Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion, has had an eventful week after Sunday's last-lap accident at Talladega Superspeedway. First, he drove the milestone leg of the Ford Fusion Hybrid Challenge on Monday in which he...
Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion, has had an eventful week after Sunday's last-lap accident at Talladega Superspeedway. First, he drove the milestone leg of the Ford Fusion Hybrid Challenge on Monday in which he hit the 1,000-mile mark on one tank of fuel. Second, he made the national media rounds that included stops with Larry King and Ellen DeGeneres to talk about Sunday's accident. He spoke about all of that during his Q&A session Friday afternoon.
IT WAS A BUSY WEEK. "Yeah, we got to do a lot of media this week but not for the reasons I wanted. I'm just happy I didn't have to use my Aflac insurance and I'm good. I'm glad to be at Richmond."
HAVE YOU LOOKED AT THE VIDEO AND YOUR CAR SINCE THE WRECK? "I didn't get a chance to look at the car. They got it all apart before we could really take a better look at it, so when I walked away from it Sunday that's the last I saw of it."
WAS A HEADACHE THE ONLY LINGERING EFFECT YOU HAD FROM THE WRECK? "Yeah, no worse than any other wreck that I've been in as far as physical pain or anything like that, so everything in the car did its job and I'm real glad for that."
WAS IT QUIET WHEN YOU GOT AIRBORNE? "Yeah, it was a little strange when I realized I was off the ground. It surprised me when I hit the fence. I didn't realize I was going towards the fence at that sharp of an angle, so that surprised me when I hit it. That got my attention."
ANY THOUGHTS ABOUT HOW TO KEEP THE CARS OUT OF THE AIR? "Yesterday, I went down to Daytona with Jack and we talked with a group of folks from NASCAR and it was really a good talk, and I think that we're all on the same page and that we want to do whatever we can to make these races as safe as they can be for everybody -- the fans and the drivers and all that. We've come a long ways in the last however many years, but there's still stuff that can be done. All we did was talk about things that really needed to be done and they're working on ideas of things to be done, so I'm real excited about seeing what they come up with and, hopefully, it's stuff that keeps wrecks like that from happening."
WHAT DID YOU SUGGEST? "I'm not an engineer, so I didn't tell them, 'This is how it has to be,' but the bottom line is unless you take the banking out of that race track or we don't go race there, you've got this big problem trying to keep the cars apart, keep them slow, and that's the battle. There's history there and the fans enjoy that, but there's also the real problem of having a group of cars run like that, so it's something they've worked on for a long time with restrictor plates, and they've worked on the safety stuff, but there are still things to be done. I don't know exactly what it's gonna be, but I'm hoping that there's something we can do."
HOW WAS YOUR CONVERSATION WITH BLAKE? "My conversation with Blake was great. I talked to her mom first because Blake's jaw is wired shut, so she couldn't talked much, but her mom was real cool and she just thanked the Lord for shining down on her and thanked everybody for their support and their prayers, and then I talked to Blake and she was upbeat about it. She was mumbling a little bit, but she seemed really cool. She's a 17 year old girl and I hope she comes out of this alright in all ways."
YOUR COMMENTS ON SUNDAY WERE VERY STRONG. ARE YOU GLAD YOU EXPRESSED YOURSELF THAT WAY? "Yeah, for sure. That's how I felt and that's what I believe. I also believe that there are things that can be done. We're all in this together -- NASCAR, me, the owners, all the other drivers. No one wants to see anybody get hurt, but I think what I said needed to be said and that's how I felt at the time, and I hope people respect that."
DID YOU LEARN MUCH WITH THE NASCAR MEETING? "Yeah, I learned a lot, and hopefully they learned a little bit about me and the driver's perspective. They said they would talk to some other drivers, which I think that would be really good, but I definitely learned about where they're coming from in trying to make the sport the best it can be. We all shook hands and understood, so, hopefully, something comes out of it."
DO YOU REALISTICALLY EXPECT TO SEE ANYTHING DIFFERENT A YEAR OR TWO FROM NOW AT THOSE TRACKS? "Time will tell. We'll see what comes out of it. I've just got to have faith that something will be done."
WHAT WAS GOING THROUGH YOUR MIND WHEN YOU GOT OUT OF THE CAR AND DECIDED TO RUN ACROSS THE FINISH LINE? "Well, I just wanted to finish the race. That's it. I wasn't really sure, but I thought there might be a small chance it could count for something. I don't know. At least I'd have something I could argue later, but you've got to get all the points you can one way or another."
PEOPLE WERE IMPRESSED YOU HAD ENOUGH THOUGHT TO WANT TO FINISH THAT WAY. "That's the first thing, after I got in the wall and I was sliding I thought, 'Damn, I'm not gonna make it to the finish line,' and then I heard some cars go by and I thought, 'Well, maybe I'll make it there. I'll just be punted by someone.' So, yeah, you can't stop that close to the finish line and not go across it. I can't."
ANY REASON YOU DID LARRY KING AND ELLEN? "No. I'm a fan of both of theirs and it was cool to be able to be on both of those shows. They're a lot of fun." HOW IS YOUR CAR HERE? "My car is absolutely terrible right now, so we've got an hour-and-a-half to get it better and I hope we do because it's embarrassing bad right now. We'll get it though. We'll get something. Bob always pulls something out of his hat."
WHAT ABOUT BUMP DRAFTING AT TALLADEGA? WHO HAS TO POLICE IT? NASCAR OR THE DRIVERS? "You can't. If you take all the bump drafting out of the deal you're still gonna have wrecks and stuff like that at Talladega because everybody is together. It puts everybody in a tough position. We've given the fans something that's so exciting and so entertaining, but there's more risk there. We talked in depth about it yesterday. We looked at it from all different angles. The coolest part is NASCAR has an open mind. It's not like the got me down there and yelled at me for saying bad things about the racing. We sat down and we talked about it, and I think that's all we can do is do the best we can to deliver the best sport and the safest sport to the fans and that's good."