THE MODERATOR: We'll start with Carl Edwards, congratulations, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford. Great, great victory for you out there today. Your thoughts? CARL EDWARDS: Just very proud to be driving that Ford Fusion today. Ford and...
THE MODERATOR: We'll start with Carl Edwards, congratulations, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford. Great, great victory for you out there today. Your thoughts?
CARL EDWARDS: Just very proud to be driving that Ford Fusion today. Ford and Roush Fenway, all the engineers, everyone has worked really hard. All of them have worked very hard this winter. It's paid off. The reason we won this race today is because of the preparation. I'm just proud to be driving that car right now. It's a lot of fun.
THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions specifically for Carl. We have five or six minutes before we have to release him.
Q: In theory this is two races, the one yesterday and then today. Is a shorter race like we saw today in theory a better race?
CARL EDWARDS: I don't know. To me personally part of what makes the sport what it is at this level is that Jack and Ford, Roush Yates engines, the cars have to be able to make it 500 miles. In my mind, it has always been a test of man and machine.
I think a lot of the fans respect that. There is a balance. 25 lap features are great. But this is a real test of the vehicle, as well.
Q: You were fastest in the test here and in Vegas. You had a good car. You were talking about the preparation in the off season. Backing it up today, does this give you confidence this is going to be a season where you can do a lot of good things?
CARL EDWARDS: I really hope so. I mean, we have worked very hard. I owe a lot, all of it, to Jack and the engineers, Robbie Reiser, Bob. I hope this is a sign of how our season's going to go.
If there's one thing we've learned, we've got to stay on top of it, we have to keep working as hard as we can. There are very minor differences between the cars that are winning this races and the cars running fifth or sixth. We have to keep on top of it. It's a great way to start. I hope we keep going like this.
Q: We all know what an effervescent personality you have. If there's a 15 hour red flag, you're the driver least affected. Were you beaten down yesterday?
CARL EDWARDS: I told my guys, We got them right where we want them. This is what we prepare for. The tougher it gets, the more competitive it is, we have a 55 hour red flag and we're still going to go out there and race as hard as possible. That's what we prepare for. That's what I prepare for. I enjoy that kind of stuff.
Q: You probably heard the cliche 'a day late and a dollar short'. That's not the case for you. Why a day later do you thrive on what you just said and able to have success?
CARL EDWARDS: Well, I mean, I don't think that I'd like to think it really didn't matter if we raced last night or today. We had a really good car. Our car was great.
But that's part of it. We've all had to sit and wait through rain delays. We've had things where the anxiety builds up, stuff like that. It just adds another variable to it. That's fun. We're all competitive people sitting right here. We don't mind extra things to have to work for.
Q: Can you talk a little bit about the aero side of this car, the push, whether it was as bad as last year's car or just the relative differences in the aero side of the car?
CARL EDWARDS: The aero side of the car seemed really good. It seemed like it affected the downforce less when you're following someone and the drag more. You could actually gain a little bit being behind someone. It didn't stop you from being able to race with them. This is a very good track for racing because you can move around. So it might not show up might show up worse maybe next week at Vegas if there is something that's going to show up. But I'm really happy with the car right now.
Q: Carl, can you talk about the battle with Jimmie at the end where you basically had to come obviously you had the best car, but you still had to get past Jimmie Johnson to win the race?
CARL EDWARDS: It was a lot of fun. Jimmie is always fun to race with. He's a true racer. To race him and Jeff, you know, Matt Kenseth earlier, I mean, these guys in my mind are the best in the world. So it's always fun to race them.
I just was trying to go wherever Jimmie wasn't. He went where I wasn't. I'm lucky he was a little bit loose. That would have been really, really tough to get by him if he wasn't so loose. We were very fortunate there.
Q: Carl, is today any indication that specifically Roush Fenway or anybody else have caught up with Hendrick?
CARL EDWARDS: I hope it's an indication that we've caught up with them. They're second and third. They were the guys to beat today. I hope this is a sign that we're up to their standards, to their level. I believe we are. I know that last year I would not have traded my car in for one of theirs at any of the COT races towards the end of the year. I thought we had the best car.
I mean, everyone knows, all the drivers know for sure, it's what you're sitting in a lot of times that makes that tiny little bit of difference. I'm proud to be driving this car. I'm proud of what Jack and Bob and all the engineers did last year once we saw how far behind we were. That reaction and the action that came after that is what got us here today.
THE MODERATOR: Carl, we're going to release you.
CARL EDWARDS: Thanks.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations. Good luck in the Nationwide Series race.
CARL EDWARDS: Thank you.