CARL EDWARDS - No. 99 Office Depot Taurus (Qualified 1st) "We still have to deal with two really tough races. In our position with our Office Depot team, I feel like we're so close to being in it or out of it that we're just gonna do our very...
CARL EDWARDS - No. 99 Office Depot Taurus (Qualified 1st)
"We still have to deal with two really tough races. In our position with our Office Depot team, I feel like we're so close to being in it or out of it that we're just gonna do our very best. If we don't make it, we've got a million reasons why we shouldn't, but if we do it would just be awesome. It would mean the world to me."
HAVE YOU HAD ANY FREAK OUT MOMENTS THIS YEAR?
"If you went and asked my mom she'd be able to tell you. I went home after Bristol and I was a little bit bummed out. First of all, though, congratulations to J.J. I guaranteed he was gonna have the pole by about three-tenths. I watched that lap on TV and he was way faster the first three-quarters of the lap than I was, but as a driver, I feel like Carl Edwards is a guy from Columbia, Missouri that gets to drive these cars. I enjoy it and I take something from it. I have a good time and I'm starting to understand how guys can become a little bit too consumed or become so focused that it's not fun. After Bristol I went home and I was having one of those moments where it was like I felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders. I want to make this chase and I had just a bad night. I made a deal with myself and talked to my mom and my brother and stuff and I realized that I'm getting to do something that I always dreamed about doing and I'm just going to do my very best and only look as far ahead as the next race and what I can do to be as fast as I can be. If we don't make the chase, I'm gonna do my best to just be happy for whoever makes it in my place. I'm gonna try to keep that attitude, so not to be the guy that just melts down on you guys some day because something goes wrong. I think that's the only way I'm gonna be able to deal with it being as competitive as I am."
WAS IT A REALISTIC GOAL TO MAKE THE CHASE?
"No, it was definitely a goal but it was not a realistic goal. If you would have told me at the beginning of the year we'd have two Cup wins so far, a pole, be eighth in points with two races to go leading to the chase I'd have said, 'Man, you've got somebody else.' I just didn't expect our year to go this well. I think I've been fortunate to be driving these cars at the time that I'm driving them. Just like Mark said, three years ago Mark Martin was somebody who was struggling. He's definitely not as a driver, but the team wasn't in the place where it is now so I feel really good to be driving. No, it wasn't a realistic goal. It's almost too good to be true for me."
DO YOU WANT TO KNOW HOW THE GUYS YOU'RE BATTLING WITH ARE DOING DURING THE RACE?
"Yeah, I'm gonna want to know where the other guys are in relation to us, but I don't think that's necessarily the best thing. At Bristol, that was one where I just decided not to worry about it. I just went out there and drove and that didn't work real well for me, but at least I didn't have that pressure and I wasn't confused or trying to worry about their pit strategy and stuff. So I think for me personally the best thing is just to go out and drive the best I can and do the best we can to adjust our car. That's something I've seen Jeff Gordon do really well. It doesn't matter how he runs the first part of the race, he always runs up front and I think that's because he works on his stuff, so that's someone I'm trying to emulate there."
HOW IS YOUR WORKOUT REGIME GOING? AND HOW IS THE BACKFLIP GOING?
"The temperatures are hot today. J.J. and I are getting ready to go run the Busch race and I think that's gonna be a lot of fun. I personally enjoy the real hot races. I think it just puts an extra variable in it and makes it harder and gives you something else to work on. I try really hard to stay in shape or I try to drink a lot of water and get enough salt and things like that. I don't know. If we won a championship, it would probably just be a real big backflip. I don't think I could do much more than a backflip."
HAS THIS EXPERIENCE HARDENED YOU TO THE PRESSURE?
"I was trying to explain earlier that I understand how this could become an extremely tough sport in regard to the pressure. I think it's important just to keep perspective. That's what I've been trying to do. I've had some experience so far in the last year that have definitely hardened me a little bit and made me realize that I'm out here to compete. I'm not really out here to do anything other than the best I can do. However people perceive that or whatever they think of me is really not up to me to decide. I have just learned lately that the thing that's best for me is to just go out and do the best I can and be who I am and not worry about it. I think if I do that, I think I'll at least be healthy mentally and able to compete as well as I can. That's kind of my plan, but it's still hard to believe at night when you start thinking about the possibilities of being in that chase, but I'm doing the best I can."
HAVE YOU HAD A CONDENSED EDUCATION?
"No, I've been very fortunate. That's what's cool about Charter coming on board full time, Office Depot coming on board and having the faith behind me to run a first-class team in both series. I've gotten a lot of experience. I think J.J. can tell you the same thing, running both series has been awesome. I think that's definitely sped up the learning process for me, too."