Ford Friday Advance (Edwards and Biffle)

Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion, will be making his sixth start in the Sprint All-Star Race and is still looking for his first win. Edwards spoke to the media before qualifying for Saturday night’s Sprint All-Star Race.

CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion – CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THIS RACE? “I’m pretty excited about that. Our Aflac Fusion is fast and I think tonight is gonna be fun. Qualifying is a blast here. I wish we qualified like that every week. It’s neat to include the pit crew in qualifying and getting in and off of pit road is a good challenge. I’m proud to be driving the Aflac Now Hiring paint scheme. If any of you guys need some extra work, they are hiring and it’s a good deal. It’s a million bucks, no points. It looks like we’re gonna go out here and race hard, a 10-lap shootout at the end, it’s gonna be wild.”

HOW DO YOU RATE YOUR ODDS TOMORROW AND WHO ARE THE GUYS TO BEAT? “I haven’t had a chance to look really closely at the times, but I felt like we were as fast as anyone on our 10-lap run with tires. I think Jimmie was really fast, but we have such a small amount of practice that I think there are gonna be a lot of guys who go work on their stuff and are gonna be faster than they showed in practice. Plus, guys are setting themselves up to really pay attention to what goes on those first couple of segments and tune their cars, so I think it’s hard to pick favorites right now. We’re really fast right now. Jimmie is really fast, but the way this race works and the way that short run, the restarts, the pit stops – the way all of that stuff works out – this thing is gonna be a moving target and it’s gonna be difficult to pick someone.”
American Muscle

WHAT WAS THE VO2 MAX TEST? WHEN DID YOU PARTICIPATE IN THAT? “We went out there to ESPN Sports Science, their lab and did a couple different tests (before the California race). I learned that guy running the test is mean (laughing). Trust me, I’ve got this athletic image to uphold. They’ve got me hooked up to this thing and they’re telling me, ‘OK, go a little harder, a little harder, a little harder,’ and there are all these cameras looking at you and everybody staring at you. I’m like, ‘Man, I’ve got to go really hard right now. This is important.’ But it was pretty interesting. I did better than I thought I would do and that was pretty neat of them. I thought it was neat of them to showcase a race car driver on that show, to show everyone that we are athletes. There are guys, I think, in this garage that would do better on the VO2 Max test than I did, so that’s pretty cool.”

IS IT A CAUSE FOR CONCERN WHEN YOU SEE ISSUES LIKE VICKERS AND LOGANO THE LAST COUPLE OF WEEKS WITH THE WRECKS THEY’VE BEEN IN? “I haven’t looked at those cars. I didn’t see exactly what happened. I feel safe in these race cars, as safe as any race car that I’ve ever driven and I feel like, yeah, we participate in a dangerous sport and anything can happen, but I feel like NASCAR, the teams, the guys that make the seats, the guys that are welding the cages together – everyone – the people that put in the soft walls – they’re all doing the best they can and I feel pretty safe in this sport. Again, anything can happen, but I think that’s why you see some of these races you see and how wild they are because we all know we’ve got safe race cars and we can hang it out there. But I feel confident in my car’s safety and our track’s safety. And one other thing about that, when you see that wreck like Jeff Gordon had, the tracks respond to the weak points in safety around the race track and I think that’s good too.”

HAVE YOU PLANKED YET? “Jenna asked me to plank the other night at the Hall of Fame dinner and I didn’t do it, so I have not planked yet. Has this turned into a big deal? I heard Jimmie did it on the hood of his car or something – on two cars? I’m working up to it.”

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE FITNESS ASPECT OF THE SPORT AND THE DANGERS GUYS FACE ON PIT ROAD? “Those guys have an extremely dangerous job on pit road. Every week when I pull out of my pit stall the guy in front is putting right side tires on, you’re inches from those guys. They’re athletes for sure. I don’t know if anybody in here has ever tried to jack one of these race cars, but it’s very difficult. It’s one of the first things I did over at Roush, we would do a pit practice when I was driving the truck and I was like, ‘Hey, let me try that. Show me how to do that,’ and it’s really tough. I looked like a complete idiot trying it, so they’re athletes and I feel like, overall, the whole sport is going in that direction. People are understanding the value of fitness and I think that’s good. There are a lot of young kids that watch the sport. I was just in Washington with the President’s Council on Fitness and we talked a lot about the statistics of physical fitness or lack of it in schools – physical activity and a lack of that in our school systems – and I think it’s cool for you guys in the media to kind of highlight what these guys go through on pit road and maybe it’ll be a little bit inspiring to some of these kids.”

