Ford Bristol 1 Friday Advance (Carl Edwards)


Food City 500 (Friday Advance)

March 16, 2012

American Muscle

Bristol Motor Speedway

Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Kellogg’s Ford Fusion, comes to Bristol sixth in the point standings and with two Bristol wins under his belt.  Edwards met with media Friday after the first practice session of the day.

TALK ABOUT COMING HERE TO BRISTOL AND THE FIRST SHORT TRACK RACE OF THE SEASON.  “Bristol is a lot of fun and we have run pretty well here the last couple of years so we are pretty excited to come. The car is really fast in qualifying trim so that is good. Our mission was to be fast this practice in case it rained and we started on practice time. We did that. I think Bob (Osborne) and the guys did a good job. It looks like a couple of the Ford’s are really fast in race trim. Ours isn’t extremely fast but we will work on that, hopefully tomorrow if the weather stays good for the morning. It is a fun race and it is nice to get in the Cup car. It is a little strange not running the Nationwide car. I think it might be the first time I have come here in the Cup car and not run something beforehand. That first lap was pretty exciting. It was nice to get started in that fast of a race car.”

WERE YOU OR ANY OF THE FORD DRIVERS INVOLVED IN THE DESIGN OF THE NEW 2013 FUSION RACE CAR? “The talked a little bit to us but mostly they designed it based on all the things they have gathered over time. They gave us a glimpse of it awhile back and all of us were really excited about it. I think the new cars, to me it feels very similar to when they introduced the Mustang to the Nationwide series. People are excited about the fact that the car looks neat. From what I understand the cars are going to drive well and we aren’t going to have to suffer some consequence for the good looks of the car. I think it is going to be good. Maybe it is better they didn’t let us have a part in the design of it. Those guys are definitely smart.”

WHAT IS THE PERSONAL AFFECT ON YOU NOT RUNNING SEVERAL RACES IN A WEEKEND? “I think every race track is different. I am taking notes each week. Daytona I think was okay to miss that one. I don’t think I lost anything there. Vegas I would have liked to, looking with hindsight, I think I maybe could have learned something about the line at Vegas. Here, I wasn’t sure how I would feel here. I think this is good to focus on the Cup car here. I have spent more time with Bob today than I have in years on a Friday. Overall it is good. I think that as the season goes on I will get a feel for which tracks I would like to run the Nationwide car in again and which tracks I am really glad not to. I don’t have a good enough sense yet.”

AFTER VEGAS, GUYS WERE SAYING THEY WOULD LIKE TO SEE EFI DATA OF HOW TONY STEWART WAS SO GOOD ON RESTARTS. WHERE ARE YOU ON THE EFI DATA? CAN YOU GAIN ANYTHING FROM IT? “So they want to see throttle position? I would like to see that too. We should get to see his, but they shouldn’t see ours. As long as I am looking at somebody else’s I am in favor of it. I haven’t looked at the EFI data but anytime you can look at someone’s throttle position it is good I think. You can gather a lot from it, yes, I would think.”

AFTER BARELY LOSING THE CHAMPIONSHIP LAST YEAR, HAS IT FORCED YOU TO BE MORE AGGRESSIVE THIS YEAR? IT SEEMS LIKE YOU ARE REALLY GOING FOR IT AT THE END OF RACES THIS YEAR. “I don’t think that is true. I always race hard for the win and I don’t think that when the race is going on I am not thinking about if I would have had one more point last year. I don’t think like that. I go into every race trying to win it. That is just the way I race. I don’t think of it in that context but yeah, hopefully we win more this year and win the championship by a ton of points. That is the goal.”


A LOT OF DRIVERS TALK ABOUT HAVING AN “A-HA” MOMENT AT TRACKS LIKE MARTINSVILLE IN TERMS OF FIGURING OUT THE RACE TRACK. IS THERE THE SAME SORT OF THING HERE? “I still haven’t had my ah-ha moment at Martinsville, so I don’t know much about that. This place is a little easier to figure out, the technique at least, at least it was for me. It drives like a much bigger race track because of the banking. The car doesn’t know it is going around that tight of a radius. Martinsville definitely is tough. The guy that has helped me the most at Martinsville is Jeff Burton. He helped me when I was first starting and Bobby Hamilton spent a lot of time with me. I still don’t feel like I have that place mastered. Bristol drives a lot like a three-eighths of half-mile dirt track with the way the banking picks up and the way it feels. There is a lot more momentum involved. This place really was a little more natural for me.”

DALE JR. SAYS EVERYONE SHOULD BE ALLOWED SECRETS. WHERE DO YOU STAND ON THAT? “I would have to say I agree with that. The thing is with us drivers is what we do with the pedals and steering wheel and all that stuff is our proprietary stuff. From NASCAR’s perspective I can see how they would want everyone to not have an advantage and keep feeding everyone information to make it tougher and closer. I know for me personally with the fuel mileage things and different things there have been times I thought there were things I did in the car that I wouldn’t want anyone else to see. If those days are over, then they are over. I guess that is just the way it is.”

