Ford Chicago Friday Advance (Carl Edwards)

Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford, took time after the first practice session Friday at Chicagoland Speedway to meet with media members and discuss the Chase and the weekend ahead.

CARL EDWARDS, driver No. 99 Aflac Ford – CAN YOU TALK ABOUT STARTING THE CHASE OFF IN CHICAGO THIS YEAR? “Yeah, the way I run at New Hampshire it is nice to start here. We seem to run really well at these mile-and-a-half’s. I am still nervous about New Hampshire. I think our run at Richmond bodes well for us for New Hampshire and Martinsville. Our practice session went very well with our Aflac Fusion here at Chicago and I am excited about qualifying and the race. We have a really good car and I really like this race track.”

THERE HASN’T BEEN A LOT OF TALK ABOUT JIMMIE JOHNSON’S TITLE CHANCES THIS YEAR. PEOPLE SEEM TO BE PICKING JEFF (GORDON) OR KYLE (BUSCH). WHY DO YOU THINK THAT IS? “I don’t know. I am not surprised more people aren’t talking about him, I just think that because he has been the champion for five years now that everyone realizes he is going to be tough. Let me put it this way, it won’t surprise anyone in the garage or in this room if he were to be one of the contenders in the final race at Homestead. I hope he’s not because he is awfully tough to have to race at these championships but I think he will be tough and everyone takes that as a given. I think that is where the lack of talk about it comes from.”
American Muscle

DOES IT ADD ANY MORE WEIGHT TO THIS YEAR’S CHAMPIONSHIP TO BE THE GUY THAT COULD SNAP JIMMIE’S STREAK? “It would mean a lot to be the guy that ends Jimmie’s amazing run of championships but then there is another side of that too. Whoever wins the championship this year, if it’s not Jimmie, has to win the next five to beat his run that he just had. There are two sides to it and if someone does beat Jimmie, which I think is as possible as any other outcome, they still have to do it again the next year, and the next year, and I think he is going to be tough for a long time to come. It would be nice to have Jimmie sitting in the crowd while I was giving my speech. That would be great. We have all had to listen to his speeches for a long time.”

DO YOU AGREE THERE SEEMS TO BE ALMOST TWICE AS MANY DRIVERS WITH A CHANCE TO WIN THIS THING THAN IN PREVIOUS YEARS AND WITH THAT MANY GUYS HAVING A SHOT, DO YOU THINK WE WILL SEE MORE MIND GAMES? “I think anyone in the Chase can win the championship. If you look at the way the year has gone, people have gotten hot and cold throughout the year. There is no telling who is going to shine through these 10 races. I believe it is anybody’s championship. As far as head games and stuff like that, you know, I believe from my seat and what I see, no matter what is going on outside the track or in the media it seems like the guys who are in this Chase, every one of them is strong enough mentally to just race and not really have any problems dealing with stuff that happens outside the track. I think they are all really tough. It might be entertaining and there might be a lot of speculation. You never know what is going to come up. We have all been racing so hard this year and so much has happened that I think everyone is tough enough to keep it off the race track.”

SHOULD ‘BOYS HAVE AT IT’ BE INTERPRETED DIFFERENTLY IN THE CHASE? “I think that NASCAR’s stance on penalties and letting us take care of things on the race track has been very good. I think they have done a really good job of drawing lines when things get out of hand and letting us have at it when we need to. I think it has been good. I think it should stay the same in the Chase. I think it has worked out really well and I don’t know that there should be any extra scrutiny on actions or anything like that.”

WHAT ABOUT THINGS LIKE SATURDAY NIGHT? “What happened Saturday night? I still haven’t seen the replays and stuff. I think things are different now that they were last week and the guys in the Chase know that. Last week was last week. We were fighting for three points. The guy that won was going to get three points. Other than that, the guys in the Chase weren’t racing for the same thing that they are racing for now. Right now, everybody realizes that there are huge implications to anything that goes on. I think you will see, at least for the beginning of the Chase, pretty polite drivers and a lot more give and take. That is self preservation and I think that is natural.”

THE FIRST FIVE RACES OF THE SEASON YOU LOOKED LIKE YOU WERE IN POSITION TO WIN ANY OR ALL OF THE FIRST FIVE RACES. IS THERE ANYTHING DIFFERENT TODAY OR ANY REASON WHY YOU DON’T THINK YOU CAN APPEAR TO BE THAT COMPETITIVE AS YOU WERE THEN IN THE CHASE COMING UP? “That is a good question. I have thought about that a lot throughout the year and what made us so good then and the last couple of races in 2010 and how good we were at the beginning of the season. I feel like there were more races this year that we were the fastest car than we have had in a long time. We didn’t win all those races for a number of races and I think in the summer there were a bunch of variables. Bob talked about it a little bit and we worked on some different things and had some mechanical failures and the contract talks and all that went into that. You never know how much that did or didn’t impact the way people work on stuff or my driving or anything like that. The good thing is that we didn’t keep that downward momentum. We turned it and we were really good at Atlanta, the best we have ever been at Richmond, and really fast in this practice here. I think we kind of got our arms around it and hopefully are back where we were at the beginning of the season. I feel like we are, we just have to go out and make it happen now. I don’t know which one of those things impact it or if it was just luck or what but it did seem like we lulled for awhile and now have come back.”


THE ISSUE IN THE RACE ON SATURDAY NIGHT. “I am sorry man; you have to be more specific. Are you asking about Paul Menard? Kevin finished first, I finished second and Jeff finished third. Is there anybody else who wants to talk about this because I didn’t see what happened and I didn’t read what happened. I have heard people murmur that there was some issue with Paul Menard. That is all I know. I don’t know. I didn’t see it. I didn’t hear anything. Does anyone have a specific question about it? I am sorry sir, I just don’t know exactly what you are asking. Do you want me just comment on everything that can be possible with it or something?”

I THINK WHAT HE IS TRYING TO SAY IS THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE IN THIS ROOM DON’T UNDERSTAND THAT A DRIVER WOULD SPIN OUT TO CAUSE A CAUTION TO HELP A DRIVER. IN ADDITION, ARE THERE SECRET RADIO CHANNELS THAT YOU GUYS HAVE THAT NOBODY ELSE CAN HEAR OR IS EVERYTHING AVAILABLE? “I assume that everything I say in my car everyone can hear. I am pretty sure everyone has a backup channel but we program those in our radios so I am assuming other people listen to them just the same. I read literally one article in passing about Jeff saying that he heard some radio chatter or someone told him about some radio chatter that may have indicated that Paul spun out on purpose to help Kevin. I haven’t talked with Paul about it and haven’t seen the video or heard any of it. Of course that is an option. Everybody has that option to do that. I don’t know if Paul did do it or would do it. I haven’t heard any statement from him so for me to comment on that specific thing, I am not really up to speed on everything that happened.”

SO YOU DON’T HAVE SECRET RADIO CHANNELS NOBODY ELSE CAN HEAR? “I don’t. Once you start the race, the way I understand it, we can not have a digital radio or scrambled radio in the car. You get channel one and channel two. I am assuming some media or fans don’t have channel two, so to them that would be a channel they can’t listen to but it isn’t a super secret channel or something.”

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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