This Week in Ford Racing September 23, 2003 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Nineteen races into the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season, Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Ford F-150, continues to compile impressive rookie statistics. The 23-year-old...
This Week in Ford Racing
September 23, 2003
NASCAR Craftsman Truck
Nineteen races into the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season, Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Ford F-150, continues to compile impressive rookie statistics. The 23-year-old Missouri native has three wins to his credit, one shy of Kurt Busch's truck series rookie record, and 10 top-five finishes, three shy of the rookie record also held by Busch. Currently eighth in the point standings heading into this weekend's Las Vegas 350, Edwards spoke about his development as a driver and the impact his Roush Racing teammates have had on career.
CARL EDWARDS -99-Superchips Ford F-150
WITH SIX RACES REMAINING IN THE SEASON, YOU HAVE A CHANCE TO ECLIPSE AT LEAST TWO OF KURT BUSCH'S ROOKIE RECORDS, WINS AND TOP-FIVES. HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO YOU TO PUT YOUR NAME NEXT TO THOSE RECORDS?
"It's real important. I'm really competitive, probably to a fault sometimes, and the only record I'm really aware of is Kurt Busch's four wins in a season. I really want to break that one bad. I made a decision the other night because I was thinking about this. It's probably hurting me more than it's helping me to worry about that record, so I'm not going to worry about it anymore, but when the season is over I hope that I have more than four wins."
ROUSH RACING'S LAST TWO TRUCK SERIES STARS, KURT BUSCH AND GREG BIFFLE, TOOK DIFFERENT ROADS TO WINSTON CUP RACING. DO YOU SEE AN ADVANTAGE TO EITHER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM?
"I'm really taking this whole thing as it comes because I really don't have enough experience to say that I'm ready for the next level or I'm not ready. I've been to enough Winston Cup races now to realize how high the level of competition is there. For me, I'll let guys like Jack Roush direct my progress because I really feel that Jack has my best interests in mind. That, combined with pressures from marketing and sponsorship, if we go to Busch next year that will be great, but it will be just as good to stay in trucks. I'm not worried about that."
YOU HAD JEFF BURTON SPOT FOR YOU IN NEW HAMPSHIRE TWO WEEKS AGO. DO YOU FEEL THAT ANY OF THE VETERAN DRIVERS AT ROUSH RACING HAVE GIVEN JACK ROUSH ANY ADVICE AS TO WHAT YOUR NEXT STEP SHOULD BE?
"I really don't know who makes the decisions and how much each person's inputs weighs on where my career goes. For me, I really try not to worry about any of that and try to focus on doing whatever I can to pass the guy in front of me in every race. That's what's been helping the most, to focus on the upcoming race, and while we're at the track to do everything I can to make our truck as fast as it can be."
HAVE THE VETERAN DRIVERS AT ROUSH HELPED YOU ADJUST TO THE RIGORS OF NASCAR RACING?
"To me, any advice that those guys can give me or any help that they give me is a really big deal to me. Just a couple of years, I would have done anything in the world just to get five minutes to talk to any of the Winston Cup drivers at Roush to try to learn something from them. I really value anything they have to say because they're doing what I hope to be able to do some day. Jeff Burton has been really great, but all of the guys have. They treat it like it's no big deal, but anything they do for me is great. Having Jeff spotting for me was so valuable. It seems so simple to him and he acted like t was no big deal, but he was actually nervous because he didn't think that he'd do a good enough job, but to me it was just amazing to have that guy's voice in your ear. Any of the guys at Roush, from Mark Martin to Greg Biffle, I really trust what they say and they've helped me a lot."
YOU ARE CURRENTLY EIGHTH IN POINTS, 370 POINTS OF THE LEAD. ARE YOU STILL RACING FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP OR HAVE YOU PUT MORE FOCUS ON JUST WINNING RACES?
"We're going for wins right now. We go for the win, but on the hand, and California was a good example of what we're trying to do if we can't win. We had an eighth-place truck and we were very fortunate to finish seventh. Cowboy (Kevin Starland, crew chief) and I both looked at that as practice for a run at the championship next year. My biggest fault has been taking a fifth- or sixth-place truck and wrecking it trying to make it a winning truck. For us to actually run for a championship, I'm going to have to learn to have days like we had at California."
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST IMPRESSION OF THE NEW RACING BACK TO THE CAUTION FLAG RULE IMPLEMENTED BY NASCAR LAS T WEEK?
"I was thinking about it the other day and racing to me is green-flag racing. When I was growing up as a fan of racing I liked watching green-flag racing. The reason you have the yellow flag and the reason you slow down is for safety. Anything that can make a crash or accident safer for the drivers or fans is good. Compared to where the rules used to be, this is better from a safety standpoint, and I think it will help us, particularly our team, more than it will hurt us. It seems a little but complex, and I'm not sure how much in line with the spirit of auto racing it is. I can't tell that yet, but from a safety standpoint, I feel that it's better so I'm all for it."
THE TRUCK SERIES IS UNIQUE COMPARED TO THE BUSCH SERIES AND WINSTON CUP FOR THE FACT THAT THE RACE CANNOT END UNDER YELLOW. DO YOU THINK THE GREEN-WHITE-CHECKERED RULE SHOULD BE SOMETHING NASCAR LOOKS TO IMPLEMENT IN ALL THREE SERIES?
"I'm from the outside looking in, and I know NASCAR has reasons for those yellow-flag finishes, but as a fan growing up, I didn't want to watch a yellow-flag finish. I think it would be good for the fans to end every race under green-flag conditions, but I don't know the process that it would involve to change that rule. As a fan, I'd much rather see green-white-checkered finishes even if somebody runs out of fuel. I know that might come back and bite me some day, but that's what I'd want to see as a fan."