CARL EDWARDS-63-Mittler Bros. Machine & Tool Ford F-150 (Qualified 9th) THAT'S ANOTHER HEAD-TURNING RUN. "That's pretty neat. I left a little bit on the table; I screwed up a little in one and two, but three and four went perfectly. I'm...
CARL EDWARDS-63-Mittler Bros. Machine & Tool Ford F-150 (Qualified 9th)
THAT'S ANOTHER HEAD-TURNING RUN. "That's pretty neat. I left a little bit on the table; I screwed up a little in one and two, but three and four went perfectly. I'm telling you, to come to a race track like this and feel that good after that few of laps, that is really neat and says a lot about Mike Mittler (owner/crew chief)."
THIS IS YOUR FIRST RACE AT TEXAS, BUT YOU RACED EARLIER THIS SEASON AT KANSAS SPEEDWAY, ANOTHER 1.5-MILE TRACK. HOW MUCH DOES THE EQUIPMENT COME INTO PLAY AT THE BIGGER TRACKS? "The biggest plus that our team has, the thing that I think is helping us the most is the ability for Mike and I to communicate real well and the rest of the team to have their heart in it. We'll go through a practice session like this morning's and there's never any arguing and everyone gives everybody else the benefit of the doubt. Mike and I will both suggest things and we'll come up with the best answer, and I don't think yet that we've ever slowed down in a practice session. I think that means we're getting the most out of our equipment. Whether it's on par with everyone else's, I don't quite know, but we're getting the most out of ours."
YOU HAVE A BACKGROUND IN SILVER CROWN COMPETITION, SO HOW ARE THE SPEEDS HERE AFFECTING YOU? "That guy that just went by, it doesn't feel that fast, so I guess that says something about how comfortable the truck is, too. The banking is the hard part for me."
HOW MUCH FATIGUE DO YOU EXPECT TO FEEL OVER THE COURSE OF 146 LAPS HERE TOMORROW NIGHT? "That's why I go to the gym every day, to hopefully withstand that. I think that the older guys are better at relaxing. I'm still at the point where at the 50-lap mark, I have to go, 'Whoa, wait a minute, I can't last this whole race if I keep this nervousness up.' I've got to work on my relaxing throughout a race."
TERRY COOK-29-Power Stroke Diesel Ford F-150 (Qualified 12th)
ARE YOU MORE CONFIDENT ENTERING THIS RACE AT TEXAS THAN YOU HAVE BEEN IN THE PAST? "A lot more confident than we've been in the past. The truck is actually driving quite well. I'm very pleased, but I'm a little disappointed that the qualifying laps weren't a little bit quicker. We like to go on stickers, most of the guys are going on scuffs, and we thought that might hurt us, and it may have a little bit for speed. The truck drove real nice. That's flat on the mat for two laps; the truck was just a little bit tight through the center. But, when you're tight at a track like this, it can drop two or three-tenths of a second a lap easily, and that looks what the case might be. From what I'm hearing, we ran quicker times in practice than we just ran in qualifying, but nevertheless, the truck is driving extremely good. I've never qualified well here, so I don't' expect to start today, but we always race well and I'm excited about the race."
THIS MUST BE ONE THE RACES THAT YOU'RE FOCUSING ON IN YOUR QUEST FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP. "It really is because we've never really run good here before. I should say that we've run good, but we've never been able to put the finishing results together, whether it's running out of fuel or blown motors. We've just seemed to have had our fair share of problems. Hopefully, this weekend will be the weekend that we get over that hump and collect some good points on our way to the championship chase."
DO YOU POINTS RACE THIS WEEKEND, KNOWING THAT THIS TRACK HASN'T BEEN GOOD TO YOU IN THE PAST? "We probably don't race Mike (Bliss) particularly, but when we had the break between Nashville and Richmond, we definitely looked at our program and looked at the remaining seven races and tried to pick out our weaknesses and one of them was the speedways. We've run them consistent, but we haven't been where we needed to be in contention to win on the speedways. We went to Chicagoland and did a two-day test there and learned a bunch, and brought that same truck back here with a lot of the same stuff we learned there. Again, I might not have qualified well, but I'm really excited about the race."
RICK CRAWFORD-14-Circle Bar Motel & RV Park Ford F-150 (Qualified 4th) - "For two hours, there was a lot of beating on the Circle Bar Motel & RV Park Ford. Ray Stonkus and all of the guys really worked hard in two hours of practice. It really wasn't what we wanted; the truck was pretty ill. They just went over a few things, some notes, and had to change up from what we had here on the spring. I was flat out in qualifying and really had a nice qualifying effort, probably one of our best ever since we've been coming here to Texas. It showed off and that's what I want to do."
HOW HAS THE TRACK CHANGED SINCE JUNE? "I don't know what it is. It's like the grip of the track went away, but you never know. There are a lot of teams in the garage area that reinvents the wheel. And, the truck that they run here in June might not be the same truck that they run here in the fall. They probably raced it somewhere else and might have found something and said, 'OK, it will work in Texas,' and it won't. If you stay within the grasp of what that piece of iron wants and what the driver is looking for, then you'll be fast because the driver has to run here wide open."
BEING IN THE POINTS HUNT, IS QUALIFYING IN THE TOP FIVE A SIGH OF RELIEF? "The sigh of relief is knowing that you have a good piece under you. Accidents are just part of racing. That's one of them things. Part of championship hunt is to be consistent and run up front. We go after races like that; I really don't care who's behind us."
JON WOOD-50-U.S. Navy Racing Ford F-150 (Qualified 14th)
YOU OVERCAME SOME PROBLEMS IN PRACTICE TO QUALIFY IN THE TOP 15. ARE YOU SATISFIED WITH THAT? "Not really. It would have been good to have been able to run both of my practice qualifiers in practice to know a little bit more about what we had. The first time out we got held up behind two slower trucks, and the second time, I thought something was wrong with the engine. It turned out it wasn't; it was something in the transmission. We'll get it right for Happy Hour. I think we'll be OK."
YOU'VE RACED HERE TWICE BEFORE, SO ARE YOU MORE COMFORTABLE STARTING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PACK? "It's not that big of a deal. At a place this big, it doesn't matter where you start as long as you're not right where the wreck is. It usually gets real good and spread out; it's a lot of easy racing here. This place is a lot like Michigan. Just the mile-and-up tracks, it's not that hard."
HOW MUCH WILL THE DRAFT COME INTO PLAY TOMORROW? "It plays an important role here with the big spoiler that we've got. It's a more than you think it is."