Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Subway Ford Fusion, is eighth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings coming into this weekend's race. He spoke to the media at his hauler after Friday's first Cup practice session. HOW WAS YOUR ...
Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Subway Ford Fusion, is eighth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings coming into this weekend's race. He spoke to the media at his hauler after Friday's first Cup practice session.
HOW WAS YOUR CUP SESSION? "I'm glad to have Subway on the car. The only problem with that is I never had that color of a car before, so I had trouble finding it in the garage. But once I got in my car, it was OK. We weren't really fast on our fastest lap, but I feel like we're very competitive once we get a few laps on the tires. Bob still has a bunch of stuff he's changing and the big thing is we just want to run really well here in the Subway 500 with the Subway Ford Fusion and it's just really cool to have them on the car."
HOW MUCH DO YOU RELY ON BOB FOR CHANGES AT THIS TRACK? "At almost every track we go to now it's Bob and the engineers that make the real decisions. I'm just there to relay what the car is doing and give them feedback. They make a ton of decisions, which I'm glad. It's tough to make calls on what to do with the race car when you have a limited amount of practice."
WHAT MAKES THIS TRACK DIFFERENT? "The thing that makes this track different, that's going to be different this weekend, is we're practicing in a different climate than we're going to race. We were just talking about how do we predict what's gonna happen the last 100 laps of this race."
WHAT HAPPENED IN NATIONWIDE PRACTICE TODAY? "I was out there running around at speed and the 32 car pulled out. He didn't know, I guess, anywhere near and we were closing at a big rate. He moved up a lane, I went underneath him and then he turned back down. He told me the first time he knew I was there was when our cars hit one another, so it's frustrating for sure, but that stuff happens."
HOW DO YOU LIKE COMING TO PHOENIX? "I love coming to Phoenix. Yesterday we hiked over at Camelback and had a really good time. Then we just kind of drove around. We went out to that big mall they've got out there in Scottsdale and that was kind of fun. We just hung out. I love the weather here, the hiking and stuff like that, and the people here seem to really be into racing, so that's cool."
HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THE SCHEDULE LIKE THIS WEEK? "I wish every weekend was like this. This is great. A two-day race weekend is perfect. We can obviously get everything done we need to get done in one day for the Nationwide Series. It's less expensive for everyone and it's less time consuming, so this is great. I'd rather be hectic like this for two days then be twiddling our thumbs for four."
HOW TOUGH WAS IT LAST WEEK? "It's always tough when you have trouble of any type. The week before in Texas we were gonna run third or fourth and got run into, and then last week to be on pit road and have trouble, that's just part of it. You have to learn to deal with that stuff. You can't change it once it happens no matter how hard you try and I all the time in my mind. I think that there's that first few seconds of denial, but once I get over that, you just have to do what you can. All of my guys work hard and I'm behind them 100 percent."
WHAT WILL THE PIT CREW CHANGE MEAN? "I hope that our new tire changer does well. I wish we were going to Talladega first and not here because it's gonna be imperative to have great pit stops and it could be pivotal if you have a bad one. I wish we weren't starting him right here at Phoenix, but you never know, he might perform very, very well."
WHERE DID HE COME FROM? "He came from a truck team.?
A TRUCK TEAM FROM ROUSH? "No."
YOU HAVE TWO GUYS INJURED AND OUT FOR A WHILE, SO THAT CHANGES THINGS, RIGHT? "Right. There's no constant here. Even the tire changer that we just replaced as the front tire changer, but the guy that we got -- this will be his first race with us -- he's not gonna change the fronts. They put him on the rears and put our rear tire change, who has been filling in for Kyle Lewis, who is injured, they put him on the front. So now there are two guys with two new jobs on our race car this week. That's fine if they end up being good at those jobs and getting comfortable with them by the time the chase starts. The problem is if we can't hit that stride and do well, we're gonna be in deep trouble when the chase comes, so we've got to work hard at this."
