so hard to steer. It feels like it’s working against you. I was already huffing and puffing pretty hard trying to get the thing to turn. You can’t be quick with it. That’s the biggest problem is you can’t go fast. If you get loose or anything like that, you can’t steer the car to the right and then back to the left quick enough that you get yourself in a bind and then you crash. It’s kind of just limp it until you get the caution.
We got lucky because we got that lucky dog. We’re back on the lead lap. It may cost us a lap trying to fix this thing, but we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do and try to recover with lucky dogs and wavearounds. We’ve got a fast car. We were up there leading laps. It was intermittent for a while once we restarted behind Jimmie and Matt, but then it just went away. We’ll just have to fix it. The good thing is we’re 130 laps into this thing and there’s a long ways to go. The bad news is if we can’t fix it, we’re only 130 laps into it, so, either way, we’ve got our work cut out for us today.”