Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion, is 10 points behind Jimmie Johnson in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. He held is weekly Q&A session after practice on Friday. CARL EDWARDS -- No. 99 Office Depot...
Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion, is 10 points behind Jimmie Johnson in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. He held is weekly Q&A session after practice on Friday.
CARL EDWARDS -- No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion
WHAT IS YOUR PHILOSOPHY AS FAR AS HANGING BACK OR RACING ALL DAY AT THIS PLACE? "I don't know yet. I haven't decided what I'm gonna do. It kind of depends on how we qualify. If we qualify up front, then I'm definitely gonna go up there and race as hard as I can. If qualifying goes like it usually does for us here, we'll be in the back and it would be kind of silly to go charge up to the front early in the race, so I don't know yet. We'll just kind of see what happens."
DO YOU FEEL LIKE THE FANS ARE BEING CHEATED IF GUYS JUST HANG OUT IN THE BACK? "No, I don't think it diminishes the value of those tickets because even if you're holding back for the first 90 percent of the race, that last 10 percent is what fills these seats. There's nothing more exciting from a fan's perspective than the last few laps here and there won't be one guy out there holding back at that point."
IS IT MORE IMPORTANT FOR YOU BEING IN THE TOP THREE TO PLAY IT SMART THAT WAY? "If it weren't a points race, I think it would look a lot different, especially for the 12 guys in the chase, but it is a points race so you have to race it smart. At times I've thought, 'Man, it kind of takes something away from the racing,' but really it's just another part of the strategy. You've got to do what you can to be there at the end."
WOULD YOU STILL PAY A MILLION BUCKS TO FINISH 10TH? "Hell yes I would. I might pay more. This chase, we've gotten off to a great start. You never know what's gonna happen. We can go out and win this thing and that would be great, but just as easily we could have some sort of trouble and not do well, so, to me, there are more chances involved in this race than probably any other on the schedule."
HOW WAS THE CAR IN FIRST PRACTICE? "The car is real good, as good as it could be. It goes where I steer it and seems to have plenty of power, so it's good." YOU WENT FOR A WIN LAST WEEK. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT DECISION FIVE DAYS AFTER THE FACT? "I wish I would have drove it in harder. I knew I felt good about my chances of making it back to the finish line. The wall is a pretty simple thing. It wasn't like I was going in there and bouncing off Jimmie and hoping for the best. I kind of knew what I was up against there and, man, I wish we could have won it. That's it. I just wait to have to wait another year to run that race, but I did, I made myself on Monday -- standing there in the shower in the morning, the day had not started so well because that's all I could think about, I made myself just forget about it. It's racing. Somebody's got to lose a good race like that."
BIFFLE THOUGHT IT MAY HAVE BEEN TOO BIG OF A RISK AND HE WOULDN'T HAVE DONE IT. "I don't care who feels that way and I don't care what anybody says, I did what I thought was best and I'd do it again in a heartbeat."
EVEN HERE? "It wouldn't matter here. You don't have to lift in the corners, so it doesn't work here. If everybody is wide open, you can't drive it in any deeper here."
BUT YOU CAN MAKE IT FIVE OR SIX WIDE. WOULD YOU BE THAT AGGRESSIVE? "I don't know. The last lap is gonna shape up to be whatever it is and it just depends on how that shapes up -- not even just the last lap, the last corner. Things shuffle a lot here. I don't know if you can have a strategy for the last lap here."
THE 99, 48 AND 16 HAVE BEEN SO STRONG. HOW FAR HAVE YOU SEPARATED YOURSELVES FROM THE REST OF THE FIELD? "Right now we've separated ourselves quite a bit from the rest of the field -- the top three guys -- but it's really only three races in. If Greg and Jimmie and I, let's say we were the only three guys to get caught up in a wreck here and Burton and those guys were to go have good runs, we'd all be right back together, so it's not a comfortable margin by any means."
WOULD IT BE WORTH MAKING THE RACES HERE SHORTER? "They could make them shorter, but I think it's cool to run 500 miles. I think it's good. I think it gives the fans their money's worth. There's always excitement going on around this place and it also brings the engine builders and the components manufacturers into it because stuff has to last for 500 miles, so I like the longer races."
TELL US ABOUT YOUR THOUGHT PROCESS LAST WEEKEND. "I thought I could get Jimmie on the outside, but I realized that he'd seen that movie before and it wasn't gonna work out as simply the second time. He was gonna block me or do whatever he had to do, so it wasn't until we were going down the back straightaway that I decided that was my only option to get in front of him. And looking back on it too, it was something I hadn't thought of at the time, but if the caution would have come out or something while I was in front of him, we would have won the race. It just boils down to you can't win it if you're behind him."
HOW WOULD YOU FEEL IF YOU CLINCHED THIS CHASE BEFORE THE FINAL RACE OF THE SEASON? "That would be great. We're all under the same rules. If one guy can go out and get far enough ahead that he doesn't even have to show up at the last event, that's just the way it is. That's how that year goes down. This is sport. You're gonna have years that are close and you're gonna have years that aren't and I think you've got to treasure them both. This whole chase format was started to try and keep that kind of thing from happening and, in a way, it's made it more exciting, but if you keep manipulating it, eventually you might as well just run the last lap at Homestead and whoever does the best there wins the whole thing. There's winning races and there's winning championships and I think if you win the championship, it doesn't matter how you do it."
-credit: ford racing