Sonoma: Edwards - Friday media visit

The first road course race of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season is set for Sunday at Infineon Raceway, and Ford driver Carl Edwards spoke about his expectations. CARL EDWARDS - No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion - "I really enjoy driving at this...

The first road course race of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season is set for Sunday at Infineon Raceway, and Ford driver Carl Edwards spoke about his expectations.

CARL EDWARDS - No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion - "I really enjoy driving at this race track. It's a lot of fun. It's really slippery, and that makes it a real challenge for the drivers. It's a cool weekend for myself and Paul and Brad because we get to go back and forth and run two legendary road race tracks in a weekend. That's pretty cool. Practice went pretty well here. This is all the practice we get, so we've got to gather all of our notes and go lay down a qualifying lap, and then we're gonna head to Wisconsin. It's a pretty fun day."

YOU HAVE GUYS RACING HERE THAT YOU WON'T SEE NEXT WEEK. IS THERE ANY ANNOYANCE THAT THEY MIGHT BE TAKING AWAY POINTS FROM GUYS TRYING TO MAKE THE CHASE, AND IS THERE A CONCERN WITH HOW THEY MIGHT RACE YOU? "There's no annoyance for me at all. I think it's neat to be able to race with different guys -- guys that are road race specialist. I've had days hurt buy guys that race full-time with us and guys that don't, so it doesn't seem to be any different. It gives guys an opportunity in front of a different audience and possibly perform really well. I think it's good, and I think it's also good when a guy like Ekstrom comes over here and has had such huge success in other forms of motorsports and he gets to see how he stacks up with us and we get to see how we stack up with those guys. I would say the positives far outweigh the negatives."

WHAT ABOUT CELEBRATING FATHER'S DAY AS A NEW DAD FOR THE FIRST TIME? "Father's Day has never applied to me before, and I've also been thinking about my father a little more. Now that I'm a dad, I know I have a different respect for him - more respect for what he's done - so I'll make sure to call my dad on Father's Day this weekend, that's for sure."

AT WHAT POINT DOES CHASE PREPARATION START TO BECOME SOMETHING YOU DO MORE? "For us, it's already started. We're trying to just lock ourselves into the chase. If we were farther up in points, we wouldn't be thinking about that, but the farther back you are, the more you think about it - the earlier you think about it. So, for our Aflac team, that's the first hurdle we have to get over to have what we would determine or consider a successful year, so we're on it. We're thinking points."

YOU WON'T BE HERE TOMORROW. ANY IDEA WHAT YOUR TEAM WILL DO AND IS THERE A NEGATIVE TO IT? "I think that it is a negative that I won't be here. I don't think it's a huge negative because I feel very comfortable at this race track, and I feel the race is long enough. As long as I can get a good qualifying spot I think we'll be really good. We've got a large enough group of teammates that are gonna be here that we can lean on a little bit, and Bill Elliott is gonna hopefully have a little bit of time to hop in the car and try some different stuff we want to work on. That's just pretty cool for me that Bill Elliott is gonna drive my race car, but he'll be able to help us a little bit. That's our plan."

DO YOU THINK FANS CAN EXPECT MORE BUMPING AND BANGING AT THIS RACE? "Maybe they can expect more, but the problem is even if a guy want to bump somebody out of the way and rough them up a little bit, it's hard to move them out of the way hard enough to end his day, so he'll be right back to you quickly. I don't think you'll see more rough driving, and I don't know if this is good or not, but I do believe you'll see a little different fuel strategy with the potential for all the green-white-checkereds. It could be a very different finish to the race. We talked about that a little bit the other day at Road America because it's so big, but this place is pretty big, too. If you get guys start running out of fuel on one green-white-checkered, and then there's another one, it could be a really strange finish to the race. I don't know. All the fans I talk to like the racing here. There are some diehard oval racing fans that don't understand it, but the people who understand this type of racing, I think, really appreciate it. I know as a fan I've always thought this was really neat."

WHAT DO THE CARS GO THROUGH IN THIS RACE AND IF YOU TAKE CARE OF THE CAR THROUGH THE RACE WILL IT RUN BETTER? "My car goes through a lot usually here and that's not always good. You hit the curbs, and every once in a while we all find ways to hit the curbs extremely hard, and that's not good. Probably the dumbest move I've made here that surprised me was I was driving down the front straightaway and I was trying to really apex the first left-hander and I kept getting closer and closer to the wall and I finally hit the wall with the left side of the car on the inside of the track. The wall is right here by your head and it was like, 'Bam! Bob will never know how I scraped the wall with the left side of my race car like that.' But the car goes through a lot. The brakes have to be worked very hard. The transmission gets used more than any other track we go to. I'd say these road courses are very taxing on the vehicle, plus you get down here and get spun around and hit and banged, and the car can still be competitive, but it can be really bent up after the race."

YOU SAID BILL ELLIOTT WILL BE IN YOUR CAR AND PAUL MENARD'S CAR? "Yeah, and I think Paul is priority number one for them, and then if he has time, he's gonna run 10 laps or something in our car."

AT WHAT POINT DO YOU GUYS HAVE TO START LOOKING AT GETTING FIVE BONUS POINTS FOR LEADING AND THINGS LIKE THAT THROUGHOUT A RACE? "We just have to get all the points we can. Last weekend, for example, we were running well enough that I thought we had a chance at a top-five finish, so we didn't want to stay out and lead a lap that way and lose track position, so it's a balance. If we were running towards the back of the lead lap, then we should be thinking about that, but we're not quite there yet. If we're having a bad day, though, we'll think about that."

-source: ford racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott