Fontana II: Edwards - Friday media visit

Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion, is in 10th place in the Chase standings heading into this weekend's race at Auto Club Speedway, where he has a victory (2008) and nine top-seven finishes in 10 career starts. Edwards met with...

Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion, is in 10th place in the Chase standings heading into this weekend's race at Auto Club Speedway, where he has a victory (2008) and nine top-seven finishes in 10 career starts. Edwards met with the media before practice on Friday.

JIMMIE JOHNSON DOES VERY WELL HERE. DO YOU HAVE A SHOT AT WINNING THIS WEEKEND? "Of course, we have a shot. I think second to Jimmie Johnson is our 99 team and myself and our performance here. The thing about racing is that anything can happen -- witness these crutches I've been walking around on for the last month. You just never know what can happen -- on the race track, off the race track -- so because of that we've just got to go out there and do what Jack [Roush] said: Focus, dig hard, try to win the championship and take whatever we can get. If Jimmie goes out and wins this weekend, then that's what happens, but if he goes and has a terrible week, you have to be out there gaining every point you can to capitalize. We've got seven races left, a lot can happen."

DO YOU SHARE JACK'S OPTIMISM ABOUT A CHAMPIONSHIP? "Of course. You come to every race to win, and until it's a mathematical impossibility, we fight for the championship. Yes, I'd love to be leading Jimmie Johnson and Mark Martin by 165 points. I guess in 2006 at this point, Jimmie was the exact number behind the leader that we are, and somehow he managed to pull it off. We're the same team that won more races and scored more points than anyone else last season, so I still hang on to the fact that we can do it. We just have to execute it. We have to go put our flag out there."

YOUR TEAMMATE GREG BIFFLE HAD WHAT LOOKED TO BE THE FASTEST CAR LAST WEEK AT KANSAS BUT DIDN'T WIN BECAUSE HE TOOK FOUR TIRES WHILE SOMEONE ELSE TOOK TWO. HOW AERO-SENSITIVE ARE THESE CARS, AND WHAT CAN BE DONE TO TWEAK ON IT? "It's simple what can be done to take the aero out of these cars; it's just make it so they don't have any downforce. If you don't have downforce, then no one can take downforce away by being in front of you. I think they made a good step towards that by changing the cars, they have a little less downforce than what they used to have, but at the same time, the cars became closer competitively. So, a guy can't overcome that deficit with a better car because the better car only means a hundredth or two-hundredths of a second sometimes. So, to me, I think that we'd be just fine with no downforce or 100 pounds of downforce or whatever keeps lift from happening, we could rely on the driver's foot and the tires and mechanical grip and things like that to race these cars. I think the closer we get to that, the better off the racing will be?

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO NOT HAVE THE CRUCTHES THIS WEEKEND? "It feels great to be off my crutches. I'm not ion the clear yet. As long as I don't mess this thing up, I'm good. I'm allowed to walk on my heel. So, that's good."

IT LOOKS LIKE DANICA PATRICK MAY ACTUALLY RACE A STOCK CAR NEXT YEAR. WHAT SINGLE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE HER? "As far as advice to Danica or anyone coming into the Nationwide Series or any stock cars, I guess the biggest thing would just be patience, you know? The races are very long, the competition is so close that if you go out there and get impatient or try too hard, that's a sure-fire way to disaster. It's just patience. It will take time, no matter how good someone is. I think coming from another discipline to this, that's a huge step."

CAN YOU EXPLAIN HOW DOUBLE-FILE RESTARTS HAVE CHANGED HOW YOU RACE AND YOUR APPROACH TO THE RACE? "The double-file re-starts are great if you're running in the back, you get to be half the distance to the leader on the re-starts, so that's wonderful. If you're running up front, it's a little bit nerve-wracking because it's chaotic, there's crazy things going on, people are running into each other and sliding up the race track three- four-wide. I keep saying it but I think we have yet to see one of these re-starts turn into a full-on disaster. But, the potential is there and that's what makes it so exciting to watch. So, from a strategy standpoint, the short run becomes really important, because if you're bad you get passed by twice as many cars; if you're good, you can pass twice as many. But, it's just crazy. Last week there were points in those re-starts where I thought, 'Well, we're all getting ready to wreck,' and guys would save it and keep going. That's exciting for the fans."

GETTING BACK TO WHAT YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT: HAS TRACK POSITION GOTTEN TO BE TOO IMPORTANT IN THE SERIES, AND IF YOU HAVE A GOOD CAR AND YOU'RE IN TRAFFIC, CAN YOU OR CAN YOU NOT PASS? "I've only been here for five years, so, to me, I feel like it's harder to pass right now than it has ever been or in any form of motorsport I've been a part of. It's hard to pass right now. Just imagine if all the splitters broke off the cars and all the wings fell off the back, the race you'd see. The cars would be really hard to drive. You'd see people able to drive it sideways, all over, doing crazy things, trying to get runs. It wouldn't matter if you were behind somebody. That just wouldn't matter. So, to me, I think of the USAC Silver Crown races and Midget races and things like that I've seen at some pretty fast race tracks where the only difference the aero makes is you might get a draft on someone. That's pretty cool. I had one veteran in the garage tell me in 1992 or '94 he had 125 pounds of downforce on the car and it was fine to drive and he didn't have trouble passing people when he got to 'em. I'll race whatever we've got to race. I'm not complaining, I'm just saying, in my mind if I had the opportunity to try something, that's what I would like to try. I'm not saying it would work. It might be a complete disaster. But, that's my feeling -- is that the less downforce you have the better it is."

DID YOU EVEN BRING CRUTCHES TO CALIFORNIA? WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH THEM? KEEP THEM? AUCTION THEM OFF? "Break them over my knee. I actually left the crutches, I didn't even bring them, I meant to bring them but I left them, and I panicked this morning. I said, 'Man, I don't even have them,' but I remembered that NASCAR'S medical folks have a set they've been carrying around for me in case I wrecked so I don't have to stand there on one foot -- I can at least crutch to the ambulance. So, no, I don't have them. I'm committed."

-credit: ford racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jimmie Johnson , Carl Edwards , Mark Martin