This Week in Ford Racing September 15, 2004 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series In the past two Craftsman Truck Series races, Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Ford F-150, has chipped away at the 204-point lead that Bobby Hamilton once held over...
This Week in Ford Racing
September 15, 2004
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
In the past two Craftsman Truck Series races, Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Ford F-150, has chipped away at the 204-point lead that Bobby Hamilton once held over him in the point standings. With eight races remaining in the season, Edwards is currently third in the standings, 76 points put of the lead, as the series travels to New Hampshire this weekend for the Sylvania 200. Edwards, who also plans on running the remainder of the NEXTEL Cup season in the No. 99 Taurus, spoke about the recent shakeup in the points and his transition to Cup racing.
CARL EDWARDS -99-Superchips Ford F-150
ARE YOU SURPRISED BY HOW MUCH YOU'VE BEEN ABLE TO CLOSE THE POINTS GAP IN THE PAST TWO WEEKS?
"For Bobby Hamilton and Dennis Setzer to have bad weeks two races in a row is unheard of, but I guess that's just short-track racing. Those guys are really good, and we're just really lucky to not have had bad weeks with them. It will definitely make the points race a little more exciting and I'm glad to be part of it."
HAVE YOU DONE ANYTHING DIFFERENTLY THE PAST FEW WEEKS IN TERMS OF STRATEGY TO TRY TO GET BACK IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP CHASE?
"One thing that has helped a little bit is Cowboy (Kevin Starland, crew chief) and the guys have been working really hard on the trucks. They went and tested with Jon Wood at Memphis, and Jon went from truck to truck and tested for two full days and that helped us a lot a Richmond. Plus, we've been working on a lot of aerodynamic stuff, so hopefully that will help us in this final stretch of the season. From my perspective, I think the Cup racing has helped me a lot, just being a little more patient and not trying too hard and I think that's going to pay off in these last few races."
HAS THE EXTRA SEAT TIME IN THE CUP CAR HELPED YOU IN THE TRUCK?
"There's nothing we can use setup-wise, but it's helping my confidence a little bit to run with the Cup guys. Those guys are so patient and that was one area I needed to work on. When a guy is faster over there early in a race, they don't put up a big fight. They don't race hard at the wrong times, and sometimes as a driver I've definitely raced way too hard at the wrong time. So, I'm learning when to race really hard and when to not ask too much, and I think that's what it takes to be a good points racer. That's going to be the name of the game in the truck series for the rest of the year - to get points."
DO YOU FEEL THAT YOU'RE GETTING RESPECT IN THE CUP SERIES FROM THE OTHER COMPETITORS?
"I haven't had anyone screaming at me after a race yet, so I guess that's a pretty good sign. They've got their whole season that they've been working hard on, so for me to come into the picture this late in year, I'm just trying to stay out of the way a little bit and race as hard as I can without causing problems. Fortunately, I haven't caused any major problems yet, and I'm hoping to keep my nose while I gain experience. So far it's going really well."
HAVE YOUR ROUSH RACING TEAMMATES ON THE CUP SIDE BEEN A FACTOR IN YOUR SUCCESS?
"They've helped me out a ton. We went and tested at Richmond and Mark Martin was there the same day. That was huge just to be able to talk to him about how he was driving and to look at the data from the way he pushes the throttle in the middle of the corner and when he enters the corner and how much brake pressure he uses. To look at all of that and to talk to him for two full days was a big reason why we ran so well at Richmond."
HAS IT BEEN TOUGHER COMPETING IN BOTH SERIES THAN YOU ORIGINALLY THOUGHT?
"Literally, I could race every day and that would be fine with me, but the hard part is the competition. It's as difficult as I thought it was going to be. It's not like I've been in that car thinking, 'This is a lot easier than I thought it was going to be.' It's just as hard as I thought it was going to be."
IS THE RAPID SUCCESS THAT YOU'VE HAD IN THE CUP CAR A REASON THAT YOU PLAN ON RUNNING THE REMAINDER OF THE RACES THIS SEASON?
"I don't know if it's for any reason in particular, but we're going to run all of the races in both series, and it's going to make for some interesting travel over the next month. I'm trying to work on all of that right now. This weekend is easy logistically, but the following weekend I'm going to go to Dover, practice and qualify the Cup car then fly to Vegas and race the truck and then fly back to Dover to race the Cup car. After that, I'm going to fly to California, practice and qualify the truck and then fly to Talladega to do drafting practice and then go back to California for the truck race and then go back to Talladega. The next weekend we race the truck race in Texas at 2 p.m. Eastern time on Saturday and as soon as that's over we're going to go to Charlotte and race the Cup race 7:30 p.m. It's a lot of air miles over the next month, but I think I'm taking Matt Kenseth's jet, so I have to thank him for that."