FORD SWEEPS ALL FOUR SEGMENTS AS CARL EDWARDS WINS SPRINT ALL-STAR RACE
. Tonight’s win by Carl Edwards was his first All-Star Race win and the ninth overall for Ford Racing.
. Edwards becomes the seventh different Ford driver to win the All-Star Race.
. Ford’s All-Star winners include: Bill Elliott (1986), Davey Allison (1991-92), Geoff Bodine (1994), Michael Waltrip (1996), Mark Martin (1998, 2005) and Matt Kenseth (2004).
. Tonight marks the third time Ford Racing has swept the Showdown and All-Star Race.
* 1996: Jimmy Spencer (Showdown) and Michael Waltrip (All-Star). * 1998: Jeremy Mayfield (Showdown) and Mark Martin (All-Star). * 2011: David Ragan (Showdown) and Carl Edwards (All-Star).
CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion – VICTORY LANE INTERVIEW – “Anytime you have grass on the windshield after the race it’s not good. I’ve got to thank Aflac. They are now hiring. If you didn’t notice, they’re hiring. It’s a great place to work. I thank Ford. Our Fusion was great. Kellogg’s, Scotts. Fortunately, I can have Scotts send some seed and grow some grass back. I had no clue that drain was there and I guess NASCAR is mad. They think we’re hiding something with that car, but that was a pretty big accident. Subway, the fans, and especially Sprint for putting this on. That’s a million dollars. We just won a million dollars. It’s unbelievable.”
WHAT WAS THE KEY TO WINNING THIS RACE? “The key to winning this race are the guys behind me. One of them is Jody Fortson, who lost his father. I want to say hi to Sheila Fortson watching, but Bob Osborne and my guys, especially the guys on pit road. They could have dropped the ball. That was all the pressure in the world on those guys. They performed a flawless pit stop and we got out in front of Kyle. He is a bear on those restarts, so if we would have started behind him, I think it would have been really tough. It’s just unbelievable. I feel so bad about tearing up the car, but Bob says he’s got a faster one for next week, so I’m pretty excited.”
WHAT DID JACK SAY TO YOU? “He said I could come and work on that thing this week if I’d like to. I told him I would be busy. We’re running the Polaris Mustang up in Iowa. I’m pretty excited to see the fans up there in Iowa. It’s just unreal. It still hasn’t sunk in. This is the All-Star Race and we just won it.”
GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 3M Ford Fusion – “I was really good in the beginning and then I was a little too loose and we tightened it up a little bit. I guess the track tightened up. I thought the track was gonna free up the cooler it got and the faster it got, but it didn’t. It tightened up, so on that last 10-lap deal I didn’t free it up enough. We had a really, really fast car, but I just wish I would have made a few more adjustments.” DO YOU FEEL GOOD ABOUT NEXT WEEK? “I feel great about next week, I really do. We’ll run good for sure.”
DAVID RAGAN – No. 6 UPS Ford Fusion – “A top 10 and it was certainly a fun race. I felt like we had a car that could have contended for the win, it’s just all about that track position but everybody is trying to get that track position throughout the race. Our UPS We Love Logistics car did a nice job. We can’t complain. We got a top 10 and raced our way in, and I think you better watch out for the 6 car next week.”
WHAT DID YOU LEARN FOR NEXT WEEK? “We had to impound our car from practice and qualifying, whereas the All-Star guys had to work on their car a little bit, so I think we were at a little bit of a disadvantage off the get-go. We’ve got a few things that we want to look at next week, but all the Fords look very strong. It’s good to be driving a Ford Fusion and congrats to Carl. It doesn’t look like he’s gonna bring that car back next week.”
CARL EDWARDS WINNER’S PRESS CONFERENCE – “I don’t think it’s sunk in yet. I’m really excited to be able to get on the phone and call some of my close friends to talk to them about it, and I’m really excited about going to Iowa tomorrow. It’ll be neat to go out there and show up as the All-Star winner. It’s unreal. It’s gonna be fun. I can’t thank Jack enough, Ford, Aflac, Bob, the crew guys. My pit crew stepped up tonight. They did an unreal job on that last stop. If we wouldn’t have come off pit road first, it would have been a very difficult race. It took me about 10 laps to get by Kyle and those guys, so it would have been a very tough race, so those guys get a lot of credit for this win.”
BOB OSBORNE, Crew Chief – No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion – “We really didn’t make a lot of changes during the race. We made a couple changes for the last 10 laps and it seemed like it worked for us. Carl got a fabulous restart and got out front there, and seemed to be able to do the business he needed to do.”
JACK ROUSH, Car Owner – No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion – “It’s a testament to the hard work everybody has been doing. There’s a lot of discussion about hard work in this business, but the Roush Fenway guys have really suited up for it in the winter, and the manufacturer part is working well. Carl went through a manhole cover there in the celebration and damaged the car. Most people would look at the car and say that car had to go to the 600, but Bob assures me he’s got a better car waiting back at the shop to go. The unsung hero is Doug Yates and the engine tonight. I watched the way that engine handled down the straightaway and it was really, really good. It’s a long time since we’ve seen our engines run as good as they did tonight. I’m glad to have Ford here with us tonight. We had a big contingent of Ford people. Albert, the great great grandson of Henry was here and then the great grandson of Henry, Edsel, was here as well. So we had a really good Ford showing and at the same time we had great performance from all the guys that work behind this thing. I’m just amazed at the calls Bob makes. I generally want to make a change that’s twice as big or half as big and he always has it right.”
WERE YOU WORRIED ABOUT SPINNING THE TIRES ON THE LAST RESTART? “Yeah, I was a little bit worried about spinning the tires. I had some trouble earlier and what do we do when we make mistakes? We learn from them. That’s what we do (laughing), so I learned from that. It’s the positive light you have to shed on those kind of things and it worked out. I’m sure we’re gonna get to my destroying the car incident and I’m gonna shed some positive light on that, too. But, yeah, the restart was good and, man, that thing really runs so you do have to be careful – especially these engines they brought for the All-Star Race. They’re fast. That was a great restart and it could have gone either way. Kyle could have really hung in there and it would have been a really tough race, so I’m glad we were able to get him.”
WHY GO TO IOWA TOMORROW? “That Cessna Citation. They’ve got a really nice plane and I’m gonna go jump in and fly up there. It’s amazing that we’re able to do all of these things. I went up there this morning and practiced a little bit in it, and Brian Ickler practiced after I left. Mike Beam and Jack and Doug Yates have prepared a race car that any one of these guys would like to go get in and race tomorrow, so that’s what it’s about is going and having fun and racing. It’s interesting as a racer, I think a lot of racers feel this way, but I know for myself when you win a race – something big like what happened tonight – it makes the next couple races so much fun because you’ve got a little spring in your step. I really can’t wait to go tomorrow. People say, ‘Hey, what are you gonna do after you’ve won this race?’ And the most enjoyable thing I can do is go race another car, so I’m really excited about it and I appreciate Jack giving me the opportunity.”
CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED – CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE 10-MINUTE BREAK? “I did not like that part sitting on pit road. I did not enjoy that and I was a little embarrassed to tell Dick Berggren how nervous I was about the last 10 laps, but I really was. I felt like we had the fastest car, and if I did everything right and got a good restart and Bob and I made the right adjustments that this was our race. I felt like we were that good. Those are the only times I really get antsy when I know if I do everything right we can win this things, so, yeah, I was ready to go back to racing. I didn’t want to be sitting there.”
JACK ROUSH CONTINUED – YOU SWEPT EVERYTHING TONIGHT. CAN YOU IMAGINE A BETTER NIGHT? “We could have lined all four of our cars up in the top four. We missed that, so we have to work on that for next year (laughing). The guys have worked hard and I’m just proud to be a part of their program. They’ve got me really close to the door, so there aren’t as many tools I can get my hands on and not as many things that I can screw up as I used to, but the manufacturing piece that is headed up by Robbie Reiser and the job that he does with all the managers in the shop is just extraordinary. I can’t imagine anybody is doing a better job than they are today at getting these cars ready. The new Ford engine has come on line. Last year was a teething period with it. It took us awhile to figure out exactly what it wanted and Doug’s got the measure of it now. As Carl said, the engines we have here are a little better than we’ll have next week for the 600, but the engines that we have here will be coming by chase time in the fall, so the engine is good, the car is good, the engineering is just incredible. People ask me how did we get off last year? Well, from the winter of 2009-2010 we had some simulation help that we had consultants help us with that didn’t correlate. The correlation, Ford stepped in and helped us with it. Things are correlating now and when an engineer tells the crew chief, which Bob is an engineer himself so he looks at things different than a lot of crew chiefs do, but when he gets the indication that the sensitivity is gonna be track bar for this track or it’s gonna be wedge or camber or whatever it’s gonna be, he believes that and it works out that way. We would not have had the year that we’ve had to this point if our engineering didn’t stand as tall as the rest of it behind it.”
CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED – IS IT TIME TO LOOK AT THE FORMAT FOR THIS RACE? “Hell no. It’s perfect (laughter). You have to remember you’re not always gonna have a side-by-side, three-wide finish. I think that tonight our car was superior and it ended up being a race that we were able to pull away from, but one little thing being different, one different bump stop combination or track bar height or tire pressure thing and it could have been a much different race. I believe as much as we ended up winning the race by, I think that’s a rarity in this event. I think with a 10-lap shootout at the end and four fresh tires, nine out of 10 times this is gonna be a much closer finish than it was tonight, so I think changing the format would be a jump. I know I was really nervous about that last run. I did not feel like we had it in the bag by any means, so it just happened to turn out that way.”
CAN YOU ELABORATE ON WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE CAR AFTER THE RACE? “I think some people would like to think that I’m smart enough and savvy enough to come up with some trick and then destroy it like that and make it look like it was an accident, but I’m not that smart. I really did just tear up the race car, but like anybody would and a sanctioning body they have to look at it like they might have tried to gain an advantage or something, which we didn’t, but I’m sure the conspiracy theorists will ponder that for a while. That’s OK. It’s what happened and the light I was gonna shed on it is you never know what comes from misfortunes and it was definitely unfortunate that we tore up that race car, but, like Bob said, we’ve got another one at the shop and it might be the difference in winning that race at the Coke 600. It’s a pretty wild twist of fate to tear it up, but I’m gonna have confidence that something good will come out of it.”
HOW DOES THE SPEED YOU’VE HAD ALL YEAR IMPACT THE DECISION ABOUT YOUR FUTURE? “All I’ll say about that is we’re running really well right now and it’s because of Jack Roush and Ford and all these people’s hard work, and those talks are going on behind closed doors. We’ll hopefully get something done, but right now we’re running well and that is fun and what I’m trying to do is focus on that because we have a championship to win this year. That’s the number one goal.”
HOW MUCH CONFIDENCE DOES THIS GIVE YOU FOR NEXT WEEK? “We really have struggled at this race track, I have. Jack has had a ton of success here, but Bob and I, I think it’s a fair statement that we have not been very good here and sometimes terrible. I think that we figured some things out. Bob and the guys have done a really good job and I think it bodes well for the 600 for sure. I would hope that we can come back here next week with as good or a better car and definitely a lot more confidence than we had before we got here this weekend, so that’s good. I think some of the things that we learned here we could apply later in the season, which will be important, but this is the first time I’ve come here and run like this, so it’s huge for me. If you look at our whole season, we’ve run really well at almost every race track. It’s been a really good season and that’s because of Jack and Robbie Reiser and all the guys back at the shop working so hard to get everything in order.”
WHAT HAPPENED IN THE STANDS? “That guy would not let go of that checkered flag, but I was taking that one with me. That’s really neat because the fans are what make this sport so great. I was impressed with how many fans were here tonight to enjoy this race, so it was really neat to be able to go up there in the stands. The first woman I ran into had an Edwards shirt on, so that was pretty cool. It’s just neat to be able to go up there. It’s just one of those things. It was a spur of the moment thing the first time, but now it’s one of the neatest things about winning.”
