Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion, comes into this weekend's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race ranked 10th in the point standings. Edwards held a Q&A session after Friday's practice at Martinsville Speedway. CARL EDWARDS...
Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion, comes into this weekend's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race ranked 10th in the point standings. Edwards held a Q&A session after Friday's practice at Martinsville Speedway.
CARL EDWARDS -- No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion
YOUR OPINION ON THE COT AFTER ONE RACE AND TODAY'S PRACTICE? "I don't think the car is as bad as a lot of people are saying it is. The biggest thing is it's different. A change is often accompanied by lots of complaining, so I think it's gonna be pretty good. We just practiced here at Martinsville and the Office Depot Fusion was pretty good and it really feels about the same to me."
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT IT? "The things I like about the car or tomorrow is real simple, it's the safety. The safety improvements are really the best thing. The other cars do drive just a little bit better, but safety is good."
SO YOU'LL TAKE THAT TRADE, SAFETY OVER DRIVEABILITY? "I like the old car and I like the new car. The deal is we are going to run these new cars, so it's what we have to get used to."
WHAT ABOUT THE SHORT TRACK MENTALITY YOU HAVE TO HAVE HERE? "The toughest part about short track racing is that short track mentality. You have to be mentally tough. You have to be able to sit there for 500 laps and not make mistakes, not get excited if something doesn't go your way, and not get angry. That's the toughest part about racing at Martinsville."
WHEN SOMEBODY CUTS YOU OFF OR HITS YOU FROM BEHIND EARLY, WHAT DO YOU DO TO CONTROL YOUR EMOTIONS? "Actually, what I do is if people cut me off, I've got little voodoo dolls for each guy in the car and I've got a bunch of pins. I don't resort to on-track violence. I let the black magic work and that works for me."
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES OF MARTINSVILLE? "I grew up racing at half-mile dirt tracks with 25-lap features. You could go up and on the cushion and make something happen. You could close two or three car lengths on a guy. Here at Martinsville, it's so much different. It's a different mentality. If you do everything perfectly, you might close in a foot a lap on somebody, so to pass someone or catch someone might take 40 laps. It's so difficult to pace yourself and do that. That's the hardest part."
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT THIS TRACK? "The things I love about this track is how exciting it is for the fans. It's so different. These short track races, especially Martinsville, it's just a different mentality. When you get to about 100 laps to go, the race always takes a different shape. You'll realize that, 'OK, the outside lane is a little quicker,' and on the restart you'll sit up there for a little while and then all of a sudden everybody will switch to the bottom. I don't know how to explain it, except to say that it takes on its own character and by the end of the race you have these set of skills that really don't apply anywhere else."
HOW DID THE RACING SEEM TO YOU AT BRISTOL? "I thought the racing seemed about the same at Bristol. I don't know, it must have looked different from the grandstands because it seemed pretty wild to me where I was sitting."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE SAFETY OF THE CAR? "I didn't notice any difference when you contacted someone with the car of tomorrow. If you bumped someone to move them out of the way, it was really a little bit easier on the car of tomorrow because you don't really run under their rear bumper. The rear bumper and the front bumper meet real well."
IS THAT A GOOD THING? "I don't know. I saw a couple times there at Bristol, it even happened to me there at the end, you could hit a guy real hard on accident, or if something happened like the guy stopped in front of you and you hit him, instead of lifting his rear tires off the ground and turning him around, it was kind of like a longitudinal hit. You just hit. You'd slow down and he went faster, but you didn't lift his rear tires off the ground. I think that might be better in the long run for keeping wrecks from happening out of just tiny bumps."
DID YOU HAVE ANY PROBLEMS WITH HEAT? "I didn't have any problems with heat. I know Matt Kenseth had trouble with some exhaust melting the foam, and today we were burning a little bit of foam there. It's something we'll work out, though. We've got a great coolbox with a filtering unit in it and that seems to help a lot. Anything in the race car I don't smell."
DO YOU TAKE OXYGEN? "No, I don't take oxygen. I've only done that one time. I got some carbon monoxide pretty bad and I took some oxygen after the race, but I don't make it a habit of doing that."
WHAT WAS THE CAR LIKE HERE IN PRACTICE? "I think it's pretty good. It's a little bit tighter. It's the same deal as at Bristol, you just don't have that travel in the front end, so it's really gonna lock up the left-front on the corners with the bump stops, but it really has a lot of grip. I was surprised off the corner. I don't know if it's the tire, the concrete or the car, but mine has a ton of grip off the corner and it feels pretty good."
WHAT WAS IT LIKE WITHOUT TESTING HERE? "I was a little nervous, but now I feel pretty good. I was telling Bob (Osborne), relative to the field this is the best we've been since coming here, so change may be good for us. Hopefully it is."
WHEN THEY CHANGE TIRES, HOW MUCH DOES THAT IMPACT TEAMS? "The tire change can sometimes really throw you off. For instance, we went to Richmond the last couple of day to test the Busch car and it just felt a little bit different to me. It took a long time for me to get the feel of that tire, whereas the last time we were there with the other tire, we felt like we had a pretty good handle on it, so it's kind of hit and miss. If your engineers are on top of it, they can usually make it feel about the same, but it's still and unknown. It can be a small change or a big change, you just don't know until you get in the car."
-credit: ford racing