Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion, is in sixth place in the standings heading into this weekend's race at Michigan. Edwards, who has two career wins at MIS, visited the infield media center prior to Friday's practice. "This is...
Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion, is in sixth place in the standings heading into this weekend's race at Michigan. Edwards, who has two career wins at MIS, visited the infield media center prior to Friday's practice.
"This is a fun weekend. Yesterday I went to Livonia to Roush Industries and Jack's museum. We had a couple thousand of people, it looked like, that came out. They had a car show -- Mustangs, Thunderbirds and a lot of neat stuff, and it was really cool to meet all of those fans, and I got to sign autographs with Jack and his daughter and Erik Darnell and Matt. Met a lot of cool folks. This place is special for me. This marks my fifth year in Cup, this race, this weekend. So, that's pretty good memories from five years ago this weekend, and our success here has been great. So, I look forward to this one."
IS THIS THE VERY BEST PLACE FOR YOU TO GET YOUR FIRST WIN OF THE YEAR? "This is a good spot. The way things were going a little bit differently last week, we might've gotten our first win at Watkins Glen -- who would've expected that, you know? So, it is what it is. I go do the best I can -- if I win the next 10 in a row, that's what happens, and if we don't win one, we don't win. All I can do is the best I can, and, you're right, I put more pressure on myself than anyone. The mission, right now, as much as people would like to write the story -- 'Hey, they broke through and got a win this season' -- I'm way more interested in being in the Chase and winning the championship. That's the key. So, if we get the wins, we get 'em. Yeah, this will be a good place. We've had, I think, the best average finish of any track, I'm not sure, but this seems that it's right up there as far as all the tracks we go to. For me, this is a good one."
THIS TRACK HAS SEEN A LOT FUEL-MILEAGE WINS. SO, IS THAT A STRATEGY FOR YOU GOING IN, KNOWING THAT'S HOW IT COULD VERY WELL END? AND, AS A DRIVER, DO YOU EVEN HAVE TO HEAR THE CREW CHIEF SAY, "START SAVING FUEL"? "Yeah, it always helps if the crew chief says that, but the June race here, that last lap people were running out of fuel, and I said afterward, and I still feel, that those races are really exciting for the drivers. I mean, they're nerve-wracking, it's another variable. You try to save fuel -- I don't know if you're actually saving it or it seems like you are. But I've been really fortunate. We get great fuel mileage with our Ford Fusion. And, I did think about that this week, because we've had such great fuel mileage, I need to stay on top of that. Throughout the race I try to be aware when I'm driving so that when that last run comes, when Bob says, 'Our best run you got this mileage and that's how close you'll make it to the end,' I've got to drive like that. So, I'll be focused on it. Because it does happen a lot."
IS THERE PRESSURE TO WIN HERE IN JACK ROUSH'S BACKYARD? AND, IF IT IS, HOW IS THAT EXPRESSED TO YOU? "There is that pressure, but it's not from Jack, directly. It's expressed when all the folks from Ford, and Jack and his family, and all of the people from Roush Industries are standing there in Victory Lane. I've been fortunate enough to stand in Victory Lane with them a couple of times -- I mean, the joy and elation and excitement. I guess the way I'm putting it is I didn't realize the pressure until after I saw how happy everyone was. And now I realize that's what we're shooting for here. I've seen Jack do flyovers at the Truck race in his P-51. This place is special, so, that pressure comes from that feeling that I've had here before, I'd like to have again."
IT'S BEEN A WHILE SINCE YOU'VE WON A RACE. DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU CAN WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP THIS YEAR WITHOUT WINNING A RACE? AND DO YOU PRACTICE BACKFLIPS JUST TO STAY SHARP? "I got to do a couple of backflips in the Nationwide Series, so I feel good. Trust me: If I win the Cup race, it'll be no problem doing a backflip. I'll have lots of energy. You could definitely win a championship without winning races. I'd rather not win one that way. It's funny: As a driver, I go out and do the very best I can in every race. I mean I drive as hard as I can, I try to get everything I can. And at the end of the race, you get your result. If it's a win, then that's great. If it's 20th and you did your job right, that's all a person can do. It's only been, what, 20 races, 21 races, 22 races since we won? I think I've won 15 or 16 in the five years that I've been doing this, so a few a year, average in the five years I've been doing this. I'd like to win the next 20 in a row, 10 in a row, whatever, but all I can do is the best I can. I think once our team , on a whole, gets more competitive, more like we were last season, if our on-track performance goes to where it was last season, our pit crew is better now then it was, I think we can have some amazing results. But, until then, I'll just keep driving."