FOUR OF THE NEXT SEVEN RACES ARE AT INTERMEDIATE TRACKS, PLUS POCONO AND DAYTONA WHERE YOU’VE RUN WELL. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THIS STRETCH TO EXPAND ON YOUR POINTS LEAD? “I haven’t spent much time looking at the schedule, but yesterday we sat down and we started looking at the next month and I’m really excited about. We’ve got some tracks coming up that are really good for us. I feel like Jack and Doug have got the engines to a point where we can run with and beat most of the guys on the race track going down the straightaways and Bob and the guys at the shop have got the cars really good. My pit crew, I think tonight is exactly what they needed for their confidence. We know they can perform those fast pit stops, so I’m really looking forward to these tracks. It’s gonna be fun and it’s fun to have the points lead because it’s like a little insurance. You can take little gambles and you can race hard because you’ve got a little cushion, so, hopefully, we can keep that up.”
DID IT SURPRISE YOU THERE WERE FEW ACCIDENTS AND CARS TORN UP? “It did surprise me that everyone raced so cleanly, but I truly believe we’re at a point in the sport where guys are just getting better and better all the time and the car setups are getting better and people are understanding how the air works on the cars so well that guys are able to do some amazing things. I think you saw that tonight. I saw in that first race there were some guys sideways, three wide, sliding, saving the cars. Paul Menard had an amazing save at one point. Those guys, everybody is doing a really good job and I think that’s what you’re seeing on the race track every week.”
BOB OSBORNE CONTINUED – WHAT CAR DID YOU BRING? “We ran this car at Phoenix and Martinsville this year. CARL INTERJECTS. “That thing was all used up anyway.” BOB: “Maybe once or twice.” CARL: “That’s the one we crashed just like that at Phoenix?’ BOB: “Yeah, we did the same thing at Phoenix to the car.” CARL: “We should do that more often. See, that’s what I’m talking about – positive light on a bad situation. That was good.” BOB: “I don’t really have in the shop particular builds for particular race tracks per se. We build each car the way we think it needs to be built, bits and pieces-wise, to go to whatever race track we’re going to. The bodies are the same. The chassis are the same from track to track.”
BOB OSBORNE CONTINUED — WAS IT A DISPOSABLE CAR OR WAS IT YOUR BEST CAR FOR THIS TRACK? “The 99 program does not have disposable cars and we don’t have test cars, either. What we try to do is build the most similar car across our fleet so we have consistency, so there is nothing special about this car relative to it being the All-Star Race.”
CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED – WHAT HAPPENED AT THE END OF THE RACE? “Bob is a little ticked off about it. You guys know, I usually just pull down there and I do a backflip and I thought, ‘I’m gonna do a little slide through the grass. This will be great.’ As soon as I turned in the grass I found the drainage cover, I guess.”
THERE IS NO DRAIN THERE THE TRACK SAYS. “So it just dug in perfectly? Really? Wow, so it just dug in the splitter and I didn’t expect that. Bob has been doing a really good job of keeping the splitter down. It helps on the race track and it doesn’t help in the grass. I guess that’s the bottom line.”
JACK ROUSH CONTINUED – IN YEARS PAST WHEN SOMEONE HAD A LOT OF SUCCESS YOU WOULD SEE A RULES CHANGE. IS THAT NO LONGER AN ISSUE IN THIS ERA? “What used to cause the concern was when you had the cars being dramatically different from manufacturer to manufacturer and, of course, whenever one car would win more than its share for a period of time there would be a rules change that would impact that manufacturer, but the cars are so similar today as far as the aero mapping and the engines for their parameters and the dimensions that are similar among the engines, there’s not really an excuse that can be made, nor do I think NASCAR has the inclination to make a change based on a manufacturers performance because they spend so much time behind the scenes making sure they don’t give one manufacturer more than they give another. Maybe I should be concerned. You might know something I don’t. Ten years ago I’d have been very concerned about a rules change right now, but, today, I don’t think it’s in the cards.”
IS THE DIFFERENCE YOU FEEL IN THE ENGINE? “There was a time and I used to look at the things, even the chassis and the engine both, you’d look and you’d have a trick and you’d say, ‘Man, you’ve got the steered rear axle, you’ve got the coil bound front spring, or you’ve got the higher intake port, or you’ve got a camshaft with a bigger diameter quill that was stiffer. You’d have a trick and until everybody else found out about your trick, you could use that to your advantage, but today there are no tricks in this business. It’s hard work. You go to a place like Daytona and you have the result that we did this year and the biggest reason we were able to have the dominance that we did there with all of our Ford cars is the cooling system worked better. It’s the cooling system performance, it’s the aero performance. It’s the brakes. It’s the kinematics of the suspension. All of those things have got to be right and it’s not the matter of finding a trick because with all the inspectors they’ve got today they won’t let you have a trick, but it’s just a matter of doing the complete job better than everybody else and once you get that going for you, you can ride it for awhile, I believe. We’re gonna see what we can do the rest of the year.”
