Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion, has two career victories at Pocono Raceway -- including in August 2008. Edwards is in fifth place in the standings heading into this weekend's race. "Our team, we've performed fairly well. We...
Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion, has two career victories at Pocono Raceway -- including in August 2008. Edwards is in fifth place in the standings heading into this weekend's race.
"Our team, we've performed fairly well. We have not had the results that we had hoped to have. We've been steadily getting more and more competitive. That's good. I'd definitely like to have some wins at this point of the season, but there's nothing you can do about that, so for me and my team, right now, the mission is to make sure we're solidly in the Chase and to make sure the progress we've made with our pit crew and our cars and all that, we can really apply it for the last 10 races. I didn't know there was only [six] to go. That's good. We're getting closer. I've been trying to keep my eyes off of that and focus on the races, and if we just have a few good races here. We'll be all right."
IN 2005 ROUSH FENWAY HAD A TREMENDOUS YEAR AND LAST YEAR THE ORGANIZATION HAD A VERY GOOD YEAR. BUT THERE HAVE BEEN UPS AND DOWNS. DO YOU THINK, "WHAT WAS DIFFERENT IN THE GOOD YEARS?" HOW DOES IT SLIP AWAY? "That's a really good question. If you really break it down -- I don't know if it's based on psychology and how people operate in competitive situations, when you gain an advantage, then you don't work on those things because you don't want to mess it up, and maybe during that time other people are working things and maybe they can surpass you; I don't know how it ends up going in waves like that, but for me it definitely has. In 2005, the races that we won were easy to win -- I say easy; it's relative. It wasn't like we backed into them, but we ran really well. And then last season, we won nine races and I really feel there was about 12 or 13 of them that we could've won, if things would've gone just a little bit better. I don't know. I feel like I'm doing a better job this year in a lot of ways than I did last year. Bob is doing a really great job. It's just the way the sport goes. And this season, there's  races left, I guess, and so far Matt Kenseth's won two really big races, and we could still go win 10 races as a team, so I'm not willing to write anything off. I still feel like we can win this championship. I feel very strongly that we can win it, so I guess we'll just have to keep our heads up and keep moving forward and keep working on it. If anybody figures out how come we kind of go like that, you let me know. Hopefully, the worst of our trough, we're through that. I feel like we're on our way up. I hope it's true."
YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE NEW NATIONWIDE MUSTANG? "I know very little of exactly how Ford is going to market the Mustang and how it's going to be developed. And I still don't know exactly what the rules are going to be, but I did see a picture of the car and I got a chance to drive the Nationwide COT. I don't know about you guys, but that picture, that got me excited. That's pretty cool looking. You know, I have a Mustang, my mom's got a Mustang. I like that car a lot. I think that could be good. I talked a little bit about this yesterday at Iowa; what I hope NASCAR does with this Nationwide COT is I hope they take advantage of the opportunity to minimize our dependence on downforce. I don't know if there's time for that left, but, man, it would the best thing they could do. If you look at last week with the race, it ended up being an exciting race at the Brickyard with all the drama that went on at the finish, but for the majority of that race, it was very difficult to pass and you couldn't get close to anyone.
"It's my opinion that the reason for that is our dependence on downforce, and I think that if we were to work on getting rid of that, you'd see races more like races you see at USAC Silver Crown cars and cars like that where it just doesn't matter how close you get to someone."
OR, THE RACING AT ORP-- "Right. ORP is a good example of a track that's small enough that aerodynamics don't make that much of a difference. I believe we could have those types of races at bigger tracks if we could minimize downforce, use mechanical grip, allow Goodyear to make softer tires, and allow mechanical grip to dictate how fast you go."
THERE WAS A NATIONWIDE RACE EARLIER THIS YEAR WHERE YOU PIT-ROAD SPEEDING ISSUES. CAN RELATE TO JUAN MONTOYA AFTER WHAT HAPPENED LAST WEEK? "I saw the coverage of that and I can definitely relate to Juan's frustration there. It's very tough. It's my opinion that the way NASCAR determines pit-road speed, it's way better than it has been, way better than guys up there with stop watches. It's still complex enough, there's enough moving parts there and potential for error that that can be improved, and I think NASCAR will improve it. They've got to look at the things that have happened this year. It's just like anything: if you take out the option for argument, if it's a good enough system in place, then it's harder to question and it's accepted more. I think nthat there's still that could be done so that we all believe that pit-road speed is exactly what it's supposed to be."
LAST YEAR, A PIT STOP PUT YOU IN POSITION TO WIN. PEOPLE HAVE SEEN PIT STRATEGY WIN OTHER RACES. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF PIT STOPS, AND HOW SLOW IS TIME WHEN YOU'RE WAITING FOR A STOP TO BE COMPLETED? "Right now, pit stops are more important than they've been in my five years that I've been doing this. It's so competitive on the race track that a couple of spots gained or lost in the pits can really define your race -- especially if you multiply that over the six pit stops you have in a race, or eight of them. I know there have been a number of races earlier in the year where I feel like we lost a lot of ground on pit stops, and I'm really proud of my guys for working on it. But during those pit stops, when that jack's sitting up there, and you're just waiting for it to drop, those are the longest few seconds of my life. But, it's just tough. You've just got to do what you can. That's what makes this a real team sport on race day -- those guys are just as much of a part of your success or your failure than the driver or the crew chief, and they've got a big responsibility."
WHAT COULD BE DONE IN REGARDS TO MONITORING PIT-ROAD SPEEDS? "First of all, I don't know exactly how they do it. I don't know exactly how they determine the pit-road speed, but what I think could solve a lot of it would be to put a transponder on the pace car and go ahead and run it down pit road, and let everyone see how that works. The only issue I have is we all set our pit-road speed based on the pace car at the beginning of the race. That requires a person in that car, which may or may not be the same car, I don't know that they time through pit road, to set a cruise control setting on the dashboard, I don't know who checks that cruise control, I don't know who checks the tire pressures in that car, I don't know what goes on there. So, I think they need a transponder on the pace car, I think they need to run it down pit road, maybe with the field behind it at pit-road speed before the race starts or something like that, so that everyone is certain that is pit-road speed, and that would correspond with the data that the NASCAR officials look at, if that pace car had a transponder and they could just double-check it. That's the only thing I could say."
JIMMIE JOHNSON SAID EARLIER THAT IF EVERYONE ROUNDED UP $100 MILLION THEN HE'D CONSIDER SITTING OUT THE REST OF THE SEASON. WOULD YOU BE WILLING TO CONTRIBUTE AT ALL? "I'll tell you what: I'd like to be the guy that stops his title run on the race track without paying him. That would be nice. But, $100 million?"
WE DON'T HAVE ANY MONEY YET. COULD YOU DONATE $5, $10? "I don't know. I'd have to think about that. Competitively, I'd rather beat him without paying him. But, there's a lot of people out there. If we went to the fans, we might be able to come up with something there. Good idea. It would cost a lot more than $100 million for me to quit."
YOUR THOUGHTS ON RETURNING TO POCONO? "I'm pretty excited about the race here, to say the least. These last few weeks have been some pretty decent weeks for us. The Brickyard wasn't that great, but this place is cool. It's got some bumps and three different types of corners. Our car usually runs well here. The last race here I felt like it was our race to lose. We had a really good car. I like it -- from the first time I came here. That first race here was really cool -- to come here and win like that, that was neat. I like it. Does it rain here all the time like this? So, we might actually start up front because of that."
-credit: ford racing