Continued from part 1 Q: What happened at Talladega for a minute? Does it seem like guys, because of this new car are still kind of in that feeling out phase, and that accidents might be down and there is less risk taking because ...
Continued from part 1
Q: What happened at Talladega for a minute? Does it seem like guys, because of this new car are still kind of in that feeling out phase, and that accidents might be down and there is less risk taking because everybody's still trying to get a handle on this car? No matter what kind of track it is, it seems to be fewer accidents from guys just banging into each other.
CARL EDWARDS: I don't know the statistic; is that correct? There are fewer accidents this year?
Q: I think it seems to be slightly down right now.
CARL EDWARDS: I don't know. I know the cars are tougher. They can take a little more. If you hit the fence or bump somebody, whatever, it seems like it doesn't fold the fenders in on the tire as much. You have a little more room for error with the car.
I don't think guys are necessarily being more cautious for any calculated reason. You know, I don't know. I don't know if it's just a chance, statistical change or if there's actually something different going on.
I do know that these cars, to me, seems like they don't have quite the downforce. So there is a little more room for error, maybe in the center of the corner. You're not ten down the racetrack, locked down so hard so that if the car does get sideways, you can correct it easier. That's what it seems like to me. And I think that's a good thing. But I think it's tough to point to one thing and say there may be less accidents.
Q: The rookies that came in this year, do you feel safer, have you felt safer driving around? Do they seem to have a little more grasp of the car maybe as opposed to other rookie classes that you've seen in pretty much any series you've driven?
CARL EDWARDS: Who are the rookies this year?
Q: Hornish for one, I'm trying to think. That's one I can think of off the top of my head. Hornish, for one, coming over from IndyCar?
CARL EDWARDS: I really feel that on Sundays that the guys we race against, David Newton asked if there's anybody that scares me out there. There really isn't anyone that's scary. Everybody does a really, really good job.
You know, if you take Sam Hornish, for example, there is a guy who comes into the series and he might be a rookie, but he's definitely not a rookie race car driver. The guy has a huge amount of experience and success in other forms of Motorsports.
I don't know if that is just by chance in the sport where there's not a bunch of new guys, wide-eyed maniacs out there running around like in 2004 or 2005. I think everybody's doing a really good job, you know.
Q: Setting aside the fact that we still have three races to go, and you still certainly have a shot at the title, the fact that Jimmie has the lead has already prompted a lot of questions whether the Chase format ought to be changed so there is more drama toward the end. Are you satisfied with the format as it now stands, or simply accept the fact that Jimmie's having a hell of a year?
CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, I can't set aside the fact that we can still win this championship, that's just a fact. But as a competitor, I think looking at the Chase -- it's a really good question. I think a lot of people are asking it.
But I believe that it's just the way it's going. I mean, Jimmie has performed extremely well in the races where we haven't broken something or wrecked, we've performed just as well. If Talladega had gone a little differently and we would not have had -- well, you don't take Talladega out of it, say at Lowe's Motor Speedway our ignition boxes didn't fail, I felt we had a race winning car that night. And on the last lap of Atlanta, if Denny would have just clipped Jimmie in the left rear, I think we'd be either tired or I'd have a slight lead on Jimmie with just those two total chance things being out of it.
So, yeah, I hope people aren't jumping the gun with the three races left. That's a whole lot of miles. Literally, Jimmie could still finish fifth in the championship, and that's a racing fact.
So I guess that's me thinking out loud. You know, I don't believe there needs to be anything changed. I think it's a pretty good format. The only thing I've heard is Jack Roush talked about a Mulligan, maybe, and that would maybe incentivize a little bit maybe more risk taking until you use that one up.
But, I mean, really, we've gone from a full season that determines a champion, down to ten races that determines a champion. And if you keep whittling it down, we might as well not talk about points until we go Homestead and call out the championship, you know what I mean?
Q: I was hoping you could tell me a little about the engagement, and a little about Dr. Kate?
CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, she's a wonderful, wonderful woman. I can't believe I'm getting married, but I mean just if you asked me four years ago if I'd be proposing to someone I would have said, no way, but she just got me.
She's awesome. She couldn't be any better. So I'm really excited about it. So it's something that no one could have described to me, and I'm really, really pumped about spending my life with her.
Q: You have dated kind of like the sports celebrities before, and you've dated the girls next door and the career girls. How hard do you think it is to find genuine, lasting love in NASCAR as a NASCAR driver?
CARL EDWARDS: I'm 29 years old. You know, I don't know. I'm not the wise man, you know. I don't know. I'm sure you've dated race car drivers. I don't know.
I think with anything, life is complex, and it's really special, and you can find somebody that you really feel a bond with that is a really good friend and partner, and that you care about.
So I don't know if it's any harder in auto racing to find that person, but I can tell you with my schedule and all of that, I didn't plan on finding somebody as great as Kate.