WHAT VALUE DOES CARL BRING TO RFR? “Carl is a rock star. He’s the only backflipper in the field and was the first one to crawl up in the stands. Some of the drivers wouldn’t go up in the stands like that after a race and for good reason, but Carl is well thought of and he’s out there doing things that other people wish they had thought of first, and he drives the hell out of our race cars. He is a cornerstone of our organization today. He is certainly a draw for sponsors and he’s a rallying point for his team. All the guys that work on all these cars that don’t get to go to the race track will be able to stand a little straighter on Monday because Carl won here, and the last time Carl won – and of course the times he didn’t win, he missed a couple races just because.I told Bob there was no right or wrong calls at Darlington or Dover, but they just didn’t work out. But Carl has been a factor at nearly all the races. He would have had a good shot at Phoenix. He won in the fall there and had a good shot in the spring if he hadn’t had an encounter with another car and wound up off the race track early on.”
CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED – KYLE WAS CLOSING A BIT AT THE END. DO YOU FEEL HE RACED YOU CLEAN TONIGHT? “Yeah, he raced me really clean. I thought we raced each other real well, but we didn’t really race much that last 10-lap segment. That could have been pretty wild, I think, if we would have had to go door-to-door for it. Overall, I thought everybody did a really good job tonight of being very aggressive, right to the limit. Greg, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie, Kyle, all of us were racing really hard. I don’t know what it looked like, but it was turned up a little bit tonight on those restarts for sure.” WERE YOU CONCERNED NEAR THE END? “I wasn’t too concerned. Our car was pretty good, but we were ready to race. It was on go.”
JACK ROUSH CONTINUED – WHERE DO THINGS STAND IN CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS WITH CARL? “I think Carl said it best. We’re trying to maintain the focus on keeping our season together. We want to put ourselves in the best situation we can to make a championship run, to be in the top 10 and then to make a championship run in the closing months of the year. It’s going on behind closed doors. With some accuracy I say I really don’t do the money and I try to stay out of the money part of it, but I will have to pay attention to this deal as it gets closer, but it’s not something we’re gonna debate or discuss in the public. It’s not a media issue, it’s a private business issue that’s ongoing.”
CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED – IS $1 MILLION STILL A LOT OF MONEY TO A DRIVER? “You can ask Bob or Jack or my mom or anybody, but any money is a lot of money to me. We were talking about that earlier today.”
BOB OSBORNE CONTINUED – “You want to see a fight, let me grab this $100 bill over here?”
CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED – “And it’s only half a hundred. It is a very big deal. I think all of us, at least all of us sitting up here, we’ve all been very fortunate. We’ve got great incomes and we’re doing what we love, but we all started in a different place and I think every driver out there respects that Sprint is putting up a huge amount of money for us to go race for. It’s just surreal, it really is.”
JACK ROUSH CONTINUED – “If you look at our organization, and I think the other top teams do the same, we’ve got 100 people that stand behind every driver and they all get fed by what the car generates. That financial incentive effects everybody in the organization.”
BOB OSBORNE CONTINUED – HOW GLAD WERE YOU EVERYONE HAD TO TAKE FOUR TIRES ON THAT LAST STOP? CARL INTERJECTS: “Let me say I was real glad.”
BOB BEGINS. “Considering the last two weeks, I was very glad that we were all on the same field relative to tires. I will comment about the 10-minute intermission. That’s obviously unique to what we do and it is very nerve-racking to do it that way. Normally, we’re making split decisions and we’re used to doing it that way, so there’s no time to second-guess yourself. There was a lot of discussion about changes and what to do and why we should do this, so there was a lot of back and forth. It was more nerve-racking than what we’re normally experiencing on a pit cycle, so, all in all, I was happy it was four across the board.”