WHAT IS IT THAT MAKES YOU DO WHAT YOU DO AS OPPOSED TO AN AVERAGE PERSON THAT DRIVES DOWN THE ROAD EVERY DAY? “That is a good question. I think that the people that we really need to focus on are the people that are out there protecting our freedom. That is the most important thing. Those are the heroes. Those are the people that really. You know, a couple friends of ours are getting married and the husband has three Purple Hearts and had been shot three times over there in Iraq and that made me feel pretty insignificant about what I do. As far as the things that actually make a difference between us and the guy driving down the street, I think the think that you guys can really help to get across to the fans is, what is actually the talent of driving a race car. A lot of people don’t really understand that. They think, ‘So what, you drive close to another guy and go 200 mph and that is not unimaginable.’ The hard part to describe or convey, especially at a place like this, is that the whole time you are in that corner you aren’t going as fast as the car can go. You are going as fast as you can make it go. The difficult part is balancing that car as you are sliding and managing those tires and the slide around the corner. That is racing. That is auto racing. Balancing that car is racing. A lot of the fans don’t even know we are sliding the car around the corner. It looks like we are tracking really straight but if you watch our hands in there we are correcting the cars all the way around. That is the difference between the race track and the street.”

DO PEOPLE OFTEN PRACTICE ON TWO TIRES BECAUSE WHEN THE END COMES, NOBODY SEEMS TO KNOW IF YOU WILL HAVE FOUR TIRES OR TWO, SO I AM CURIOUS IF YOU GUYS EVER PRACTICE ON TWO TIRES? “That is a good idea. We should practice two tires. We have done that testing but I haven’t seen many people do that practicing for the race. I think you saw at Dover and at Darlington people like myself who were real surprised at how fast two tires or no tires were. I think that is a result of NASCAR doing such a good job keeping everyone so close. All the teams are very close. The difference between the cars is not as big as the difference between running in front of behind someone. The aero dependence on the car is just big enough that if you can stay out front and have kind of a fast car then you are in pretty good position. There are a couple things going on, not just the tires, but the aero dependence that makes a difference.”

THE OBVIOUS QUESTION BECOMES THEN, WHY DID YOU DO IT THAT WAY? “We didn’t know and to defend our decision, Chad didn’t know and Gill didn’t know how bad we were going to be back there. We didn’t know how uncompetitive our great race cars were going to be running in eighth place. That was ignorance on our part. We should have seen that coming but we didn’t.”

WHEN YOU FOUND OUT WE WERE GOING TO KANSAS TWICE THIS YEAR, WHAT DID THAT MEAN TO YOU? “That means a lot. A win at Kansas in the Cup series, you guys don’t know how much that would mean to me. It would be huge. I am excited we are running twice there. I think our program is suited very well to those types of tracks and we should be very good there. It gives us twice as many opportunities to get a win. We have been very close there. We have been close on fuel mileage and close in that race with Jimmie. Still to this day that truck race there was one of the greatest moments of my career. That was a big win.”

INSTEAD OF HAVING SUNDAY OFF YOU ARE GOING TO IOWA. WHAT IS THE MOTIVATION FOR THAT? “Well, we have a lot of fans up there. I do in particular. For any of you guys that have been to Iowa you know the atmosphere there is amazing. It is like a giant State fair automobile race. There are more racetracks I think in Iowa than any other state. I am kinda making that up a little bit but I think it might be true. It seems like there are a lot of tracks up there. The people know racing and it is a packed house and close to home for me. We have a great race car in that Mustang that they are preparing every week. We have Polaris on board which will be really neat. That will be a great sponsor and it will be the first race I have run with them. They make really neat motorcycles. I am just excited to go there and get a victory. That is why I am going.”

