This Week in Ford Racing November 9, 2004 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Despite an early green-flag pit stop for a loose wheel, and at one point being a lap down to the leaders, Carl Edwards was able to salvage a top-10 finish at Phoenix...
This Week in Ford Racing
November 9, 2004
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
Despite an early green-flag pit stop for a loose wheel, and at one point being a lap down to the leaders, Carl Edwards was able to salvage a top-10 finish at Phoenix last weekend and remains in the championship chase with two races remaining in the Craftsman Truck Series season. Edwards, a two-time winner this year, is 133 points out of first place as the series travels to Darlington Raceway for the first ever night race at the historic venue.
CARL EDWARDS -99-Superchips Ford F-150
WHAT IS YOUR MENTALITY IN TERMS OF THE CHAMPIONSHIP WITH TWO RACES REMAINING IN THE SEASON?
"We've got nothing to lose and everything to gain just by going out and doing our very best. We're taking the best truck we can to Darlington and we're hoping to sit on the pole, lead every lap and win the race. That's what we've got to do, get all the bonus points we can and win these last two races; that's our mission right now."
WILL ANYTHING LESS THAN THE CHAMPIONSHIP THIS YEAR BE A DISAPPOINTMENT FOR YOU?
"That's what we set out to do this year and that's our goal. I've made a couple of mistakes, we've had motor failure, we had wheel come loose at Phoenix, so if we don't win the championship it's just because we had some of that bad luck that we really didn't need to have. It's still very possible and we're going to go at it like it's our championship to win. If we go out and do our very best, just like we have all year, and end up not winning it, that's acceptable, but it will be disappointing."
DO HAVE A SENSE OF PRIDE IN KNOWING THAT WHOEVER GETS IN THE NO. 99 TRUCK NEXT YEAR WILL BENEFIT FROM YOUR HARD WORK THE PAST TWO SEASONS?
"I don't think I've had a big hand in any of that. I feel like it's been a real team effort. Cowboy (Kevin Starland, crew chief), all of the guys and myself have all grown a little bit year, and I feel that whoever gets in that truck next year will have a good foundation to build from. Whoever gets in that truck is getting into a really good situation. When we go to the race track everybody works perfectly together and everybody at Ford has put a lot of work into getting the new cylinder head and intake combination for next year. We're going to have better power, and Ford has gotten into working with us on the chassis and the bodies, and by the time Daytona rolls around we should be really competitive with the 99 and 50 trucks."
ARE YOU SURPRISED THAT NO ONE HAS BEEN ABLE TO PULL AWAY IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP CHASE THIS YEAR?
"I was amazed last week at the bad luck people had at the track. We had a wheel come loose. It was torqued just the same way all of them have been all year and I felt like we had a first or second-place truck, and I thought, 'Man, that's really bad luck.' Then I saw Musgrave have his problems and thought we should be happy to get out of Phoenix with the truck in one piece. It's been like that and it seems that whoever is going to have a good points day, it seems like that person has been having tough luck. I think it's very possible for it to continue the next two races and you could see a big shakeup in the points, and hopefully we're on the receiving end of that."
DO YOUR PLANS FOR NEXT SEASON INCLUDE ANY TRUCK RACES?
"We talked about that the other day. I don't feel like I'm at the level of a Jack Sprague or a Ron Hornaday because I haven't accomplished the things that they have accomplished in their careers. I love driving the truck. It's so much fun, and even though we were having a bad day at Phoenix, I found myself smiling like I used to when I was running my dirt car because the truck was so much fun to drive. I talked to Cowboy a little bit about it today, and no matter what happens next year, hopefully there will be a chance for me to come run a couple races or as many as they will have me. I think it's a fun racing series and I think I've had the best races of my life in that series and I look forward to running in it any time I can."
YOU SHOWED PATIENCE LAST WEEK IN THE TRUCK RACE AT PHOENIX, COMING FROM A LAP DOWN TO FINISH 10TH. HAS THE NEXTEL CUP EXPERIENCE HELPED YOU MATURE AS A DRIVER THE LAST FEW MONTHS?
"I believe the Cup side, that experience has made me a lot better race-car driver in the last couple of months. I feel that I get better every week and running that Cup car has really ignited some gains in my driving. There are now things I feel that I'm able to do in a race car because it's such a shock to get in that vehicle and race with those guys that it's made me work a lot harder and think a lot harder about everything I do on the race track. I feel that that definitely helped me a lot. I think if we could start the year over, the mistakes I made earlier in the year that I haven't been making lately as a driver, I feel that if I knew then what I know now, we'd be in a lot better position in this championship."
WITH TWO RACES LEFT IN THE YEAR FOR BOTH THE CUP CARS AND THE TRUCKS, WHAT WOULD MEAN MORE TO YOU, THE TRUCK CHAMPIONSHIP OR YOUR FIRST NEXTEL CUP WIN?
"I'd have to say winning the truck series championship would be a bigger deal because a championship, no matter what series it's in, those are really special. I've been fortunate enough to win three different championships in my career in different types of cars and those are really special and it's just a different type of feeling. To win a Cup race, that would be the most amazing thing in the world, but that championship is probably something that would mean more in the long run."