Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Fusion, is coming off his first win of the season when he took the checkered flag in last week's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway. Edwards addressed the media after...
Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Fusion, is coming off his first win of the season when he took the checkered flag in last week's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway. Edwards addressed the media after Friday's practice session.
CARL EDWARDS -- No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion
THE WEEK AFTER A WIN IS ALWAYS BUSY, BUT BUSY IN A GOOD WAY, RIGHT? "Yeah, this has been a great week. Anytime you win a Nextel Cup Series race it feels great. I'm just real proud of our Office Depot team and excited to come here to Sonoma. We tested real well with these new COT Fusions and it was pretty good in practice. I'm just looking forward to a fun weekend."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE COT HERE? "The car seems to run pretty well. I'm pretty happy with it. I don't know how the times compared to the old stock cars, but they feel pretty good. Mine drives really well."
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES FROM THE OLD CAR? "I don't know. I've only run here a couple times and, honestly, I can't tell you what the changes are. I'm out there sawing on the wheel just trying to stay on the race track. Really, the only thing I think you're gonna see is maybe a tick slower speed through some of the corners and stuff, but a mile an hour here or there adds up a lot on this race track, but as a driver you can't really feel it."
ARE THE BRAKE POINTS ABOUT THE SAME? "Yeah, I'm hitting the brakes almost at the same time, but the only part where I'm having trouble with the actual physical shape of this car is into the last hairpin corner. There's a dip where you used to be able to slam the brakes right there when you got to it and I'm smashing the splitter on the ground there, so that's a little bit tough."
HOW DO YOU RATE YOURSELF AS A ROAD COURSE RACER? "I'm getting better and better as a road course racer. I give myself a B for last season. The first season I was definitely failing. I just struggled, and then last year we averaged fifth place at the two road courses and I just feel better and better. I've been practicing a lot on my little computer at home and it's been good."
ANY ONE AREA YOU CAN WORK ON? "There are so many places to gain a little bit of time that every one of those gives you an opportunity. Every time you try to gain a little bit at a place like this, you have the opportunity to have a disastrous off-course excursion so the trick is to decide how you're gonna gain a little bit of time without taking too much risk."
WAS THE WIN A BIG RELIEF? "A huge relief. We finished second three times last year and I felt like we could have won all three of those for sure if things would have gone a little bit differently. They just didn't. It's just nice to win. It's nice for all the guys and for our sponsors. It just feels good to win and it couldn't come at a better time. Right now, leading up to the chase, if we can gain some momentum and be as good as we were last year in those last 10 races, we can win this championship."
NO ONE HAS WON THIS RACE STARTING FURTHER BACK THAN 13TH. HOW DO YOU THINK GORDON AND JOHNSON WILL DO? "Gordon and Johnson are both unbelievable road racers. We were all up there watching the Speed Channel and it's amazing NASCAR's stance on this stuff. You've got to be careful. I'm not certain, but I don't believe they came here thinking, 'We're gonna break the rules here and get away with it.' I think they were just fudging it a little bit and NASCAR has really put their foot down. I think that's awesome to see NASCAR police it with that much authority. It just makes me nervous. I looked at Bob and said, 'We don't have anything on our car that could be questionable at all, do we?' And he said, 'No.' Those guys are good and with the different fuel cell the strategy is gonna be a little bit different. There will be an opportunity for those guys to do really well."
SO STARTING THAT FAR BACK YOU STILL THINK THEY HAVE A SHOT? "For sure. Anything can happen. If they pit right and do things correctly, this is a three or four-hour race and a lot can happen."
ARE TEAMS LIKE THAT GOOD BECAUSE THEY FUDGE A LITTLE BIT? "You have to innovate to be on the cutting edge of what we have to do here, so it's just that the box is getting smaller and smaller -- that window that you've got to work in. I don't know, it's crazy. Both of those guys are running really well in the points, but to see the huge points penalties that NASCAR is throwing out there, we're taking notice that's for sure."
-credit: ford racing