Ford Talladega Friday (Edwards)

Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Subway Ford Fusion, sits sixth in
the point standings and trails leader Jimmie Johnson by 213 points.
He spoke about returning to Talladega after Friday’s first practice
session.

CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Subway Ford Fusion – “We’ve got the Subway Ford
this week.  The car ran pretty well, but we’ve got a vibration that
we’re working on and trying to figure it out.  It’s not as bad as it’s
been, but we’re working on that.  I noticed when I sat down here this
stand right in front of me says ‘vibration reduction stand.’  I
thought that was pretty humorous. I should take that with me when I
leave.  That’s what we’ve been working on, but it’s a fun day for me
today.  We get to practice a couple of practices and then I’m gonna go
over to a Subway in Pell City and we’re gonna sign some autographs.
I’ve never been to Pell City, so we’ll go over there and maybe get
some lunch and meet some people at Subway, and then come back and do
Trackside Live tonight.  We haven’t tried any qualifying trim yet, so
I don’t know really what to expect for qualifying tomorrow, but we’ll
do that tomorrow.  For me, this race is an opportunity for us to cut
into our points deficit.  Most of you know my love-hate relationship
with this place and right now I’m really looking forward to it, just
because it could shake things up and it could work out in our favor,
so we’ll just go run.”  WHAT WOULD YOU THINK IF YOU GOT ONE POINT FOR
EACH LAP LED HERE?  “Are you trying to make it more dramatic?  I guess
that would be pretty interesting.  I’d have to think that through.
You can already wreck up there in the front and I think if you were
paying points for leading, there would probably be a series of wrecks
with guys leading and you still might be better off to sit in the back
and wait it out.  So it just comes down to how much risk guys are
taking.  It might even be more riskier to run up front, but that’s a
good question.”  WAS THERE A VIBRATION WITH ALL THE ROUSH CARS?  “I
was just speaking with someone on the way in and they said that, too.
I didn’t realize that Matt was having trouble.  I knew that Greg was,
but it seems like something we’re all fighting and it’s such a
difficult thing.  They always give me a hard time in the meetings
because I’m always screaming about how my car is vibrating and it
makes you just want to give up.  You’re like that guy on TV that
swears he saw a UFO and everybody is like, ‘Yeah, okay,’ because they
can’t duplicate it in the shop and they can’t duplicate it on the
chassis dyno, so it’s one of those things you chase around.  In the
race car, it feels like it robs horsepower and it robs speed, so it’s
important to me, but I’m the only one who knows that it’s going on.
In a way, I’m glad all of our cars are doing the same thing at least,
so we can maybe work on it.”  WHAT DOES YOUR MIND GO THROUGH HERE WHEN
IT’S INTENSE?  “You’re thinking a lot of things, but here the tough
part is to understand exactly where your car is, and that’s normally
what you work on – you’re at a race track and you’re worrying about
your car and the way you’re positioning yourself on the race track,
but as important here you’ve got to have your peripheral vision
working and watching your mirrors, listening to your spotter and
understanding where everybody else is going and how much momentum they
have, and then you also have to – at the same time – think about their
possible intentions or what they are trying to do.  If you can kind of
keep that all going in your head, you can pick the right spot to move
and that’s what makes it intense – these little bitty split-second
decisions can dictate whether you go backwards or forwards.  It all
comes down to that last lap and you’ve got to make sure you pick the
right one.”                

