The Ford Five - Week 7 of the Chase for the Championship October 25, 2005 Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Taurus, captured his first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series win earlier this year at Atlanta Motor Speedway when he edged Jimmie...
The Ford Five - Week 7 of the Chase for the Championship
October 25, 2005
Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Taurus, captured his first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series win earlier this year at Atlanta Motor Speedway when he edged Jimmie Johnson at the start-finish line. Edwards, who is fifth in the point standings and trails leader Tony Steward by 149 points, spoke about returning to the site of his initial victory.
CARL EDWARDS - No. 99 Office Depot Taurus
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE ATLANTA TRACK? "Atlanta is an awesome race track. I love that place. Even if we hadn't won that race, it would still be one of my favorites just because you get to do so much as a driver there. You can move around and find different lines. The cars that I'm in are spectacular cars and that makes it a lot easier. When you unload off the truck and the car's not right, and you're still the fifth-quickest car there or something, that's awesome. So I do look forward to that. I think right now with Roush's real good engines, real good bodies and the teams working together, those are the kind of tracks that the equipment really pays off."
YOU'VE HAD A FEW MONTHS TO THINK BACK ABOUT YOUR ATLANTA WIN. WHAT STANDS OUT ABOUT THOSE LAST FEW LAPS? "It was just an awesome race. It couldn't have been any better. To win a race by passing somebody on the outside on the last lap at a big, fast track like Atlanta was great. And for it to be Jimmie Johnson, who is one of the guys at the top of this sport, that made it really special. It was just a great way to get my first win."
YOU SAID AFTER THE RACE THAT YOU WERE GLAD THAT JIMMIE WAS LEADING THE LAST FEW LAPS AND NOT YOU. WHY? "I just thought it was a little easier to go chase him down than it would have been to hold him off. I would have had a lot more time to think myself into a panic if I was leading, so that was pretty cool to be able to just run him down and get the win in the last 100 yards of the race. That was a lot less stressful way to win."
AND YOU OBVIOUSLY HAVE CONFIDENCE GOING BACK THERE THIS WEEK. "Oh, yeah. We feel great about it. We have a lot of confidence everywhere we go, but to go back to a place we've won is great. You know going into it that you're excited and it's a good feeling."
Bob Osborne got his first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series win as a crew chief earlier this year at Atlanta Motor Speedway when Carl Edwards edged Jimmie Johnson at the finish line. Osborne recalled the top five memories from that day.
The last couple of laps - "I was really excited. Up until that point we had been running top five, but we hadn't been one of the strongest cars by any means. Those last four or five laps he was getting closer and closer each lap and I was thinking to myself, 'Wow, this is gonna be phenomenal if we pull this off.'"
The checkered flag - "We happened to have a pit stall right at the start-finish line. I mean, right on the start-finish line. Actually, there was a scoring glitch that race for us because we were right on the start-finish line and the timing lines were right in the pit box we were in and on one of the pit cycles it put us four laps down. So you could see the start-finish line and we could see the finish perfectly and as soon as they crossed, we knew we won. I think every crew chief remembers his first win and I will to. It was a great finish. It wasn't a blow away and it wasn't a snoozer finish, so that makes even more of an impression."
The backflip - "He was worn out. He definitely put 150 percent into it to get past Jimmie and he almost didn't make it, but he pulled it off at the last minute there."
Jack's encouragement - "Jack gave him some words of encouragement as a teammate. Up to that point, [Greg] Biffle had been running very strong in the race and Jack told Carl that if he felt like Biffle was gonna be better than him to go ahead and let him by so Biffle could have a chance to win it. Carl, at that time, was kind of just noodling around trying to find some grip, so at that point Carl found his position and found his groove in the track and just drove away from Biffle."
Wait until 50 to go to go - "We do that in every race, especially at Atlanta. It was like the third race of the season and we were being very cautious early in the season. We didn't want to run too hard early and get into an accident or anything like that. It's just our mentality. We take it easy for the first three-quarters of the race and then wait for the last run to really go. Of course, we try to keep ourselves in position, but we still have to take care of the equipment and take care of the tires. He does a really good job of managing that."
"THE FORD FIVE" QUICK FACT:
Did you know that there are FIVE active Ford drivers who have posted NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series victories at Atlanta Motor Speedway?
Carl Edwards (2005), Kurt Busch (2002), Dale Jarrett (1997), Mark Martin (1994 and 1991), and Ricky Rudd (1987) have all reached Victory Lane at the 1.5-mile speedway.