Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Taurus, is testing a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series car for the first time at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for next month's Daytona 500. Edwards spoke about his goals for the...
Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Taurus, is testing a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series car for the first time at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for next month's Daytona 500. Edwards spoke about his goals for the season during a Preseason Thunder Q&A session.
CARL EDWARDS - No. 99 Office Depot Taurus
KURT WAS TALKING ABOUT HOW THE GONG SHOW HELPED HIM DEAL WITH THE PRESSURE OF THE CHASE. HAS THAT EXPERIENCE DONE THE SAME FOR YOU? "To be honest with you, I didn't go through the Gong Show the same way that Kurt did. Max Jones was kind of heading up that thing, the way I understand it, and they kind of picked me at the last minute right before Daytona and I didn't have to go through that stuff. But it feels like, to me, that my whole career has kind of felt like that. I've always been just kind of hanging on by a thread and luckily I got to join in with Jack Roush and now I feel like things have changed a little bit. So, for me, every Saturday night I was racing at the local dirt track I had that stress, so I can only imagine the Chase for the Cup. I will tell you what, I was at the North Wilkesboro and Darlington watching the Gong Show this year and, man, I would not have traded places with those guys for anything. They were worn out."
WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR THIS SEASON? "My goals for this season, and our Office Depot 99 team's goals in the Cup Series is to go out there and not make mistakes that people plan on us making - to try and not dig ourselves a hole. I want to get as much experience as I can and, hopefully, be in a position to win a race or two before the year is over. That's what we really want to do. I think a victory for us this season would be to be in the championship chase at the end of the year. At that point, I think we'll have a little more experience and be able to set our goals after that, so that's what we're looking forward to. Plus, Jack has given me the opportunity to drive the Charter car in the Busch Series, which, to me, is unbelievable. There's nothing other than that (a championship) that we're focused on in the Busch Series."
WILL IT BE FUN? "For me, yeah. That's the way I look at it because I really love to drive race cars. I go to sleep every night and think, 'Man, this is the greatest thing in the world.' I don't know if Jack realizes it, but I've only driven one Busch race really."
JACK ROUSH , Car Owner - No. 99 Office Depot Taurus
"Running one series for a championship and another series to survive is going to be the hardest thing he's ever done. It's perfect."
"That's a dream for every race car driver out there. That's gonna be a lot of races and it's gonna be cool."
"It's going to be nearly 80 races plus the tests, so you're going to be busy."
"I'm ready. It's gonna be great. I'm excited. I don't know if that comes across real well, but I'm really excited."
HOW HAS TESTING GONE SO FAR? "First of all, the testing is going great. I'm having a blast. Bob Osborne, my crew chief, we weren't as fast as we wanted to be early in the day and I was over there asking him all these questions and he said, 'Look, this is my first Daytona as a crew chief.' I was like, 'Alright, I'll lay off for a little while.' We got faster towards the end of the day and our teammates are really fast, so we feel pretty good about it. I'm looking forward to the drafting sessions. As far as my aggression level, I still feel like the guys in the Nextel Cup Series - all the drivers and teams - deserve a lot of respect. So, to me, I think the thing to do would be to take our Office Depot car out there and just take what we can get - go easy - and maybe at the halfway point of the season take stock and see where we stand and go after that."