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June 15, 2012 3:21 PM

Notes and Quotes From Michigan: Carl Edwards

CARL EDWARDS, No. 99 Fastenal Ford Fusion – TALK ABOUT HOW YOUR CAR IS PERFORMING, HOW THE TRACK IS FEELING AND YOUR EXPECTATIONS FOR SUNDAY. “The track is amazing. I can’t believe how much grip it has. It is also a little bit forgiving. We got the car sideways a couple of times and it doesn’t seem as treacherous as some of the other repaves. I think that obviously the speeds will be huge and hopefully we can race. Hopefully there are a couple lanes and we can get two-wide and run at this speed. Our Fastenal Fusion is good. We stayed in race trim the whole first practice and we will go to qualifying trim here this afternoon. I think qualifying will be really important because the speeds might be really high. The groove will be narrow and it could be really important to have track position for the first part of the race. This track is important to us for a number of reasons. This morning I was over at the Kellogg company world headquarters in Battle Creek and that was a lot of fun. We got to meet a lot of them and Roush Industries is right here and Ford is right here. There is huge pride for us to run well here.”

 

ARE YOU HAVING ANY TIRE ISSUES? “I don’t think we have had any tire issues. We haven’t had any of that. We haven’t had the trouble and hopefully we don’t. We do not need tire issues right now.”

 

THERE IS TALK OF TANDEM DRAFTING IN THE NATIONWIDE SERIES. NOBODY SEEMS TO BE DOING IT IN PRACTICE THOUGH. WHY NOT TRY IT IN PRACTICE? “Well that is a lot of if’s there. I don’t know if I would be planning on tandem drafting here but I haven’t driven one of those cars. If the groove in the corner isn’t wide enough to spread out and get fresh air then I don’t think you would see that. You would run in the corner nose to tail and the guy behind will have a huge disadvantage aero wise and would have to slow up. If you could time it perfectly and you had enough room to move two-wide in the corner a little bit and then tuck in down the straightaway then two guys could maybe work together and run off. I guess now would be the time to be practicing that, it seems pretty treacherous for the race. I think it really depends on the groove in the corners and if it is wide enough.”

 

IS THERE ANYTHING REALLY MAGICAL OR REALLY COOL ABOUT BREAKING THE 200 MPH BARRIER? “I think it is pretty cool. The first run yesterday was the first time I had been on the new surface and the data screen in the car wasn’t working, the miles per hour, it was reading 60-something the whole time. I made my first run, came in and went out for the second run. I look up there halfway down the front straightaway and it said 206 or 207 and I thought it was still all messed up. It was a little bit of a shock to realize we were really going that fast. I had never looked at the screen and seen 200 mph when you get on the straightaway. That to me is really fast. It doesn’t feel that fast. I told somebody that when they did the repave they didn’t have to make the track smaller. He said, ‘What do you mean?’ and I explained that we are going so fast that it feels like a smaller race track. It doesn’t feel like a two mile race track. It is just amazing how fast we are going. To me, that is kind of uncharted territory to be going that fast.”

 

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE IMPORTANCE IN CONTRIBUTING TO THE SUCCESS OF THE ROUSH TEAMS OF HAVING SUCH BACKING OF FORD MOTOR COMPANY? “Ford, they have been a great partner to me personally and have done a lot from me. I have learned a lot from our relationships. I think being there right beside them through the downturn a few years ago and seeing how they deal with that – that was pretty amazing and a humbling experience to see that. It was very educational. I don’t think of myself at this point in my career as having contributed very much to Roush Fenway Racing. I feel like they have done a lot for me. I am grateful for all the work that everyone has done, Jack and Mark Martin and Jeff Burton and all the guys, Greg, Matt and Kurt (Busch) and everyone that built this organization. Right now we are kind of the slow car on the team. We are 11th in points and it is pretty neat to be associated with this group right now. We are fast and we have a shot to win almost every weekend. I feel like we are going to be a force in this championship. It is a good time to be a part of Roush Fenway Racing.”

 

CAN YOU LOOK AHEAD TO SONOMA? “Sonoma is one of the most fun tracks we go to. It is real slippery and it is so much different than what most of us grew up racing, it is a huge challenge. To me, it is one of the tracks I look forward to the most. We have had really good races and bad races there but it is a challenge. It is so neat to drive a stock car like that with all the horsepower and you are shifting gears and jumping off curbs and locking up the tires. There is a lot of driving going on. It is a very physical race and it is usually hot out there and grueling. A good run there, to me, is special. It says a lot about not only the car and team but there is a lot of pride as a driver to run well because it is so much work.”

