Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion, is in fourth place in the standings heading into this weekend's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. Edwards, who is second in the series with three wins this year, was 15th fastest during Friday's...
Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion, is in fourth place in the standings heading into this weekend's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. Edwards, who is second in the series with three wins this year, was 15th fastest during Friday's first practice.
AS A DRIVER, WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO YOUR CAREER TO WIN AT THIS RACE TRACK? "If you can win at Indianapolis, you get to put your name up there with some greats. There is not a driver in the world that wouldn't want to win a race at Indianapolis, that's for sure. So, it would be huge."
WHAT DO YOU NEED OUT OF YOUR CAR TO BE SUCCESSFUL HERE? "We're learning. Practice isn't over yet. We've got a couple practices tomorrow, and I think, from what I can tell, it looks like the car, you're just going to have to keep turning. It sounds pretty silly, it's a quad oval, but, really, the car has to turn in the center of the corner really well to keep the speeds up here. If you have to slow down a little extra in the center of the corner, it just kills you down the straightaway. So, that's going to be the name of the game on Sunday -- keeping your car turning really well."
YOUR PRETTY SECURE IN POINTS. BECAUSE IT'S THE BRICKYARD, DO YOU CHANGE YOUR STRATEGY AT ALL AT THE END OF THE RACE? "This is, for us, this is an all-or-nothing race -- we're trying to win it. We're not completely locked into the Chase by any means, but we're comfortable enough that I think we can risk one race, and this will be it."
JACK ROUSH WAS TALKING ABOUT THE FUTURE OF THE ORGANIZATION EARLIER TODAY, AND HE DIDN'T MENTION JAMIE McMURRAY. IS THE FOCUS NOW ON FOUR TEAMS? "Personally -- I don't know what Jack said -- for me, right now, I have four teammates, and there's five of us. I don't know what was said."
DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF A STUDENT OF THE HISTORY OF RACING, AND, IF SO, WHAT DOES IT MEAN JUST TO COMPETE AT THIS RACE TRACK? "The first time I came here, Kenny Schrader let me work at his shop for a summer when I was in high school, and one of the trips we made, Rick Hendrick's teams had a big test session here, and so, Schrader's truck driver, Huffy, I lived with him in the house right in front of the shop, and they needed an extra truck, I guess, to bring a couple of the Cup cars up here for testing. So, I rode in the right seat, came to Indy, stayed in that hotel back there off of turn two. I was here for, I guess it was a two-day test. It was just so cool. To just be in the garage -- Jeff Gordon was driving by, and Terry Labonte and Kenny Schrader -- and one of the security guys, a real cool guy, I've got a picture of him and I on the front straightaway. He let me go stand out there on the front straightaway, and someone took a picture. I was just hanging out. Just couldn't believe I was at Indianapolis. So to be here as a driver with a chance to win, that's really cool."
CAN YOU DESCRIBE WHAT IT FELT LIKE THE FIRST TIME YOU DROVE DOWN THAT FRONT STRAIGHTAWAY, WITH STANDS ON BOTH SIDES? "Like I was saying, in 1997, or whenever that was when I was here, it was a privelage to let me walk out there and stand on the track, so to be able to drive on it, it is cool. But, you know, until the race is over, it's a race track. When I come down the front straightaway, I try to look around and enjoy it a little bit. I just couldn't imagine how much enjoyment it would be, driving down this front straightaway, getting the checkered flag."
HOW WELL DOES THIS CAR GIVE YOU FEEDBACK ON THESE TRACKS? "This car, it gives you a lot of feedback. It either works, or it doesn't. You go down in the corner, and if it doesn't turn, it doesn't turn. If you're hitting the splitter on the ground or you're chattering the front tires or whatever, you really have got to stop to get it to turn. The difference is, to me, this car, it's a little more like a knife edge -- when it's really good, that's great, but if you go one percent one way or the other, it slows it down a whole bunch. So, it gives you a lot of feedback, but it's really difficult to get perfect."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT DAVID RAGAN AND HIS PROGRESSION THIS YEAR? "David Ragan, he's unbelievable. For a while there, it was a given that I was going to be able to finish in front of him, and that's not the case anymore. He's learning. When you look at David and where he came from, the really small amount of experience he has and had before he came into the Cup series, he's doing an unbelievable job. And I think that he's right on track learning-wise. I think he's going to be really, really good. He's already good, I think he's going to be great. That's how I really feel about him."
HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN YOUR FOCUS AND THE TEAM'S FOCUS THESE NEXT SEVEN RACES LEADING UP TO THE CHASE? "The thing you have to do is treat these next seven races with a lot of respect, and you can't say, 'Hey, we're in,' and start thinking about anything beyond, because this is racing, and the facts are you could blow up three engines in row and all of a sudden be in a bad spot. Anything can happen. So, we're going at these next seven with a lot of respect. This one will be the one we probably take the most chances on, just because it would mean so much just to win this race. So, this is kind of our go-for-it race, and if it doesn't work out, we'll just have to points race from here on out."
- credit: ford racng