BUSCH: Daytona II: This Week in Ford Racing

This Week in Ford Racing June 28, 2005 NASCAR Busch Series Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 60 Ford, was able outpace the weather last week to compete in the rain-shortened Milwaukee 250, and as a result he was able to maintain his ...

This Week in Ford Racing
June 28, 2005

NASCAR Busch Series

Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 60 Ford, was able outpace the weather last week to compete in the rain-shortened Milwaukee 250, and as a result he was able to maintain his fourth-place standing in the Busch Series driver standings despite having missed the race in Nashville a few weeks prior. However, the No. 60 Taurus owned by Jack Roush still remains atop the owner standings by 24 points heading into this weekend's Winn-Dixie 250 at Daytona International Speedway. Edwards took some time to discuss the toll of competing in both series full-time and the importance of winning the owner's championship in the Busch Series should weather again become an issue.

CARL EDWARDS-No. 60 Charter Communications Ford Taurus

HOW HAS THE CUP-BUSCH DOUBLE TREATED YOU UP TO THIS POINT? "It's fun. To me, as long as I can get up in the morning and go do something and have a good time it doesn't matter where I'm at. I don't really like structure that much. I like to be able to kind of go with the flow and see what the day brings."

HOW ARE YOU GOING TO MAINTAIN THAT BIG CARL EDWARDS' SMILE THROUGHOUT THE SEASON? "I'm the same person that I was in 1995 when I started racing. I take racing seriously. I've always felt the same way about the racing. If I don't like it, or I stop liking it or I wasn't having a good time I wouldn't do it. I don't do this for any other reason than I really enjoy it and it's what I want to do. If the day comes when I'm not having fun or something, it would be simple, but I do have fun."

HOW ARE YOU ABLE TO COPE WITH THE CHALLENGE OF THE TIME-SENSITIVE SCHEDULE? "Last weekend when we ran in Kentucky and Michigan it was close, going back and forth. That was pretty exciting. That was fun. When we got back to qualify the Cup car, 15 minutes was all we had. It's fun. What's the worse that could happen? We just won't make it somewhere. It's not like it's the end of the world. Everybody is doing a great job. Everybody is putting a lot of effort into it, and so far it's been going smoothly."

TALK ABOUT RIDING IN THE BACK OF THE PICKUP TRUCK A FEW WEEKS AGO GOING FROM THE AIRPORT TO THE TRACK IN POCONO. "One of my best friends that I grew up with was in town and somebody was going to have to ride in the back of the pickup truck because there was one too many people. He volunteered to do it, and I just wanted to ride with him because that way we got to talk, and we really didn't get any other time to talk that weekend. It was just fun. It wasn't like it was really cold. It was a nice night. That's the kind of stuff people do all of the time."

PEOPLE DON'T EXPECT A CUP DRIVER TO RIDE IN THE BACK OF A PICKUP TRUCK, THOUGH. "I'm not a Cup driver. I'm Carl Edwards and I'm the same dude I was before this year."

YOU HAD AN OUTING AT MILWAUKEE BETWEEN PRACTICE AND QUALIFYING. "I went and got a haircut, and Jason Hedlesky (spotter) went with me, and we realized we had four hours, so we talked to the woman at the haircut place and she gave us directions to the pool, so we went to the pool. It was fun. There were people barbecuing and we made friends with all of the kids and jumped off the diving boards. We had a good time."

WERE YOU RECOGNIZED DURING YOUR OUTING IN MILWAUKEE? "I was sitting there and the guy in the barber chair next to me said, 'You're Carl Edwards.' I was like, 'Yeah.' She was like, 'Whoa, how does this guy know you?' We had just talked about how I wasn't from here, and she was like, 'How does he know who you are?' I told her I drive race cars. And she was like, 'Oh, really?' He was like, 'He's a really good race-car driver.' She asked what kind of cars I drive. I told her I was driving a Busch car, and she goes, 'Like George Bush?' I thought that was really funny."

HOW HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO DEAL WITH THE SUDDEN ATTENTION YOU'VE GAINED OVER THE PAST FEW MOTHS? "I really don't pay attention much to that. I don't know how people perceive me; I don't have a good grasp on it I know there were a lot of people at Milwaukee that were really excited to get my autograph and that was awesome. It's neat to see folks wearing my t-shirts and cheering for me. That's an awesome feeling. I really don't know what to think of it. As quickly as all of this has happened, I'm aware it can quickly go the other way, so I don't put too much value in it. I doesn't make me feel any better as a person or anything, but it sure is neat."