For me, I'm very fortunate. I went to high school with her. I know her family, and it just kind of all fell into place so that I'm certain that we really care about each other for the right reasons. So that's, I think, a gift. I feel lucky to have that.
Q: Do you think that's the key? Because you're not the only driver to find a high school sweetheart and kind of stick with that. Jeff Gordon was a good example of that. But as a driver with your schedule and lifestyle, do you think that is sort of the key to kind of find? Do you think your luck is better there, to go back to your hometown?
CARL EDWARDS: I don't know. I mean, Jeff Gordon looks extremely happy. You know, I don't know. I think it's to each person their own how it works out for them. I know for me this couldn't be any better.
Q: I wanted to talk about the mental side of racing. I get tired after 500 miles just driving from here to St. Louis, whatever. The mental game behind this, is that almost as satisfying to you what Carl does against Chad. Jack is like the total intellectual owner, which makes you the perfect driver for him. How much of that plays into it when it gets to the championship level?
CARL EDWARDS: If you need a ride for Charlotte, I can give you a ride.
Q: I know, but that would go back to dating race car drivers. But anyway, just the whole way of saying how much does the whole thing play into the racing?
CARL EDWARDS: You talk about racing all the time, but truly the mental aspect of the sport is the big one. That's what's important. You know, I think all of us learned fairly early in racing kind of how to deal with things in our heads competitively and how to stay focused and all of those things.
It's an extreme importance at this level this late in the season. To be able to go out there when the race is going on and you know race and get everything you can and not a lot of the stuff that goes on in the periphery.
So the media and everything they always try to find trends. So Jimmie's lead right now is a great example. He has this lead and there are only three races left. You know, people are printing the T-shirts, and, saying he's going to be the champion, but that is not how it goes. He has to go out there and do it every week, and we have to go out and run better than him every weekend. You cannot let any of that creep in. So I think that's one of the toughest parts.
But like you said, working for Jack Roush with Bob Osborne and the crew guys I've got, I know right now and until the last lap at Homestead is over, those guys will be working as if we are the ones who are going to win this championship, and that's really tough to do sometimes with so much coverage of the sport, so many people talking and speculating. I think that's one of the mental sides of it that we can benefit from, if we stay strong like that for these last three races.
Q: Is that also where some of the reward comes from? When you got out of that car and we saw you, just completely following the wheel through the whole thing, just trying to keep the car straight, you know, we know how exhausted you were physically. You basically said so. I guess it was Dave Burns asked you do you know who finished second? Just to see some of the emotion drained from your face on what should have been your shining moment. That part would have been so mentally frustrating to me. That's why I'm kind of asking where does that come in? Is it as much physical as it is mental? For somebody who has never raced before, could you explain that? Can you explain it?
CARL EDWARDS: There's a couple things going on there. There's two things. There's the race and then there's the championship. So the race, you know, if you win, you win. You're in there.
We got done with the race, and I thought man, this is great, we won this race. That's what we all go for is that feeling of the win. Then rolling to Victory Lane, you know, Chad Knauss, and couple of Jimmie's crew guys and even Rick Hendrick came by, shook my hand and said a good job.
Rick said something, I couldn't really hear what he said. I went on and then, you know, I thought that Jimmie had finished 7th or 8th. So I was thinking this is not just a win, but this is a great day.
When Dave Burns said, What do you think about Jimmie finishing second? I thought that's kind of a silly joke, Dave. Why would you even say that? And I looked up at the scoreboard and thought, man, how did he do that?
So, yeah, didn't really take away from the day, but it's like all right. We have to win these races to beat him. It just kind of solidifies that. It almost at that moment in my mind I thought, man, all I want to do right now is go to Texas and win that thing and hope he doesn't finish second there. It's like you just want to go on, race some more and try to get it done.
So it's kind of a strange feeling, but it's -- I don't really know how to explain it other than just that those guys are doing a good job. And every time they run that well, even if we win and they run that well, it's kind of a motivator. Makes you want to go home and work hard, you know.
Q: Want to ask you about your record company and how the day-to-day goes with that, and have you got any new artists you want to tell us about?
CARL EDWARDS: Thanks for asking. It's Back 40 Records. We just updated the website. It's Back40records.com. It's pretty neat.
The artists that we are finishing up an album with right now is Omega. And he actually is in St. Louis today, and they're working on the final mixing of the music. We're going to do a digital release, and it will be available on iTunes. I'm not sure exactly what other outlets we'll have.
But it's been really neat. It's fun. It's something that the musicians and the artists and our attorney in New York, Mike McCoy, he's helped me at times. They do what they need to do to get it done, and until I get from it once in a while you hear the music or hearing it on the local radio or handing somebody a CD and then tell me that they enjoy it, so it's really pretty fun.
HERB BRANHAM: Carl, best of luck three races to go. I know you'll be out there hammering away.
CARL EDWARDS: Cool, I appreciate it. Thanks, everybody, and I hope everybody's having as good a week as I am. This is a good one.