ARE YOU GETTING TIRED ABOUT TALKING ABOUT HAVING A GOOD SEASON, DESPITE NOT HAVING WON? YOU ARE SIXTH IN POINTS, BUT THE PERCEPTION IS THAT IT'S NOT THE SEASON THAT YOU HAD HOPED FOR BECAUSE YOU HAVEN'T WON YET. "Of course. That goes without saying. I don't even know what to say about it. Obviously, I would like to win; that's why I do this. It just seems to me a little foolish to even ask it because it's so obvious that that's what I'm here to do, so I don't know what to say. I'm doing my best, just like I did last year. But I understand. The reason I don't get upset about it is because I understand that that's part of it. You guys have to ask and people wanted to know, 'Hey, how's it feel? What do you think about it?' But. It's like saying, 'Want to talk about a dog that got run over when I was a kid?' It's not something fun to talk about, you know what I mean?"
ON THE 2009 SEASON. "From where I sit, yeah, I think I've done a better job this season than I have in a lot of -- I've done as good or better job this season than I had last season. We don't have the results to show for it, but I feel I've done a really job. We've had some scenarios. I mean, let's just look at this, guys. If we would've had a good pit stop at the end of the race in Texas, would've won the race. If things would've gone a little bit differently at Talladega, I would've won Talladega. Pocono, if I didn't have to worry so much about fuel mileage there, about points, it's very possible I could've won that race. I mean, those are legitimate; three races, could've won. Nobody would've been asking me questions. That question wouldn't even exist, and the only reason it does is because of just very slight extraneous small things. So, if I were to go and change my whole mode of competition based on slight things that I can't control, that would be really foolish. I don't know what else I'm supposed to do. I do the best I can, you know? All you have to do is go back and look and Jeff Gordon went for a while without winning, and everybody all of these theories, and all of a sudden he started winning again, and everybody was like, 'Oh, everything is okay.' It's not like he was doing anything differently. So, I giess if there's fans or media who feel like I'm tired of answering that question, I just don't feel like there's any substance to it. I think there's a question that's more pertinent, and that's, 'Are you doing anything differently?' The answer is 'no.'"
YOU HAVE TWICE COME CLOSE TO WINNING A CHAMPIONSHIP: IN 2005 AND 2008. ON THE SURFACE, 2006 LOOKS LIKE 2009, BUT IN TERMS OF CONSISTENCY, THIS IS A FAR BETTER SEASON. SO, BASICALLY, DID YOU LEARN ANYTHING IN 2006 THAT HELPED YOU THIS YEAR? "That's a good question. I learned something that applies to the question earlier: About halfway through 2006, I felt like some of the fans that [were] mentioned may have perceived me feeling now, I felt like, 'This is not going like I want.' I almost was a little panicked. I thought, have all this expectation, all these people, and my sponsors now, and I thought, 'Man, I have to make something work because I have to win, because that's what we did last year and that's what everyone expects. I realized about halfway through that season that that line of thinking was not going to be productive. That was going to head me down the wrong path. So I think that thing I learned the most, the thing I valued the most from the lessons I learned in 2006, was just be calm, be confident, know, 'Hey, I can do this, I'm not doing anything differently, this is just the way racing works sometimes.' So, I think that's the biggest lesson from 2006."
DO YOU FEEL YOU'RE RUNNING GOOD RIGHT NOW ENOUGH TO WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP? "That's a good question. That is something that I am just a little concerned about. I feel like we're getting better. I feel like we're getting close. We still need to be better. I feel like Jimmie and the 48 are the guys to beat. Obviously, Tony's really good. He's accumulated a lot more points than anyone else so far this season. I feel like he's right there, neck and neck, with them, and for us to be able to beat those guys, without any luck involved, we're going to have to get just a little better. We've been working hard, we've been working really hard, found a couple of small things that could be really good. We need to b e better at some tracks like Loudon, need to make better decisions at Talladega, and even on these mile-and-a-halfs, need to be just a little bit better, still."
-credit: ford racing