 

AS FAR AS THE TIRES GO, THERE ARE ONLY THREE GUYS IN THAT FIRST SESSION THAT WENT MORE THAN 10 CONSECUTIVE LAPS. WILL YOU KNOW MORE ABOUT THEM ONCE YOU RUN A 10 OR 20-LAP RUN? “Well, how many guys had trouble? Was it everyone or just a few guys? I am nervous when you tell me it was four or five guys. I don’t know how to explain it to you guys. The cars are so fast and making so much grip that it is hard to imagine a little area making all that friction and Goodyear has to make that work and keep everyone happy. It is a lot of force out there. I am sure NASCAR will look at it and Goodyear will look at it and it will be something that I will go talk to Bob about. We will keep track of it and try to do a long run and we will watch those Nationwide cars. They make a ton of force in the corners and put a lot of load on the tires. It will be something we all watch. We can probably adjust the cars and watch what goes on and see who is the weakest link. You don’t want to be the first guy to blow the tire. If one guy blows then everyone is on guard. It adds another variable to the race. It seems like it will still be okay. We haven’t had any trouble with the 10-lap runs we have made.”

 

WHERE YOU ARE ON THE BUBBLE RIGHT NOW, AS FAR AS BEING JUST OUT OF THE CHASE ZONE, ARE YOU MORE CONCERNED WITH WINNING RACES OR POINTS TO GET IN THE TOP-10? “I think it is 50-50 right now. The safest thing we can do is win races. We talked about it in the garage the other day. I think that is the best move. Just go out there and win. Maybe with five races to go and we still haven’t won one, and are still on the bubble – which I don’t plan on being – I plan on being way up there. Then we might have to say that we have to focus on the points. If there is a shot to go win it, we need to go with the race. That is what we need to do. I think that is a safer play to do that. It is like insurance more so than to run easy and hope for points. With the luck we have had – Denny ran into me the first lap last week and we had the tire thing at Dover – that stuff can happen in an instant and points can go away quickly. Wins are good. To me each week is a new race.

 

QUESTION INAUDIBLE - “I don’t know if that is how my whole team sees it or not, but I always think of it like that. I can be really frustrated on Sunday but I work really hard to be back at the race track with my game face ready to rock and be fast and not think about last week. I try to do that every week. I guess it is a pretty deep thought. It is an interesting way to look at what is going on and to think of your team. Maybe that is smart. Maybe that is doing the right thing. You don’t want to shock the system so that you have all your confidence when it is time to go. That is interesting.”

 

QUESTION INAUDIBLE - “I don’t know if it is good to think that deep for me. You start weighing all those things and then you get all messed up. I just try to do the best we can each week and regroup if it doesn’t go well. We try not to carry baggage. That is tough.”

 

LOOKING TOWARD KENTUCKY, YOU HAD A GOOD RUN THERE LAST YEAR. “That race is pretty huge for us. It is right there near Best Buy’s headquarters so we are going to do some stuff with the Geek Squad there which will be fun and it is a UPS race for us, our only UPS race as far as I know this year. It is a big race for us. I had my first win in NASCAR there in the truck series. It is huge for me to be able to go back there and have the opportunity to run in the Cup series there and get a win there. We had some Nationwide wins there – it might just be one but it feels like two – I really like that place. It has character and the fans are wound up. It is just fun.”

 


KNOWING MATT KENSETH’S PENCHANT FOR CONSISTENCY, DOES IT MAKE YOU LOOK AT HIM AS A CHAMPIONSHIP CONTENDER? “I think until Martinsville last year he was our biggest concern for the championship. Everyone in the garage knows that he is a very tough competitor and doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. I would say anytime he has a chance to win that everyone else, including myself, we look at him as a threat. He is very, very good. He seems like he was worked on the weaknesses that he and his team have had lately. They qualify really well and he is really aggressive when then need to be. He is really, really good right now.”

 

YOU DISCUSSED BEING THE SLOW CAR. WE HAVE GENERALLY LEFT YOU ALONE ABOUT THE HANGOVER FROM LAST YEAR. “Let me be clear, a hangover from last year does not make tires blow or Denny forget where his brakes are. That has nothing to do with us (laughter). Anyway, it is not the hangover, but thank you.”

 

HOW WOULD YOU COMPARE PERFORMANCE VERSUS WHAT WE SEE ON PAPER? “They are two different things – performance and results – you can run very well and have a bad result because of something that goes on. This is a test of man and machine and you have other competitors out there. A lot of circumstances can happen that can cause you to have a bad day. I think our performance, I would say we deserve to be about fifth in the points and we are 11th. I don’t think we deserve to be leading it, even if we had the luck that we had last year, I think we would be top-five in points but I wouldn’t say we would be dominating. I think the performance is not as good as it needs to be but it isn’t far off. If we get a little luck, find a little speed, we will be just fine. We just have to make the Chase obviously to have a shot at anything for us this season. To get a shot at that championship we gotta make the Chase.”

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