YOU MENTIONED AFTER YOUR RECENT WIN AT POCONO THAT YOU USE A COMPUTER SIMULATOR. WHAT IS THAT LIKE? "You do the same thing you would in a car. You have a steering wheel and pedals, and they do a good job of mapping the race track. It's as close as you can get to practicing on the race track for real. I think it helps to practice on the computer games."

GREG BIFFLE COMPLETED THE CUP-BUSCH DOUBLE IN 2004. WHAT ADVICE DID HE GIVE YOU? "He hit it right on the head. He said the toughest part is making sure you have all of your ducks in a row with both series. To be able to leave practice and run across the garage to practice the other car, it's hard to get the debrief time you usually have with each crew chief. That's the toughest part. Other than that, you're at the mercy of the weather, like we were at Nashville when we missed the Busch Series race. The physical part is not tough; it's just keeping everything in order. I think having Bob Osborne and Brad Parrott work together so well is the key to minimizing the amount that it takes away."

DON'T YOU CRAVE FOR SOME TIME AWAY FROM THE TRACK? "As long as I get a little it of free time to do something it's fine. We just went to the pool. We were at the pool and went back to the race track, so it's not like it's a tough life. As long as I get to go do something like ride my dirt bike or do something like that, usually after about a day and a half off, I want to get back to the race track and compete; that's what's really fun. I still haven't decided. We might do this again next year. I still have to decide what I want to do next year."

IS IT AN OPTION FOR NEXT YEAR? "I believe that it's a definite possibility. I would like to speak with Jim Hunter and Robin Pemberton and those guys and see what their plan is for the point structure. It would mean more for me to be able to race in the Busch Series for a championship next year. I've heard some stuff about possible changes for the Cup regulars who run the Busch Series, so I want to make sure I'm either a Busch regular or a they're going to give me points. I want to make sure we have a goal."

HOW DO YOU FEEL NASCAR SHOULD APPROACH THAT TOPIC? "I don't know. It's a tough thing because it does make it really hard on an independent Busch Series team. Somebody pointed it out the other day to me that it's not the drivers, but the teams. If I wasn't driving that 60 car or Mark Martin wasn't driving that 9 car, and let's say Todd Kluever was driving, those cars are still just as good and they're going to win races. It's not always the drivers. I'm sure NASCAR will do a good job of it. We'll just start in the back or something; it doesn't matter. I think they should invert according to points every week anyway just to make it more competitive, or whatever they can do. As long as it's competitive for the fans it will be a good show, and as long as they run races under the same rules it will always work. Some of the best races at the local track where my dad raced, they would invert every week according to your last three weeks' point average. It was awesome to watch dad start 25th every week and try to win the race; that's cool."

DOES THE OWNER'S CHAMPIONSHIP MEAN ANYTHING TO YOU AS A DRIVER? "To me, that championship carries as much weight to everyone else in the Roush organization other than me. It's important, but as I driver I want the driver's championship. That's what I'm racing for, but everybody on the team it doesn't matter if it's the driver's championship or the owner's championship, they're the ones who are working on that car every week, so it would mean the world to win the owner's championship."

HAVE YOU INCREASED YOUR TRAINING REGIMENT TO ACCOUNT FOR THE SUMMERTIME CONDITION? "I get to be in a race car enough. Sometimes in practice, especially when we're testing, if I'm feeling really tough that day I'll just stay in the car instead of getting out. I'll stay in there for a couple of hours just to get acclimated to the heat. In the summertime I try to run outside or go mountain biking outside or ride my dirt bike, and I always try to go through long periods when it's hot and that helps."

DO YOU EXPECT THE TRAVEL BETWEEN VENUES TO START WEARING ON YOU IN THE NEXT FEW WEEKS? "This is easy compared to the guys who are running a World of Outlaws team and driving across the country in a truck. Having a jet fly you back and forth, and I'm still averaging eight hours of sleep, it's not that bad. Biffle, I think he had some circumstances where weather and no sleep came into play. It makes it hard, but you can either do or you can't; there's no in between."

-ford racing-

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Drivers Jason Hedlesky , Carl Edwards , Jack Roush , Todd Kluever , Jim Hunter