Watkins Glen: Edwards - Ford Friday interview

Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion, is in third place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings heading into this weekend's race at Watkins Glen. Edwards, who won last week at Pocono, is second in the series with four victories....

Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion, is in third place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings heading into this weekend's race at Watkins Glen. Edwards, who won last week at Pocono, is second in the series with four victories. He finished eighth at The Glen last year.

HOW DO YOU SET UP THE COT FOR THIS TRACK? WHAT CHANGES CAN YOU MAKE FROM LAST YEAR? "I don't know if you can learn too much from last year. The road-course stuff - I feel like our cars are really good. I had a really fast car last year, it's the best I've ever run here. At Sonoma, we were extremely fast, so I've been really excited to come back here. The number-one thing is just don't make any mistakes in your strategy, don't run off the race track, stuff like that. It's a really fun race track."

WHERE IS THE BEST PLACE TO PASS ON THIS TRACK? "You can pass at a lot of places on this track. It just depends on how you set someone up. The best way to pass here is to let the guy in front of you make a mistake somewhere, and then capitalize on that. But, definitely into turn one, into that last turn before the esses, at the bus stop right there, you can pass there, you can get started on a pass at least. There's a lot of opportunities here to pass."

HOW WIDE-OPEN IS THE CHAMPIONSHIP RIGHT NOW? "There's no way to tell right now who's got the best chance of winning the championship. There's enough teams that are running well, right now there's a number of teams that can win every week, and it seems like there's more people getting stronger as we go."

YOU'VE WON FOUR RACES NOW. CAN YOU TAKE MORE CHANCES IN THESE FIVE RACES LEADING UP TO THE CHASE? "Oh, yeah. These next five races are win at all costs, just get the wins, get the bonus points. We not really worried about anything other than that."

IS THE NUMBER-ONE CRITERIA FOR SUCCESS HERE GOOD BRAKES? "No, no, no. The brake technology has become good enough that I don't have trouble with brakes here, so to me the brakes aren't the number-one thing - obviously you've got to have good brakes, they can't be fading on you - but the car's got to handle really well here. Those big fast esses back there, and the car's got to be right. So, I'd say balance. The brakes are a bigger part of it than most tracks, but not the number-one thing."

IS THIS A GOOD TRACK FOR YOU TO PUT SOME DISTANCE ON SOME OTHER DRIVERS, AS FAR AS THE CHASE IS CONCERNED? "For us, our team is really in a position right now ehere we don't have to worry too much about having a bad race, but for a lot of the teams, at the tail-end of the Chase field, this track's really important. You can have such a bad day here through a small mistake that this will be a little bit of a bottleneck. For a lot of guys, there's a lot of pressure. This is really nice to come here without that pressure because I know how that feels."

IT MIGHT RAIN THIS WEEKEND. YOU RACED IN THE RAIN LAST WEEKEND IN THE NATIONWIDE SERIES. "I liked racing in the rain. I thought it was fun. It looks like we might race in a little bit of wet on Saturday - it would be crazy to do that two weeks in a row. It looks like it's going to rain a little bit today, but the rain's fine with me. I had a blast. It was a new experience and something I'll never forget."

WOULD YOU FAVOR PUTTING A ROAD COURSE IN THE LAST 10 RACES? "Yeah, a road-course race in the Chase would be fine with me. It's fun. It's really neat. It's different. It tests a different part of your skill set. So, yeah, a road-course race in the Chase would be fine. But, it's fine the way it is. For fun, the only thing is I wish we came back to these places one more time a year. Four of them would be awesome."

YOU HAVE FOUR VICTORIES AND ARE COMFORTABLE IN THE CHASE. HAVE YOU HIT ALL YOUR MARKS, SO FAR, THIS SEASON? "Yeah, I think performance-wise we've been really good this season. The four wins is a great number, it's a lot of wins at this point of the season - the great part about it, though, is we gave away another two or three wins, maybe even more. So, we've run well enough to win seven or eight races. It's all you can do in racing is be in a position and whatever you get is what you get."

PLUS, THAT SUCCESS GIVES YOU A BIT OF A CUSHION HEADING INTO THE RACES BEFORE THE CHASE. DOES THAT MAKE THINGS A BIT EASIER? "Oh, yeah. For instance, this week's been great. I know that I'm coming here and all I have to do is try to win the race. I don't have to worry about points. I've got no stress. It's just go out and have fun, and that's a real rarity in Spring Cup competition. You never are able to come to the race track without any stress."

-credit: ford racing

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Carl Edwards