DO YOU STRESS UNTIL IT’S DONE?  “I don’t
stress about it, I just try to really focus.  I’ve watched enough of
these things and I’ve been involved in enough of them to realize that
you just do the best you can and, at the end, one guys is gonna be in
front when you cross that finish line.  If you can separate yourself
like Brad and I did a couple of years ago, if you can separate
yourselves from the group at the end, you’re obviously doing yourself
a huge favor because then you’re only dealing with one guy – so that
would probably be the goal.  I think that’s what you’ll see.  I think
you’ll see breakout groups at the very end of the race – guys that
just commit to pushing another guy.  Everybody is getting really good
at that, so it could be pretty interesting.”  TEAMMATES SEEM TO GET IN
IT AT MARTINSVILLE.  WHY?  “I don’t know, I think it’s just
coincidence.  Usually, you leave there mad at somebody and everybody
has enough teammates now that there are gonna be times when you’re
really mad at your teammate, but that’s just racing.  You’ve got to do
the best you can to work with your teammates.  I think that’s really
important.  I’ve learned that lesson over time. Obviously, I haven’t
always worked the best with my teammates, or we haven’t gotten along
the best, but I feel like that’s one of the strongest things we have
on our team right now is I’m there to help Matt and Greg and David and
I feel like they’re doing the same with  me.  I’m just glad we’re not
having trouble and those guys can go do whatever they’re doing.  On
our team we are not ‘having at it’.  We’re doing okay.”  HOW MUCH
DIFFERENCE IS THERE BETWEEN QUALIFYING SETUP AND RACE SETUP BEING AN
IMPOUND RACE?  AND ARE WE GOING TO SEE TWO GUYS DECIDE THIS RACE BY
BREAKING AWAY?  “We’re not gonna go into qualifying trim, I believe,
or make a run by ourselves so we’ll just get the car the best we can
to  run the race and then we’ll go run our laps tomorrow.  As far as
the way the cars work together, the deal is if you can push someone’s
bumper, your car gets in a little void of low pressure behind their
car and you can just lay into it.  You guys see what happens, but I
think it’s too difficult to do that with three cars because the guy in
the middle gets choked up and wrecked, so it’s hard enough to do with
two.  I think you’re right, like we talked about earlier, it’ll be two
cars breaking away.  If you look at the last laps of the last couple
of these races, it’s been two cars breaking away – two cars over here
and two cars over there – kind of separating themselves.  If there are
a couple groups of those two-car things going on during that last lap,
it could be a pretty amazing race.  But everybody realizes that’s the
deal now, so that’s what everybody is gonna be looking for, I think.
They’re gonna be looking for somebody’s bumper to push on hard for the
last lap.”  WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON PHOENIX?  “Phoenix has been one
of my favorite tracks to go to.  That was the first place I ever raced
on pavement, so that was a big deal to me to go out there in the USAC
Silver Crown cars, so I spent a lot of nights laying in my bed
thinking about Phoenix and how to run that place.  I’ve had a lot of
success there in the Nationwide Series.  I think we sat on the pole
there maybe in the Cup car or qualified second and led a bunch one
time and that was good.  It’s a driver’s race track.  It’s a track
that the driver can make a big difference on.  Obviously, your car has
to be set up really well, but once the car is perfect, that’s a track
where it truly comes down to the driver.  If you win that race, it’s
one you can be really proud of, so I’d love to win a Cup race out
there.  That would be great, and the Nationwide races have been really
good.  I’ve really enjoyed running there.  It’s such a unique track.
It’s got bumps and it’s really unique.  I like it.”              

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WITH THIS TWO-CAR BREAKAWAY CAN YOU WORK
WELL WITH JUST ABOUT ANYONE?  “Yeah, and  because of this two-car
breakaway thing and how well the cars match up bumper to bumper, it
leaves a lot of options out there.  When Brad and I had our race
there, I was in line like sixth or eighth and he just pulled up behind
me and started pushing and we pulled out and we passed everyone.  In
two laps we were however many yards ahead of the field and we were
just screaming.  We hadn’t worked together all day.  I’d never drafted
with him before and that went really well.  That could happen with
anyone.  I think you could have guys running under the white flag in
eighth or ninth position and they get matched up the right way and
pull out and go, I don’t think it matters what manufacturer the car is
and whether they’re teammates or not, it’s just gonna come down to who
gets teamed up together and if they can keep their cars together and
not wreck one another.  They’re gonna be really fast.”  THERE HAS BEEN
TALK ABOUT THE RPM ISSUES AND THE POSSIBILITY OF GANASSI COMING TO
FORD.  HOW MUCH OF A BENEFIT WOULD THAT BE HAVING WORKED WITH JAMIE
BEFORE?  “I don’t know what’s going on with RPM.  I asked the question
in the hallway there 15 minutes ago and nobody there really knew what
was going on.  That aside, the more Ford teams we can have the better.
Ford is doing a great job in the marketplace and they’ve got a lot of
resources at their disposal right now, and the more teams we can have
running Fords, the better off we’d be.  If the Ganassi guys want to
switch to Fords, that would be huge for us.  I would love to be able
to work with Jamie and Juan and their engineers, and all the people
over there.  They’ve made some really big gains and their cars are
really fast, so that would be huge for us to be able to work with
them.  The more the merrier.”  WOULD IT GIVE THE ROUSH CARS
COMPETITION IN THEIR OWN RANKS?  “I think it would help us.  I don’t
know if I’d call it competition, but maybe it would be.  It always
helps me when one of my teammates is running better than me.  It makes
me faster.  If those guys were able to come over and able to be part
of our group and they had things that were working better than us,
that’s definitely good for us.  Hopefully, we could learn from them.
Just like we talked about last week at Martinsville, we looked at
Jamie’s situation and we say, ‘Here’s a guy who changed teams and all
of a sudden can run very, very well.’  What I wouldn’t give to know
exactly what’s different.  That would be huge for us to be able to
understand what is different with Jamie running at Roush and Jamie
running at Ganassi because we would hope we could apply that stuff to
our cars and make them faster too.  So if you could have people like
that, that are close and competitive, that are close to you, that
would be great.”  HOW DO YOU THINK THE ‘HAVE AT IT’ PHILOSOPHY HAS
WORKED THIS YEAR?  “I think it’s worked out pretty well.  I haven’t
noticed a huge difference, except for maybe in the penalties and
that’s been nice for NASCAR to let us police things out there.  I know
I’ve pushed the limits of it personally, not intentionally, it’s just
that some of the results weren’t intentional – that’s for sure.  I
think it’s good and I think it says a lot for NASCAR to recognize and
stand behind the fact that the guys on the race track can police this
as well as anyone.  I think it’s a good thing.  I think it’s good for
the fans and good for the sport, and probably, in the end, better for
safety.”

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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