YOU TRY NOT TO GET TOO INVOLVED, BUT YOU HAVE TO THINK ABOUT IT. "Yeah. I went and spoke with Les Ebert and some of the trainers at the shop and they explained to me what they're doing to fix it. I believe in them, but my job is to drive that race car and when I pull onto pit road, it's in their hands and I can just hope that we get it fixed and we can have a strong crew that we can have for years to come because this has been something that's hurt our performance. Nobody is pointing fingers, but it has hurt our performance for years now and we've got to fix it."
DO YOU HAPPEN TO KNOW THE NEW GUY'S NAME? "It's Brandon, but I don't know his last name. (Brandon Hopkins)."
HOW MUCH DO THE CHANGES ON PIT ROAD AFFECT YOUR TEAM BECAUSE PEOPLE LOOK AT YOU AND SAY YOU HAVEN'T WON YET? "The fact is that we can all say woulda, shoulda, coulda or whatever, but there are like five to eight races over my career in Cup that I feel like we would have won if it weren't for trouble that we had on pit road. That's a lot of races. I can only imagine that guys just love it when we have yellow flags because they know they can pass me on pit road, so it's just very frustrating. The crazy thing is I talk to Robbie Reiser about it and he's doing everything he can. He threw up his hands and said, 'Carl, I've never seen a situation like this where if it's not one thing it's another.' If it's not someone having a bad day, it's an injury. It's not like there's just one thing we can say, 'Alright, we're gonna change this and now we'll be great. It's just one of those circumstances and I hope that we can get all of this out of the way and be good in the chase and be good in the future because this sport is becoming so competitive you have to have all parts of it working well."
HOW DO YOU BOND WITH YOUR GUYS SO THEY DON'T GET STRESSED OUT OVER IT? "All I can do is just do the best job that I can do. That's it. Those guys have to do their job and I have to do my job. It doesn't matter how much patting each other on the back we do or hanging out we do, when it comes down to crunch time and you're leading the race and you come on pit road, everything's got to go well. I have the same responsibility on restarts and qualifying and times when it's time to really go. The reason I think we can work through it so well is they don't yell at me when I make mistakes and I don't yell at them when they make mistakes and I think through this have realized we're all in this together and we just have to get better."
ARE YOU GUYS RUNNING LIKE YOU THOUGHT AS AN ORGANIZATION? "With Matt winning the first two races, and then I felt like at Las Vegas I had the fastest car. We had all that engine trouble. At Martinsville, I felt like I had the best car I've ever had. I drove past everybody to, I think, second or third and then we had our pit stop problem and then a flat tire. Obviously Texas was good and Bristol was terrible, but, other than Bristol, I think we've really performed pretty well. Matt, Greg or myself all could have won Texas, I think. I don't know how to rank us right now. I'd say we're not stellar, but we're not any worse than we were last year, it's just that things to this point haven't fallen perfectly for us."
DO YOU FRET OVER IT? "All I can look at is where our position is in the points right now and how it compares to last season is fairly close. If we go win the next 10 races in a row, if we don't make the chase, this season is a failure. So that's the mission right now. It's not to worry, just to focus and do the best we can. If we run ninth in the next 15 races and solidify our position in the chase, that's just what we do and that will still be a success. So we're measuring success in making the chase and winning the championship, not how we're finishing right now."
JIMMIE JOHNSON SAID HE'S HAD TO GET MORE PHYSICAL ON THE WHEEL AT THIS TRACK. WHAT DOES HE MEAN? "Jimmie is probably just saying that to throw everybody else off. He's awfully fast and he looks awfully smooth to me. If that's physical, I don't know. But what he's saying is sometimes you have to manhandle the car a little bit here and there are times when that works really well. It's really fun, too. At a big, fast, smooth race track, you can be very, very smooth and precise. Sometimes here you've got to go in there and bounce the thing off the apron, slide up and hit a patch on the pavement, turn it sideways and go and that's really fun."
-credit: ford racing