Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion, is still waiting for the birth of his first child. He said his plane is fueled and ready to go, and that Erik Darnell is standing by in case a trip to Missouri is necessary. "I thought ...
Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion, is still waiting for the birth of his first child. He said his plane is fueled and ready to go, and that Erik Darnell is standing by in case a trip to Missouri is necessary.
"I thought Daytona went fairly well. The Nationwide race was a lot of fun. We came home second again in that one. We've had a few of those, but we were good. I got to work with the guys at Copart and Fastenal and got to be out there with them on the car for the first time, so that was pretty cool. And then in the Cup race, I thought that we ran as a group our Fords ran very well. I think that we did a really good job of sharing information with the RPM guys and working as a team to be the best we can. We ended up ninth. Greg finished third and Matt was eighth, so those are top 10s and we come here now and this is really the test for our team for the year. This is the first real test of how we're gonna do, so, just like all my guys and I'm sure a lot of people in the garage, we're real excited to and anxious to see how we can perform this weekend."
DO YOU JUMP EVERYTIME YOUR CELL PHONE RINGS? "Yeah. I've been carrying around this Palm Pixie and it's a pretty neat phone. I've been carrying it around just waiting for Kate to call me. I've got fuel in the plane and I'm ready to go if she were to call this evening. I'd take off and go see it, but we went to the doctor this week and they said everything just looks the same, so I guess we're just kind of hanging out. We've been doing lots of walking and ate some spicy foods -- everything they say to do -- so we're just waiting. I'm really excited about it."
HOW IS THE NATIONWIDE CAR? "We were just looking at the lap tracker and the 18 and the 20 car are spectacularly fast. They're very fast and then there is a group after that where we're all kind of similar in speed. This will be a great way to kick off our partnership with Copart is to have a good run here, but with Nationwide right now it's a balance versus wins and points. Last week, we finished second, but Tony's not running the whole season so in the championship hunt that's a win. And it is a different strategy, I think, in this Nationwide Series because it's the old school point system where every race counts and every point counts for the end of the year. It's a balance. This is the beginning of a veryi long war and we've got to be very smart, but I love this race track. It's gonna be fun."
IS ERIK DARNELL STANDING BY FOR BOTH CARS? "Yeah, Erik is here and that's the plan. The deal is we're so far from home, and the travel time would be so much, that most likely I would just stay here. There would be small windows where I could maybe go home, but Erik is here."
WOULD IT BE ANY EASIER TO LEAVE HERE THAN DAYTONA? "No, I think it would be more difficult to leave this race because the setup and the way I drive here, and the way Bob and I have to work together, I think I'm a bigger factor in this race than I would have been at a race track like Daytona. That's not to say Erik wouldn't do as good or better job than I could do, but I think it would be a bigger risk in the result to leave here during either of these races."
IS IT HARD TO STAY FOCUSED IN THE CAR WITH THE BABY? "I probably shouldn't admit this, but I get in the race car and I really don't think about it until I get out and the first person to ask me, 'Hey, any news on the baby?' I'm like, 'I need to check my phone.' So when I'm in the car, fortunately for me and maybe not my family, but fortunately for me that's what I think about and that's what I focus on, so that's pretty simple for me."
WILL THERE BE A BACKFLIP IF YOU WIN? "Yeah, everything is good and seems good. I tested that out with the guys at the WWE and that was a lot of fun. Backflips are on the menu, so if we win, there will be a backflip -- maybe two."
CHEVY'S WERE TOP 8 IN PRACTICE. IS THAT A CONCERN? "Practice, because it looks like it may be wet tomorrow, a lot of people, including ourselves, spent time in race trim, so I think we ended up 16th on the chart, but that was only a couple of qualifying runs. I did sit on the pole here one time, but the rest of the time it's such a long race that I don't know if that's going to be exactly how they run based on this first practice in the race. But, yeah, they did look very fast. Mark's laps right off the bat were race trim and they were screaming fast, but I hope we're as good as we've been here before. I'm pretty sure this is statistically my best track and it's been a great track for Ford, but I think if we get some race practice in, then we'll be able to know exactly where we stand. You know how it is, somebody can post a lap, but 500 miles is a long way."
CAN YOU COMMENT ON THE IMPORTANCE OF GETTING OFF TO A GOOD START? "It's just like anything. We've all competed at something and if you get a good start, you feel like everybody's got a little pep in their walk and it's easier to get along. I think that's a big part of this. We've all seen guys that have clawed back and made it into the chase, like Matt Kenseth did a couple years ago, but I think for me and for our guys, if we can just put together the first 10 or 15 races, if we can be there, that does feel a lot better. It's nice to get a good start. I saw an engineer did some statistics on after the first five races if you're in this position the probability of making the chase is this -- and I'm sure that's based on their performance because after five races if you've run really well, you'll probably run well more, but that stuff is important, I think."
OR DOES THAT GET THROWN OUT BECAUSE OF THE PENDING SPOILER CHANGE? "From what I've heard, I think the spoiler is not going to be this huge, whatever you call something that messes everything up. It's not gonna be one of those. I think it's going to be a smaller change than I thought it was at the beginning when they first mentioned it. For a couple races it could be a big player in the results, but, overall, these teams are smart. Everybody has been testing and everybody is going to test a little more. I think those days we're going to get at Charlotte will probably even everything up."
-source: ford racing