YOU HAVE WON HERE TWICE. WHAT DID THOSE WINS MEAN TO YOU PERSONALLY AND WHERE DO THEY RANK FOR YOU? “The wins here are really special. Growing up as a race fan we always watched this race. These Bristol races were exciting and neat. There is a reason there are so many seats around this place. It is a really great race track. To win here is huge. For me, those wins were really big. They are up there.”

HAVE YOU LOOKED AT REPLAYS OF LAST WEEK’S FINISH AND DO YOU THINK YOU NEED TO TALK WITH KENSETH? “I think we will talk about it. He is my teammate and he is a friend of mine and I didn’t like to see his car get torn up. When I watched the replay it looked like he could have hit me a lot harder there when I got loose with Greg (Biffle) beside me and he didn’t. He probably did that because I am his teammate and he didn’t want to wreck me and then he ended up getting wrecked. In that situation, if I had ended up wrecked I would have probably been frustrated. He ended up wrecked so he was frustrated. It is just a racing incident. I just feel bad his car got wrecked. I am not sure how big of a deal it is. We will talk about it when we get time.”

WHEN YOU MADE THAT DECISION TO MAKE THAT PASS LAST WEEK, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?  “I was just thinking it was time to go and win the race. I got a good restart, so if I step on the brakes then the guy behind me is going to go right by me. If you guys watch the replay I think we will all agree that even though we went three-wide into the corner, I passed Matt and cleared him and I was in front of him. The only thing that caused a problem after that was that I got a little loose because Greg went around Matt on the top. I didn’t expect Greg to be right there. It is just racing. It did not feel like an aggressive move. It was just a restart on a big, wide race track and we drove by Matt on the bottom. I would have done that if we had the same restart right now, I would do the exact same thing. I think any race would. I think that is just how you have to go race. I want to be very clear though. I really do appreciate Matt not just slamming my rear bumper and spinning me out after I got loose. He hit me as hard as he could hit me without wrecking me. After that he got wrecked. I still don’t understand exactly how he got wrecked. Matt and I get along really well and I don’t think this is going to be something that is a big issue. I don’t feel that way.”

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WAVING THE GREEN FLAG FOR TOMORROW’S FORD ECOBOOST 300? “Yeah, it is an honor. I have done a lot of things at a race track but I have never got the chance to wave a green flag. When Ford asked me to do that I wasn’t sure if they were joking around with me or what. I didn’t know. It is an honor. It will be really neat to stand up there and wave the flag and to see the race from that perspective. It is a little odd though. It makes me feel old or something like that. I don’t know what it will be like when they introduce me in the drivers meeting. They will be like, ‘Our honorary starter, Carl.’ I am sure everyone will give me a hard time. It is an honor and I think it is very cool. This EcoBoost engine that Ford has put in their cars is spectacular. If you haven’t driven it, it is amazing. I’ve had the chance to drive the F-150 quite a bit and the Taurus. I think the commercials are coming out pretty soon but we had a lot of fun at Sonoma in one of those Taurus’. A lot of fun. You guys will see that pretty soon.”

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE WAY DRIVER MEETINGS HAVE BECOME?  “I think last week’s drivers meeting was great. The best part was watching Pemberton. The more people that are there the more nervous he gets. I was watching him thinking how nervous he must have been with all the people and I look back and he is on a giant big screen and all those bleachers were back there. I think it is a good thing to let the fans see what goes on. They get to see the video and audio already so there is no reason they should be able to be there and watch. To me it was a big deal when Jack took me to my first Cup drivers meeting in Charlotte when I was running the Truck Series and it was cool for me. I was excited to check it out and see what was going on. I think that is a good thing.”

YOU SEEM A LOT MORE SUBDUED THIS YEAR. WE ARE USED TO YOU JUMPING OFF THE STRATOSPHERE AND STUFF. IS THAT FATHERHOOD OR WHAT? ARE YOU MORE STUDIOUS THIS YEAR, FOCUS, WHAT IS THE DEAL?  “We are three weeks in man. She was just saying I was all wound up. I don’t know how to answer. I don’t think I am more subdued. I am trying to think of something crazy I have done lately. If you had been in the airplane going through those thunderstorms last night subdued would not have come to mind. I have some fun little stuff planned for this year, some adventures. I am pacing myself. I am leaving it all on the race track, how about that.”

WHAT ARE YOUR IMPRESSIONS OF SOME OF THE YOUNG KIDS IN THE NATIONWIDE SERIES LIKE DILLON AND COLE WHITT AND SOME OF THOSE KIDS MAKING NOISE? “I have not paid a bunch of attention. I have been out in the desert walking slow, being subdued. I am going to pay a lot of attention here coming up and I am going to help with a little of the broadcasting stuff and I am excited about that. I will be really tuned in then but right now I am focused on the Cup car and haven’t been watching that much.”

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