BUSCH: Nashville: Edwards - Ford interview

Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 60 Ford Fusion in the Busch Series, commented on the personnel changes announced yesterday by Roush Racing. It was announced that Edwards' Nextel Cup crew chief, Bob Osborne, would assume crew chief duties for the...

Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 60 Ford Fusion in the Busch Series, commented on the personnel changes announced yesterday by Roush Racing. It was announced that Edwards' Nextel Cup crew chief, Bob Osborne, would assume crew chief duties for the No. 26 Ford Fusion, while Wally Brown was promoted to the crew chief of Edwards' No. 99 Ford Fusion.

CARL EDWARDS-60-Henkel Ford Fusion

COMMENT ON THE PERSONNEL CHANGES ANNOUNCED YESTERDAY, AND HOW THE DECISION WAS MADE. "Jack relayed a message when we were at Richmond that I was to be at Roush yesterday for an eight a.m. meeting. I thought, 'Man, if he was mad because I wrecked at Texas, he can just call me.' Nobody feels worse than me and I thought it was about I how wrecked our car at Texas, so I called and I said, 'I really don't need to be there for that. I understand what I did wrong, you could just let me have it on the phone.' They said, 'No, he really wants you here.' I had no clue and we walked in there, and Jack said, 'Look, I've made a decision that we're going to make a big change. In all, it's about seven positions, and everybody is just going to kind of rotate around.' He said, 'We're going to take Bob Osborne and he's going to be crew chief for Jamie McMurray, and Jimmy Fennig is going to go over there and straighten up the Busch program a little bit, and Wally Brown will be your crew chief.' I thought, 'This is unbelievable.' We had a good talk about it, and I think it's going to work. I believe it's going to work, and if it doesn't, Jack said Bob would be back. In 90 days we'll have a meeting to discuss how it's going."

CHEMISTRY IS AN IMPORTANT ELEMENT IN THE DRIVER-CREW CHIEF RELATIONSHIP. DID YOU HAVE THAT CHEMISTRY WITH BOB? "Bob is an unbelievable guy. I know it sounds kind of cliche, but he's not just a crew chief, he's a good friend. He's not just a good crew chief, he's great. This is a promote-from-within company. Wally Brown is an unbelievable guy who's a brilliant engineer. I actually met Wally at Kenny Schrader Racing about 10 years ago when I was working there for the summer, and Wally got his first job as an engineer. We roomed together and we were buddies. I'm sure when they said that Carl Edwards was going to drive the 99 car, everybody thought Jack was out of his mind. Wally, I think, is far more qualified to be a crew chief on our car than I was a driver."

HOW HARD IS IT TO MAKE THIS CHANGE NOW AS YOU TRY TO GET BACK ON TRACK THIS SEASON? "Honestly, Bob Osborne and I had a long talk about it, and from our perspective, purely from the No. 99 Office Depot team, it's a bad thing, it's not great. Our team, we've had a lot of bad results, but, man, we've had awesome performances. We almost won our Gatorade qualifier at Daytona. We ran the best we've run at a restrictor-plate race track. We were faster than we've ever been at Atlanta. Texas was great. Bristol was great. Martinsville was better than I've ever had. It's frustrating because we're running so well, but on the other hand, our team is running so well right now that I think if at any time somebody could come in like Wally and get going right away, right now is the time."

HAVE YOU REFLECTED ON YOUR RACING LUCK LAST SEASON COMPARED TO THIS SEASON? "I said at the beginning of the year, I told everybody that we had great luck last year. Even on our bad days we got lucky. This year, there's a lot of things involved in racing, I was just talking to the guys about it. I think we're a lot better. I feel like I'm better, and I feel like our team is better. I don't think we need to be trying as hard. I think at Atlanta, we were in a rush and we got in a wreck on pit road. Texas, I was in an awful big hurry to get up there and get the lead back, and I got in over my head. I think that if we could calm down a little bit that we'll be awesome. But, I think you have to do all this. This is all still pretty new and you have to go through all of it to learn everything. I'm learning a lot, even through this bad stuff."

HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO STAY GROUNDED IN THIS KIND OF SITUATION? "As a competitor, after last season, there's this sense like we deserve to go out and win some races, and that's not how racing works. You don't get anything because you deserve it; you get it because you work for it. We just need to keep doing what we do and go race. Our crew is awesome. We're fast and that's just one part of it, and you have to make the most of that. I'm learning and we're all learning, and we'll be good. We drove from 37th to the lead at Texas. We were so fast at Atlanta. Daytona was great. Bristol, I never thought I would run that great at Bristol, and we had a good run. If you took all of the time sheets from all of the practices for the first seven races last year, and put them next to this year, we'd look like a way better team. It's just that we have to get the results."

IS THERE A GRACE PERIOD FOR SUCCESS WITH WALLY COMING OVER? "The expectations are really high, but Wally, you have to give the guy time. You can't expect him to come in here and just be standing on that box screaming two tires or four tires and making spring calls. The way Jack put it in that meeting is that Bob is still going to oversee our team at least for the short term while Wally is working on it. We don't expect Wally to just take charge and go out and win five races in a row or anything."

WHAT IS THE B BIGGEST CHALLENGE WALLY WILL FACE BEING PUT IN THIS POSITION? "The biggest challenge, I think, will be just coming in and having the confidence. He's in a position a lot like I was when I got the ride in the 99 car. This is his dream as far as I know. Wally has worked really hard for this, and he's definitely smart enough. I think the biggest challenge for Wally would just be having the confidence, relax and do the job."

IS THE CONCERN JUST TO GET BACK IN THE TOP 10 IN POINTS AND NOT WORRY ABOUT THE POINTS LEADER? "I've got people coming up to me in Wal-Mart asking, 'What's happened? What's going on? What's wrong.' I'm like, 'Look, it's just racing.' If the stuff was easy it wouldn't be as much fun when you run well, honestly. Yeah, we've had bad luck, but we've only got to make up about 180 points. Heck, if we could just get in a good stride and have some good luck and run like we should, we could make that up in 10 weeks."

HOW MUCH OF THIS SHAKEUP IS A PRODUCT OF THE NEW POINTS SYSTEM? "To be extremely clear, this change has nothing to do with Bob's performance or our team's performance. It has to do with getting Jamie going. That's all this is. That's something I wanted to make real clear because Bob is doing an unbelievable job. The things that have happened this year, just look at the facts. Me running into Kyle Petty has nothing to with Bob. Me wrecking at Texas doesn't, and the deal on pit road that wasn't Bob's fault either. This is a compliment to Bob, if anything."

IS THIS AN ATTEMPT BY JACK TO GET ALL OF HIS TEAMS INTO THE TOP 10 IN POINTS AGAIN? "The way Jack put it to me, he said, 'Do you feel like you're a part of something great?' I said, 'Yes, I do sir.' He said, 'How do you think it got that way?' I said, 'Well, you making decisions and running your team like you think it should be run.' He said, 'I really believe this will work.' I think it says a couple of things. It says how great of people we have at Roush Racing and then how well we can work together that you can just swap crew chiefs and plan on things to get better. That says a lot."

"I've learned so many lessons. I've been writing things down after each race. It's amazing how hard I've tried my whole career - just tried, tried, tried - and you can't try hard enough. And, Texas was the perfect example. We had a great race car, and there's times that I'm learning when you just have to say, 'All right. We're fine and just kind of chill out and relax and go racing.' At worst at Texas we were going to finish fourth, and I'm sitting there against the fence trying to remind myself why I was trying to lead so bad. That's the kind of stuff you have to feel out. I think most people have been through it. It's painful, but I think it's valuable."

"We know can we can do the job. I know I can do the job, but there are a lot of aspects to the job. The job isn't being the fastest car for nine out of 10 laps and then wrecking on the 10th lap. The job is to finish as best you can. I'm learning. It's hard as a driver because you live and die by those laps times, and they're telling them in your ear. I want to be the fastest all the time, but sometimes that stuff doesn't matter. You can be good at the end by just taking it easy."

"I love Phoenix. We ran really well at Phoenix last year, so that should be a good spot for our team."

"I wish you guys could have heard this talk we just had in the lounge. That's exactly what I told them. I said, 'You guys, you need to be screaming at me on the radio when we have a great race car just to take it easy because that's the hard part.' Hanging out there when everything's going great, hanging the car out and everything is awesome, and sometimes you just have to slow down, and that is hard."

-ford racing-

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Drivers Kyle Petty , Jamie McMurray , Carl Edwards