Ford Friday Talladega Advance (Edwards)

Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion, leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings, holding a nine-point advantage over second-place Kyle Busch.  Edwards spoke about a variety of topics on Friday at Talladega Superspeedway.  

CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion – “It’s good to go anywhere with the points lead, and if there’s one place you want to go with the points lead, it’s Talladega.  Anything can happen here.  In the past we’ve had good runs here and real bad runs, but the great thing about coming to Talladega is we’re coming off of the last restrictor plate race in Daytona where the Fords were very good for a number of reasons, so it’s a good race for us.  I’m looking forward to it.  We had a good practice.  We practiced with Trevor Bayne quite a bit and it looks like we don’t have any major issues with our Fords.” 

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE YOUNG GUYS LIKE TREVOR AND RICKY?  “I think everybody kind of came to this race, at least in our camp, we all know now that we can work together with one another.  There’s nobody in our camp that I’m nervous about working with, and I don’t think they’re nervous about working with me.  They might be, but I was joking around with Trevor on the radio out there.  Trevor Bayne went from a guy who surprised everybody at Daytona in practice and then leading up to everything in the race to now he’s pushing me around as the Daytona 500 champ here at Talladega.  I think everyone will be looking to him particularly as a guy that they can work with, and then on the Nationwide side Ricky and I worked really well together in practice.  I really think Jack has two guys there that are the future of Roush Fenway.  That’s cool.”
American Muscle

HOW GOOD ARE THE YOUNG GUYS?  “They seem to be really good.  I got to race around Ricky a little bit.  I talked about it after California.  That guy can drive a race car.  I mean, sideways, on the gas, he can drive.  I think the experience that they have now is something we’ve all had to go through.  At these places it’s really tough to understand how these races are gonna go.  I’m just feeling comfortable with how to run these races, and I think both of those guys have caught on really quick.” 

FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE HOW DO YOU FEEL DAVID RAGAN HANDLED THE DAYTONA DISAPPOINTMENT AFTER BEING PENALIZED ON THE NEXT-TO-LAST RESTART?  “I did not see any of it, honestly, so I haven’t seen the replay of what he did and I didn’t see the way he reacted to it, but I heard that he pulled down before the start-finish line to line up, and then I heard that he handled it really well afterwards.  All I can say about David is he is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, and he’s a fierce competitor.  I think that showed both sides of it.  He was trying to win the Daytona 500 and when it didn’t go his way, he accepted it with dignity the way he seems to do everything in his life.  I saw that same mistake made by two champions, I personally saw it, at Martinsville.  So two Sprint Cup Series champions made the same mistake, and I wouldn’t put it past any of us to do it because it’s so easy.  When they throw that green, everybody takes off, you’re going through the gears and now it’s racing.  Nobody is thinking about where that start-finish line is, so that’s a tough thing to keep in mind when your mind is focused on competing.” 

ARE YOU PLANNING ON RIDING THIS IMPENDING STORM OUT IN YOUR MOTORHOME?  “I was going to ask you guys when I came over here, where is the safest place to go here in the infield?  Are there any basements?” 

YOU COULD GO IN YOUR RACE CAR.  “Yeah, I thought about that, actually, put the helmet on and get in the car.  The problem is I’ve got some family members here.  I don’t know how I’d get them in there.  I guess they could sit in the other guys’ cars.  I thought about the tunnel, but people are gonna be going in and out.  I don’t know what we’re gonna do.  I hope it gets through and I hope everybody is safe.  This stuff is nothing to mess around with.  I worry about all the fans sitting out there in the campgrounds in their tents, so, hopefully, it goes well.” 

ANY FALLOUT FROM YOUR COMMENT LAST WEEK ABOUT YOUR MOM’S COOKING?  “It turns out my motorhome driver and his wife – Wayne and Rosemary drive my motorhome – and they called my mom and said, ‘We ate the rest of that food and we’re fine, so it wasn’t your food.’  So I had to apologize to mom.  She thought it was pretty funny, though.  She won’t have to cook for anybody anytime soon.  She’s been offering everywhere she goes to cook for people and it’s funny because they’re like, ‘No, that’s OK.’” 

IS DARLINGTON A TROPHY YOU THINK ABOUT FROM A YOUNG AGE THAT YOU WANT TO PUT ON YOUR MANTLE?  “The first time I went to Darlington was in the Truck Series and I had studied tape with Jeff Burton.  Bobby Hudson was my spotter.  He grew up right around there and he’d seen races there forever, and I mean for a month leading up to that race I heard more Darlington stories and more things about how tough that track was, and learned about the history of it through my studying of how to run fast there.  To me, it’s a mythical place.  It’s a place that to win there, to me, would mean a lot.  It would be huge.  I’ve been very close.  We’ve been fast in the trucks, fast in the Nationwide car, really fast in the Cup car and have never won a race there, so that’s a very important race to me.” 

A LOT OF GOOD DRIVERS HAVE NEVER WON HERE.  IS IT FRUSTRATING TO COME TO A PLACE LIKE THIS?  “No, it’s kind of exciting in a way because I know eventually we’ll end up winning one of these restrictor plate races, but I just haven’t been able to put it all together.  It’s one of those races where the only thing that really matters are those final three laps, so, to me, I’ve been thinking of that as the race.  So I go back through my head and I think over the last three laps of all these race and all the things I’ve done, all the stuff leading up to that doesn’t mean anything.  What I’m trying to say is it takes a long time, I think, for me to feel comfortable like I know how to win these races.  Daytona helped me a lot.  To drive up through there, to finish second, to have a shot at winning the 500, that whole day was a good learning experience for me.  It’s not frustrating, I think it’ll be really neat when we do win one.”

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


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