Ford Racing has won seven of the 10 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races at Texas Motor Speedway, including the last three. In fact, every current driver who has been with Ford for at least one year has won a Cup event at TMS. Three of those drivers...
Ford Racing has won seven of the 10 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races at Texas Motor Speedway, including the last three. In fact, every current driver who has been with Ford for at least one year has won a Cup event at TMS. Three of those drivers -- Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth and Elliott Sadler -- gave their thoughts about Sunday's race as did car owner Jack Roush, who has five wins with five different drivers at this track.
CARL EDWARDS -- No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion
CAN YOU TELL MUCH OF A DIFFERENCE FROM FUSION TO TAURUS? "No. So far I haven't noticed much of a difference from the Taurus. Maybe there's a little bit more front downforce or just more balance to the front because we're pretty loose, but I think it's gonna race really well. We unloaded in race trim and went about the same speed as we qualified, so I feel pretty good about it."
YOU WON LAST TIME HERE SO THERE MUST BE A LOT OF CONFIDENCE. "Yeah. We unloaded the Henkel Busch car and were the fastest car out here and then knocked the wall down in qualifying but up to that point it was awesome. Then we unloaded the Office Depot car and it was great. We've got 500 miles. We're just gonna go out there and go race. We won from 30th in the fall, so I'm not too concerned about the qualifying. We left Martinsville with a 16th and everybody was asking me all week, 'Oh, it was a terrible week.' But that was a good one for me at Martinsville. I learned a lot and I think I'm gonna be better and better, but to come to a place like Texas, I feel like we've got the greatest engines, the greatest aero package. I really love these race tracks and the pace of the laps. It feels good to come back here."
DOES THIS TRACK SUIT YOUR STYLE? "I think these race tracks are a lot simpler and a lot more straightforward and nobody grew up racing at these places so we're all kind of on a little more equal footing. You go to some of these short tracks and there are guys that are really, really good short track racers and I just haven't figured that out yet. That's part of the challenge and it's still fun either way, but it's a lot nicer to come and be mad about running fifth than happy about running 16th."
MATT KENSETH -- No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion
WHY DO SO MANY GUYS LIKE THIS PLACE? "It's built in a great area. We get a lot of great fans. Eddie Gossage does a great job of treating the fans good, the drivers good and the teams good. It's a great track. You can run real fast here. Over the years the groove has widened out. Last year you saw Carl win the race in the fall running way up on top, so that was really good. Any one track you go to where there's more than one groove you can definitely put on a good race and have a lot of passes."
WHAT ONE THING IS MOST IMPORTANT HERE? "It's kind of like every track -- everything. Aerodynamics are very important here. It's fairly smooth. There are a couple of big bumps, but basically the track is pretty smooth and you're going really fast so aerodynamics are very important. But you've got to be handling. You've got to keep your speed up in the center of the corner and be able to get up on people to go fast."
ARE YOU HAPPY WITH YOUR SEASON TO DATE? "Yeah. We've been in contention to win most of the races. We've only been able to win one of them, but we've been a contender to win a lot of them -- probably four or five of them at least. That's a great feeling. Our team is operating at a championship level and they've done everything right this year. I've made some mistakes and we've had some stuff go bad, but they've done a great job."
DOES THE OFF WEEKEND COME AT A GOOD TIME OR WOULD YOU LIKE TO KEEP GOING? "I'm looking forward to the off weekend. I'm really looking forward to seeing my family and spending some time with them. Easter is the only time all year, except for Christmas, that our whole family kind of gets together and we can spend some time together. I'm looking forward to that."
ELLIOTT SADLER -- No. 38 M&M's Ford Fusion
YOU HAD A GOOD RUN LAST WEEK AND HAVE HAD SOME SUCCESS HERE. "Yeah, we're starting to build some momentum here. I've been saying that the first couple weeks of racing that we were struggling a little bit and not running like we should, but we've gathered a lot of information and we're starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. We're just getting into 2006 style of race cars. Last week was pretty much our first new race car other than Daytona and we've got another good one here this weekend with all the updates on it and we're running good again, so this team and this company is definitely getting better and better each week and I think our finishes are gonna definitely start to come."
WHY DO YOU RUN WELL HERE? "I don't know. Certain tracks fit certain driving styles and Texas has always fit my driving style from the very first lap I took here. I understand it. I think I know what I need my car to feel like to be competitive and successful on Sunday, and I just have fun here. It is a very fun race track and it gets better each and every year as it gets older and gets a little gray. It's a fun place. It looks like I've got a pretty good race car this weekend and I would love to be the first repeat winner here at Texas."
FORD HAS WON 7 OF THE 10 RACES HERE. ANY REASON WHY ONE MANUFACTURER WOULD HAVE AN ADVANTAGE AT A TRACK LIKE THIS? "No, and I don't know why a different winner has won here every year. I don't think you can really put your finger on why that has happened. I couldn't stand here right now and tell you who has a better chance of winning, the guys who have won here before or a new guy that hasn't won here. It's just whoever is hot at the right time. What I do like about this place is it doesn't really matter where you qualify. You can run up high, you can run down low. It's getting to be as good as the racing at Atlanta is and each year we let the asphalt get a little bit older and older Texas will become a better place to race. Right now, it's a lot of fun for all the drivers. Everybody likes it here to get to race in front of over 200,000 fans, but I don't know why one manufacturer runs better than another. I think whoever is hot at that moment is gonna be the one you're gonna have to outrun." DOES THE DRIVER HAVE A TRANSITION PERIOD WITH A NEW CREW CHIEF? "Oh yeah. Definitely. The language is a lot different. The way each crew chief wants to do things is a lot different. As a driver you've got to adapt to those things. Tommy and I get more and more used to each other each and every week and I'm learning the information I need to tell him to help him do his job and he's learning the information that he needs to tell me to help me do my job inside the car. That's just gonna come with time, but, yeah, I think a driver has just as big of a responsibility of changing as much as the crew chief does."
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THESE NEXT THREE RACES? "I think all of them are very important. To us this is an important race because we have not run that great on mile and a half tracks. We ran pretty decent at Atlanta until we had problems, so this is the next test session, the next bar-setting race that we have from Atlanta. We know if we come here and run successful and be competitive that our stuff is not gonna be that bad. We feel like we can go to Charlotte in May and be very competitive. To us it's a great benchmark race. We think we're gonna go to Phoenix and run very well because we ran very well at Martinsville. We think we're gonna go to Talladega and have a very good race car because we ran good at Daytona. This is a very important race for us."
JACK ROUSH, Car Owner -- Roush Racing Ford Fusions
DO YOU HAVE A THEORY AS TO WHY YOUR TEAM HAS HAD SO MUCH SUCCESS HERE? "More and more I give Mark Martin more credit for what we are and what we can do. He's really good at tracks like this and over time as I've tried to help him win, we've maximized certain things on our cars that help us at the mile and a half race tracks. Mark's got his fingerprints over everything we do. The guys like Jamie McMurray, after not qualifying well, the first guy he went to see was Mark and the first guy I went to see was Mark about what he thought was going on. So I credit the energy and the enthusiasm Mark has for mile and a half tracks to be the reason why we do well here."