WHEN KEVIN HARVICK WAS IN HERE EARLIER SOMEONE ASKED HIM ABOUT NOT HAVING ANY RUN INS WITH YOU THIS SEASON. HE MENTIONED YOU GUYS HAD A SIT DOWN CHAT EARLIER THIS YEAR. “Yeah, it was good. He does a really neat thing for some orphans and his foundation contacted us and we participated in it. We delivered gifts to kids that are I believe in orphanages or are foster children. They did a really good thing there and we got to talking. I thought it was a good conversation and we decided to move forward and try to start over. I thought that was a pretty good deal.”

BRIAN FRANCE WAS IN HERE AND SAID THEY WOULD BE WILLING TO SHORTEN RACES IF THAT IS WHAT THE FANS WANTED. WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ON THAT? “I have been working out. I like those long races. You can’t make them shorter. I really like the long races. I don’t know if that is what fans like or don’t like. I think there is a vocal group that doesn’t like the long races but I know as a kid if you turn on the TV on Sunay and watched the 500-miler from somewhere, there was something about that event. It was a marathon of man and machine trying to persevere through this hot, demanding race. I thought that was really neat. I think there are other series that run short races and that is okay. Their races are shorter. I like the long races.”

MOST DRIVERS SPEND THEIR OFFSEASON RELAXING OR WHATEVER. YOU WENT TO VIETNAM AND RODE BICYCLES FOR A COUPLE WEEKS. WHAT BROUGHT THAT ON AND HOW DIFFICULT WAS IT TO GET THERE AND DO THAT? “It was a really fun trip. My deal is I like to go do some stuff. I like to see things and do things and experience stuff. That was a really neat trip. It opened my eyes a little to a world and how fortunate we are here. Our standard of living is very high. It was somewhere to go that was different. I learned a little bit about our war that was fought over there and have a new found respect for our Vietnam Veterans. In general it was a neat place to see and a unique experience. We really had a good time as a group. It was a lot of fun.”

Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion, has one top-5 finish in seven previous Sprint All-Star Race appearances. He spoke to members of the media after practice this afternoon at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 3M Ford Fusion – TALK ABOUT THESE TWO WEEKS AT CHARLOTTE AND THE EXCITEMENT OF THE EVENTS. “I think that I am kind of along with everyone else in that it is nice to be home for a couple of weeks. This is home to a lot of us. It is fun racing at this race track and what you feel like is a hometown crowd. I like this race track; it is a lot of fun. This All-Star race is a lot of fun. Obviously we don’t really have anything to worry about in terms of points, track position, good finish. We are just trying to make the fastest car win and be up front at the end. The format is fun. The qualifying format is fun. The 600 next week is the longest race for us of the season and it is day to night and takes a lot out of you. That is a fun race as well because of the strategy it takes to be good for 600 miles.”

HOW DO YOU LIKE YOUR ODDS TOMORROW NIGHT, WHO DO YOU THINK IS THE GUY TO BEAT AND IS THAT LIST THE SAME FOR THE 600? “You know, that is a good question. I think the 600 will be a little bit different in terms of the guys you have to beat. I do feel like the guys you have to beat here for this All-Star win are about the lineup that is in it. Everybody brings special stuff. We have a special car and it is real light. It is the best, baddest thing we can bring. Our speeds are really good. Predominantly we have been a little too loose here and can’t drive it and been rough getting going but this weekend off the truck the car is really fast. I like my opportunity to win tomorrow night, I really do. I feel like basing it on just practice so far I think I have the best opportunity that I have had in awhile. We were fastest on race trim during the day. We had the best lap average and the car is running good. I am pretty thrilled about that. We will have to wait and see about qualifying here and what that will be like.”

INTERMEDIATES HAVE BEEN ROUSH’S FORTAY. THE FR9 SEEMS TO HAVE HELPED THAT; DO YOU HAVE ADDED CONFIDENCE KNOW THAT YOU HAVE A STRETCH OF THOSE COMING UP? “Yeah, that is definitely what we like. I was really excited about Darlington and Dover because those have been two of my best tracks and we failed to capitalize on those tracks. You know, Charlotte has not been the top of our list on intermediates for Roush Fenway. We have run good there as an organization but we don’t have the wins here like we do at Texas and Kansas or other mile-and-a-half tracks. This one has eluded us a little bit. We are pretty dang good here but we don’t live up to our record here as good as we are on other intermediates. I am happy to be here and I think that our cars are running very good. I am excited for the 600 to see how we run there.”

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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