Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion, was a winner here at MIS last year and is still in search of his first victory in 2009. He addressed reporters at his hauler after Friday's practice. HOW WAS YOUR CAR ...
Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion, was a winner here at MIS last year and is still in search of his first victory in 2009. He addressed reporters at his hauler after Friday's practice.
HOW WAS YOUR CAR IN PRACTICE? "We spent a lot of time in race trim. Bob said there's a slight chance of rain tomorrow during practice, so we focused on race runs there and then went to qualifying trim. We only got two quick runs, but Greg was real fast so we'll lean on him maybe for a setup for qualifying. This place is an easy place to pass if you've got a fast race car, so I think Bob is doing the right thing. It's a little painful to watch that chart, though, but we'll be alright."
IS THIS THE PLACE TO GET BACK ON TRACK? "I felt like we were in pretty good shape at Dover. I felt like we ran really well at Pocono, exceptionally well. If we can run that well again here on Sunday, that's what we need. Sonoma should be pretty good. We've run pretty well there the last few years. I kind of look at this stretch that it has the potential for us to gain a lot of points if I don't screw something up or without bad luck. Last week, this week, next week, it should be good."
CAN YOU PINPOINT A REASON WHY ROUSH HAS BEEN SO GOOD HERE? "It's been great crew members. We run well here. The first Cup race I ever ran was here and I finished 10th and all of our cars finishing in the top 10 and I thought, 'Boy, this is gonna be an easy career (laughing).' The fact is we don't run that well at all of them, but we do run well here and I don't know why. We've got great engines. I think all of my teammates do a really good job with this style of race track. I don't know if Jack does a little something extra because this is in his backyard. I don't know if Ford is doing something extra, but we do run well here. I like it."
DO YOU FEEL A COMFORT LEVEL KNOWING FORD IS IN BETTER SHAPE THAN GM OR CHRYSLER? "I couldn't be more proud to be aligned with Ford Motor Company. I'm not an economist. I don't understand everything that's going on with all the money in the country, but what I do know is that Ford is standing on its own feet. They make good decisions and the best thing that bodes well for Ford in the future is that the cars that they make are the best cars on the road. They're fun to drive. They get the best fuel mileage, and, hopefully, that's what allows Ford to be the number one auto manufacturer in the world in the future. I'm just glad to be a part of it."
DO YOU SEE YOURSELF HAVING A RUN NOW LIKE THE END OF LAST YEAR? "I hope so. At the end of last season, I felt like every track we went to we could win, even our worst track -- Martinsville -- we ran third or fourth there and we were just running great. We haven't had as much strength or speed this year, but we're kind of creeping up on it. Last week felt like 2008 to me. We had great pit stops. We were fast on the race track. We had good strategy and if we can kind of peak at the right time with 10 races to go, it's gonna be good."
WHY HAS IT BEEN A STRUGGLE? "We haven't struggled, but we just haven't been as strong and it could be any number of reasons. Sometimes you're a victim of your own success. You run really well at places and you think, 'We'll not mess with that,' and everybody else kind of catches up or surpasses you a little bit and then you have to go back to the drawing board and catch up again. That's the sport. It goes up and down. You look at anybody in the garage and they've gone through those waves. The goal, though, is to keep the amplitude of those ups-and-downs real small, so we can kind of keep to the upside. I can't point to one reason. The one thing that stands out is our pit crew. We had guys with injuries and we really struggled at the beginning of the year and that's finally coming around, so that's good."
HAS IT BEEN FRUSTRATING NOT TO WIN? "Trust me, every single guy in this garage wants to win every race, but I've learned to base my satisfaction with a race on a performance and not on a result. I feel like personally I've performed very well and I feel like Bob's done a really good job, and there's nothing saying we won't go win 15 races in a row. Anything can happen. I think we all learned that last year with the chase, how things shook up from Richmond to Homestead, so I'm feeling pretty good, actually. This is probably the best week I've had. I feel the most confident after these last couple of weeks than I have all year."
HOW SPECIAL WOULD IT BE TO WIN HERE? "We stopped up at Ford yesterday and we got to drive all the new vehicles. We abused some of them terribly, but we had a good time. It would be great to win here. The wins here are very special. I mean, when you see Jack Roush's face light up in Victory Lane and all the folks from Ford and all the pride they have to run well here, that would be a special win."
ONCE YOU WIN WILL THE MEDIA AND FANS GET OFF YOUR BACK? "It doesn't matter. I know how well we can run. If we don't win a race this whole season, we can still win the championship by a landslide. You just go do the best you can and, like I said before, we're victims of our own success last season. Everyone expects so much, but I've been through that in 2006 when everybody picked me to win the championship and I didn't win a race. So I know how it goes and, yeah, it will feel real good to win."
DO YOU HAVE TO REMIND YOURSELF ABOUT THE BIG PICTURE? "No, it's hard to explain it to you guys because you look at it from a high altitude and the way everything goes. You look at the stats and everything and the fact is I get in that race car and I drive my butt off, and I do it every week, and I do it the same every week and, if I win the race, that's great. If I run 30th, I still drove just as hard. Sometimes my little victories, you might not see them in the highlights, but taking a 20th-place car and running 10th with it is often times a lot harder than winning a race with the best car, but it did take me a while to learn that. When I first came into this sport if I wasn't winning or I didn't finish as well as I wanted to I thought, 'Oh my gosh, the world is gonna end. It's terrible,' but I've learned if you just stay true to the course and do your best, you'll get the results eventually."
WHEN DID THAT SINK IN? "I think that was 2006, where the season started off and I had such high expectations for myself and everyone had this pressure on us, and I realized about halfway through that season that this is not easy. Your past success does not guarantee you anything in the future, you just have to keep working. I kind of had a little bit of a shift in thinking that season, and I think it made me mature a lot as a driver."
HOW SOON WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE DOUBLE-FILE RESTARTS IN NATIONWIDE? "Like I said about the double-file restart last week, I think it's great, but I do think they have to do something to give the leader his own row. It's just not right that a guy goes all the way up there and leads the race, and has a five-second lead or something and now he has to start right next to someone. As long as they maybe gave the leader a little more something there --- he's the leader. He shouldn't have to line up against somebody. That's the only thing I'm against right now on it, but if they could implement that style of double-file restart in the Nationwide Series, I would be all for it tomorrow night."
-credit: ford racing