Indianapolis: Edwards - Ford Friday interview

Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion, is fifth in the standings heading into this weekend's race. He suffered a thumb injury during a dirt track race last Sunday. CARL EDWARDS -- No. 99 Office Depot Ford...

Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion, is fifth in the standings heading into this weekend's race. He suffered a thumb injury during a dirt track race last Sunday.

CARL EDWARDS -- No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion

"On Sunday I dislocated my thumb in a dirt car, so it's just been a long week of trying to make sure that was all going to be good, but it looks like everything is going to be fine. They built me a nice little brace, and I sat in a car -- I don't think there's going to be any trouble there. Definitely excited about the race. We've got a new body on the car, some new stuff we haven't run before and I'm pretty excited. Hopefully, it works. You never know, it could be bad but I think it's going to be pretty good."

HOW PAINFUL IS IT? AND, YOU CAN'T TAKE ANYTHING FOR THE PAIN. "It's really not that painful. The worst part about what happened there was just looking down and seeing my thumb in kind of a different position than I'd ever seen it before. So, that was a little bit nerve-wracking, but once we got to the hospital, they told me it was no big deal, it wasn't broken. As long as I keep it in place, it'll be fine. Definitely not taking anything for the pain, but it really doesn't hurt that bad. It could've been a lot worse. It's really pretty straight forward, small injury. No big deal."

DOES THE INJURY MAKE YOU RE-THINK RUNNING SOME OF THESE OTHER EVENTS DURING THE SEASON? "Yeah, I did think about it quite a bit, especially that night. It made for an awfully long night Sunday, and if that would've been a Saturday night race somewhere after a Busch race, that would've made for a really tough Sunday. But as it worked out, I had a whole week to make sure I went and saw a specialist and got the MRIs done and stuff. I'm definitely not going to stop dirt racing or doing stuff like that, but I might kind of hedge them toward the beginning of the week a little bit, just in case something like this happens again."

IS THE BRACE A PRECAUTIONARY THING, OR IS IT NEEDED TO KEEP THE THUMB IN PLACE? ALSO, HOW DOES IT AFFECT YOUR GRIP ON THE STEERING WHEEL? "I'll tell you everything I know about what they told me. The way they explained it to me was that for my thumb to be in the position that it was in, the bone to come off the joint and everything like it did, it tears some medial ligament between the base of your thumb and your index finger. And, with that being torn, you don't have the support to hold your thumb in place. So, if I were to hold something real hard or bang thumb against something, it'll pop out real easy, they said. So the brace is to keep it in that position so that it'll heal. And if I do that, they said it would only be a few weeks and be pretty good. The way we did it is I went in to the hand specialist's and -- it was awesome, I brought a steering wheel into there and I sat in the chair just like I sat in the race car and they put it in a position that I could drive. I sat in the car, it's exactly where I would put my thumb anyway. The only thing will be shifting for the road courses and stuff might be a little bit painful, but they said as long as I keep it in position, there won't be any problem."

ONE OF THE HOT TOPICS OVER THE PAST FEW WEEKS HAS BEEN DRUG TESTING AMONG DRIVERS. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THAT? "I feel like they should test us whenever they want and however they want. Anything they can do to make sure that it's kept out of the sport would be great. I have no problem with it. They can test me anytime. I think for the kids that look up to us and the people that look up to us and all of our sponsors, it would probably be best of they were a little more active in that and made sure that there was 100 percent, no doubt, that everyone was clean all the time. So, I definitely think everyone will agree, drugs and alcohol involved with racing are bad, so anything they can do to make sure that that's not going on is good."

WILL YOU HAVE SOME TYPE OF BRACE THAT YOU ARE GOING TO WEAR DURING THE RACE? "Yes. This is the brace that I'm going to wear during the race. It's just a simple little splint. It goes down and it's got some Velcro to make sure I keep my thumb in the right spot. It should be fine. I've got a whole other hand, it's like [Ken] Schrader said, 'You might've dislocated it, I mislocated my thumb.' It's not going to be too bad."

WHAT ABOUT YOUR TRAINING PROGRAM NOW? "I think I can still do most things. The biggest thing I did this week was I did ride my bicycle after I injured my hand -- rode it on Sunday morning. But, I can still run and do all of that stuff. I think in a week or two it'll be a lot better, so this is just a little break from weight lifting."

WHAT ABOUT THE INJURY NEXT WEEK AT A ROAD COURSE, WHERE YOU HAVE TO TURN LEFT AND RIGHT? "Yeah, I think the true test will be the road courses, and it's just because the shifting. Turning -- I mean, I drive with my left hand anyway, I have ever since I started. My right hand I really don't use that much to steer the car, so just shifting. It'll be interesting to see how that works. I don't see any reason why we just can't tape this thing up and make sure that it doesn't push on the thumb too hard. It should be fine."

DID JACK ROUSH SAY ANYTHING TO YOU ABOUT YOUR HAND? "Yeah. I called Jack to tell him what happened and he told me he had done the same thing, but broken his thumb, in a go-kart race when he was about 45 years old. I called him back after I went to get the MRIs looked at and they said that it was going to be fine, and I think his quote was: 'It's good to see that it's only going to cause you pain and suffering, and no permanent damage.' He thought it was kind of humorous. He said, 'If you're going to play, you've got to be tough.' That's the kind of guy Jack is. He's been through more physical trauma than most people who are alive. So, he looks at all this stuff as minor."

WILL THERE BE SOMETHING ADDED TO THE SHIFT KNOB AT MONTREAL NEXT WEEK? "I don't know. I think after this weekend I'll know more about how it's going to be. Like I said earlier, the worst part about this was when I first saw my hand I was a little bit nervous about how things were going to go. But then after finding out that nothing was broken and finding out the extent of the damage -- as long as we can keep it in place and I can come up with a way to make everything work, it'll be fine. But I really don't know. I might feel like million bucks, it might feel great in a week. It might not be that big of an issue. So, I'll know after some re-starts this week. I think that's going to be a good way to kind of figure it out."

ON WALKING THROUGH GASOLINE ALLEY FOR THE FIRST TIME. "This place -- to stand out there during driver introductions and to ride around the race track and to know you get to race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is unbelievable. I worked for Kenny Schrader for a summer, just hanging out at the shop, riding in the semi and stuff, and they came to test here, it was when he was driving the number 25 car for Rick Hendrick. I stayed at the hotel over there in turn [two], Brickyard Crossing, and I came over here and just hung out. I polished the semi wheels. They had everything parked in the garage and I'm like polishing the wheels on the semi, and they let me put fuel in the car when they came in after runs. Like, Jeff Gordon's driving by, Terry Labonte, Ken Schrader and all these people, and it was just like, 'Man, this is awesome. I mean, just to be here.' That was really cool. One of the track workers, in the morning, let me walk out on the front straightaway. We walked out there and we talked about it, and was a real cool guy. I just couldn't believe I was standing on the front straightaway at Indy. So then, eight, nine years later, I get to drive a Nextel Cup Series car around here. It's really cool. It's neat, to say the least."

WHAT YEAR WAS THAT? "I guess it was '95 of '96. That summer. I don't know; I was hanging out with Schrader, I don't remember most of it. We had a good time. It was real cool. It was fun."

-credit: ford racing

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Terry Labonte , Ken Schrader , Carl Edwards