Talladega II: Edwards - Ford Friday interview

Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion, is in catch-up mode this weekend after being involved in a multi-car accident at Kansas. Edwards comes into Sunday's UAW Ford 500 in seventh place and trails leader Jimmie Johnson by...

Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion, is in catch-up mode this weekend after being involved in a multi-car accident at Kansas. Edwards comes into Sunday's UAW Ford 500 in seventh place and trails leader Jimmie Johnson by 142 points.

CARL EDWARDS -- No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion

WILL IT BE CRAZIER THAN USUAL SUNDAY? "I don't know if it will be crazier than usual, I just think it's gonna be a little bit closer. The cars drive real well and they seem to stick together like glue. It always seems to me like it's a little crazy here. I think it'll just be even tighter."

SO COULD THE BIG ONE BECOME THE BIGGER ONE? "The way it looked to me, it was very easy to run three-wide and people didn't have any trouble running four-wide in practice. The track is so smooth. Obviously, if you're in that situation, anything that goes wrong is gonna be disastrous."

HOW MUCH ANXIETY DOES IT GIVE YOU? "There's a little bit of anxiety. I'm not coming into this thing thinking about being extremely aggressive. Here in practice and probably for the first 150 laps of the race, the idea for me and the guys who really don't have any free passes left in the chase, we've just got to go out there and not get hit by anything and be able to race at the end."

HOW DO YOU DO THAT? "It's a different kind of racing. We started racing cars because we like to go fast and race hard and be competitive and to go out there and sit in line is definitely very hard, but that's what it is. It's just a different type of race. It's neat for different reasons. That's why these are novelties on the circuit. These types of races the fans like and for the guys that are successful, they're fun."

DO YOU HAVE ANY ANXIETY OUTSIDE OF RACING FOR POINTS? "Other than the points stuff, I feel fairly safe in these cars. I feel like everything NASCAR has done with the SAFER barriers and their safety crews and things like that, I feel very confident in that stuff. I hit the wall pretty hard in that Busch race last week and all of the things that NASCAR has implemented made it such that I could just get out and walk away, so I feel pretty good about that side of it."

WILL IT BE EASIER OR HARDER TO PASS IN THESE CARS? "If my car doesn't get any faster, it's gonna be real hard to pass because we're not that fast right now. It's always hard to pass here. You have to line up. You have to work with your teammates and with guys who are willing to work with you. You have to be able to do that to be able to run well at these places. It looked like there were a couple of cars out there that I saw that were real good by themselves, but everyone else is just kind of in the same boat. You have to align yourself to go."

IS VISIBILITY A FACTOR? "Yeah, I think not being able to see ahead of the car in front of you is gonna be the biggest change from the driver's perspective. I told my spotter, Jason Hedlesky, 'You've got to tell me what's going on in front of me,' because if I'm behind a guy, it's like you just get this big blind zone that's bigger than it ever was before. You can't see anything in front of them, so that's pretty interesting and a little bit scary."

DOES IT AFFECT THE WAY YOU PASS? "Yeah. For instance, if I'm driving down the back straightaway and some guy is pushing me -- shoving on the rear bumper -- that's great as long as he can kind of tell what's in front of me. He's kind of driving that train there, so it becomes a little bit different when that guy can't see. You almost need to be able to communicate with each other someway and you just can't do it."

WILL IT MAKE IT HARDER TO AVOID SOMETHING IN FRONT OF YOU THAN IT DID BEFORE? "All of the drivers are so good. I've been in situations here where it's like a flock of birds when they all change directions at once. All of the drivers in this garage are good enough to do that. If everybody is in a line and a guy in front has a problem and everyone sees it, we can all turn at the same time. But when you get a little bit of a delay, you get that effect where everybody piles up. I think that's gonna be a bigger factor now than it was, so if guys leave more room and are a little more careful, it'll all be even, but I have a feeling the last couple of laps when everybody is pushing and pushing, it's gonna be real tough because you can't see beyond the guy in front of you. I can't. Maybe some other guys can, but I can't."

ARE THE WHITE KNUCKLES AT THIS TRACK NOW MORE BECAUSE OF THE EFFECT A WRECK COULD HAVE ON THE POINTS? "Yeah, to me the worry about the wreck is the points. Obviously, you could get hurt or something could happen but that's always there. That can happen anywhere. To me, whether it's right or wrong, I don't worry about wrecking for the injury side of it, I worry about it for the points. There's a bigger chance of wrecking here and it makes me worry about the points more I guess."

NASCAR DIDN'T WANT ANY BUMPING IN PRACTICE. HOW MUCH DID YOU SEE AND CAN NASCAR LEGISLATE IT ENOUGH? "I didn't know they didn't want us to bump. I was kind of bumping a little bit. They just bump-draft so well -- the way the bumpers match up. It's great for that, the only issue with bump-drafting is what we talked about -- just not being able to see in front of the guy in front of you so you don't know what you're pushing him into. You'd almost have to stick your hand out the left side window for people to stop, but they do push one another very well."

ARE YOU GOING TO BE INVOLVED IN YOUR APPEAL ON TUESDAY? "Geoff Smith and I talked about the appeal on Tuesday and I'm gonna go with him I guess. It'll be good for me to see the process and, hopefully, we can make some headway. I think there's definitely a case there for at least some relief, so, hopefully, we get something."

DOES THE POSSIBILITY OF THE SPLITTER CUTTING TIRES INCREASE MORE AT THIS RACE? "I think anytime you've got all these people running that close together there's probably a little more danger of that, but I don't know. It's just because we're running so close together."

WHO LOOKED STRONG BY THEMSELVES OUT THERE? "It looked like the 20 was really good by himself. He looked like he had a ton of horsepower, so he looked pretty good."

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON NEXT WEEK. "Charlotte is fun for a lot of reasons. We've run really well there and had some great runs. I think we run pretty well there because of the way our cars are built and our engines are good at the open tracks, so I'm very excited to go to Charlotte."

ANY ANXIETY ABOUT THE GUYS MAKING THEIR FIRST ATTEMPT TO RUN IN NASCAR HERE? "Somehow we manage to wreck cars without those guys. If we wreck them with those guys, that's fine. I don't think those guys will be the deciding factor. I hope they're not."

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT JACQUES VILLENEUVE? GUYS LIKE BUSCH AND GORDON HAVE BEEN VOCAL ABOUT IT. "I understand their position. The potential for one guys mistake to have a negative effect on a lot of people is large at these places because you're running in a pack. The bottom line is we all have to start somewhere and, like I said, we've wrecked each other without Jacques Villeneuve in this race plenty of times. I have a feeling with all the pressure he has, he'll be fine."

-credit: ford racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jacques Villeneuve , Jimmie Johnson , Jason Hedlesky , Carl Edwards