Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth are both locked into the Chase for the Nextel Cup. They addressed reporters after practice Friday to discuss the chase and what to expect this weekend at RIR. CARL EDWARDS -- No. 99 Office Depot Ford ...
Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth are both locked into the Chase for the Nextel Cup. They addressed reporters after practice Friday to discuss the chase and what to expect this weekend at RIR.
CARL EDWARDS -- No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion
HOW DOES MAKING THE CHASE THIS YEAR COMPARE TO '05? "This is more satisfying because I think I have a lot more realistic view of how this competition can go. I think in '05, everything just went really well and it all fell into place and we had a great year. We finished tied for second in points and at the end of the year I was a little disappointed. I thought, 'Wow, we were real close to winning.' And then '06 came around and that made me realize that was a good year before -- '06 made me realize how easy it is to have a bad year or a year that you don't run as well as you want to, so that makes this year really great. To win at Michigan and to win at Bristol is really satisfying. To run really well on the road courses has been great and to be locked into the chase two races before we go, that's great."
DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF A DARKHORSE? "I don't know if I'm a darkhorse. We've run well enough lately. Hopefully, we're one of the guys to beat, but it doesn't really matter what people consider you, it's just how you run."
WHAT IS YOUR DEFINITION OF A DARKHORSE? "I wouldn't say that Jimmie Johnson or Jeff Gordon are underdogs. They're not lurking like nobody has noticed has noticed them. I think guys like Clint Bowyer and Martin Truex, I think those guys are the guys that really have the opportunity to surprise everyone this year."
IS TOMORROW NIGHT LIKE AN ALL-STAR RACE MENTALITY? "I guess if there were a tie at the end of the year, second could can be pretty important. But, other than that, there's nothing to do tomorrow night for the top eight guys in points but to go win the race. That's what we're doing and it's really fun. Somebody else said that they've never come to this race without all the pressure and everything and I feel the same way. This place has always been a place where you feel just a little choked down -- you've got a weight on your shoulders -- and it's cool to come here and just be able to have a good time and race."
WILL WE SEE A DIFFERENT KIND OF RACE? "I think you're gonna see a pretty exciting race. I think a lot of people are a little bit disappointed because the points race isn't very exciting, but I think the actual racing on the race track -- the people who buy tickets -- are gonna see a very exciting race just because there are at least eight guys that don't have anything to lose."
WHAT'S IT BEEN LIKE TO BE BACK WITH BOB OSBORNE? "It's been great to be with Bob. I like Bob a lot. He's a funny guy. He's so dry -- hilarious. I really like him. Wally Brown is a great guy and I think we ran really well with Wally. I think we had more top 10s and better runs on average last year when we finished than we have this year, so we've performed just as well, but Bob's a good guy. I hope I can be with Bob for the rest of my career. That would be great."
DOES HIS DRY SENSE OF HUMOR APPEAR ON RACE DAY? "Bob reminds me a lot of somebody like Matt Kenseth. A lot of people don't realize how funny they are. You have to be around them for such a long time because you can't get it in a soundbite. His humor takes months sometimes to come out. It's just really fun to work with him and it's really fun to get to know him really well."
YOU RAN THE SIDE OF A MOUNTAIN LAST WEEK AT CALIFORNIA. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO TONIGHT? "I don't know what I'm gonna do. It's gonna be a long night. I think I'm gonna go rest a little bit in the motor home. I don't know, if Tom comes up with something crazy to do. Last time we were here we went and searched for relics -- Civil War stuff -- with the metal detector, but I think Tom loaned that to Bobby Hudson. I think he's been doing that lately at home, so I don't know. Richmond is such a historic place that it's cool just to go out in the woods and look for stuff. We'll see what happens tomorrow."
DO CUP GUYS LIKE RUNNING IN BUSCH BECAUSE MOST OF THE GUYS ARE THERE TO JUST RACE FOR A WIN? "Yeah. I think all the short track racers around the country, people running at their local dirt tracks, one of the things that's frustrating -- for me it was always frustrating -- because you never know if somebody is cheating or if they've got more money in their motor and stuff like that. At this level, the way the rules are set up, you actually get a great competition. You can go in and really enjoy it. I guess these last couple of weeks I've been able to do that in a Cup car -- just go have fun and enjoy it for the competition and that might be a big part of why these guys go do a Busch race. I do it for points, but if I was running a truck out here, it would just be pure fun. That's all it would be. I'm assuming that, combined with getting paid to do something that fun, that's the reason."
NEXT WEEK IT WON'T BE FUN ANYMORE. "Oh yeah. I've been thinking about it. You've got to be careful not to get out of your zone. I don't think you'll see anybody fist-fighting this week over stuff, but next week could be crazy if something happens because that's it. It's 10 races to determine a champion, so everything is on the line. There are 12 guys who can do it and that's gonna be pretty exciting."
WHAT DID YOU LEARN ABOUT '05 THAT CAN HELP YOU THIS YEAR IN THE CHASE? "In '05 we had great luck. Everything went well, but, assuming we had the same luck, if I could go back to '05, I think we could win the championship just because on those days I ran 15th -- I think we ran pretty poorly at Loudon and Martinsville -- I think I could have done a better job of milking a little bit more out of those races and gain another 20-30 points and it would have been a different season. Hindsight is pretty easy, but that's how I've matured. In '05, if I finished 12th, that was the end of the world. I think in the race car, if you get that mentality, instead of finishing 12th, it's real easy to finish 15th or 18th."
THE FACT THE PRESSURE IS OFF FOR SOME GUYS, WILL THAT EFFECT THIS RACE AT ALL? "It's just like we talked about, there are eight guys that definitely don't have anything to lose. It's gonna make it a fun race for the fans."
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE CHASE BEING 12 INSTEAD OF 10? "I think up to this point making it 12 drivers, you never know how it's gonna turn out. There could be eight guys around 12th, but it turns out there's just one guy in 13th that can possibly make it. I don't think it's really made a big difference, it's probably just made it a little easier as far as anxiety and stress for the guys that are in -- just having those extra two slots built a point cushion for everybody else, but I don't think it's really changed the way the racing has gone on the race track or anything."
WITH SO MANY CHEVYS IN THE CHASE, WILL THAT MAKE YOU GUYS A DARKHORSE? "I'm really proud to be driving a Ford Fusion and I think we've been running better lately. Chevrolet definitely has done a good job this year, but all you can look at is the past month or so in this sport. If you look at the last few races, we've been running really well. Jimmie ran great last week and so did we. At Bristol we were pretty good, Kasey was good. I don't know that there's really a darkhorse right now. I think so many guys are running well that it's gonna be dictated by luck."
THERE ARE STILL 10 BONUS POINTS OUT THERE TOMORROW. "Listen, if it comes to a three-way battle at the end of the race and three guys are under the white flag 1-2-3 and they're all in the chase, that's gonna be pretty exciting. But that's really all we have to gain is just 10 points. Second doesn't really do much for us at this point."
-credit: ford racing