Ford Racing NSCS Notes & Quotes:
STP 400 Advance (Kansas Speedway)
Friday, April 19, 2013
FORD FAST FACTS:
· Ford has fared well at Kansas Speedway since the first race in 2001, claiming victory four times including the 2012 fall race by Matt Kenseth.
· Greg Biffle is the most recent active Ford driver to win at Kansas, taking the checkered flag in the 2010 fall race.
· Carl Edwards has posted six top-10 finishes in nine career races at Kansas including a runner-up performance in 2008.
Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion, is a Missouri native who considers Kansas Speedway his home track. A win here would mean everything to Edwards, who spoke with reporters after Friday’s practice session.
CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion – HOW WAS PRACTICE? “It’s very fast. Everybody is talking about how fast it is. Ricky Stenhouse came down and said, ‘Man, that’s fast.’ It is nice to be racing here very close to home. Hopefully, we can put on a very good show and get that first win here. That would be huge, but everything is going well so far today for us in this practice and we hope to have a good qualifying session and then get this Aflac Ford dialed in for the race.”
ANY REASON WHY YOU’RE SO GOOD HERE? WHY IS THIS PLACE SEEMINGLY SO DIFFERENT FOR YOU? “I wish it was as simple as just trying harder and making it mean more, but we had a good test session here. I think that’s really the key. If you look at how well all of the Fords ran, I think choosing this as one of our tracks to test on is going to help us here primarily. We were hoping that it would help at places like Texas and it didn’t. We struggled there. Even though we finished third and fourth, we really struggled most of the night, so I think what you see here is a result of our testing, but, yes, there is probably a little bit of an effort factor in that I want to be on top of the sheet as badly as ever every time I get in the race car here. It’s a special place. A Cup win here, truly, would be as big as the Daytona 500 or any other race for me. It’s a really special place for me.”
HOW HAVE THE EVENTS IN BOSTON THIS WEEK AFFECTED YOUR TEAM? IS IT HARD TO RACE UNDER THESE CONDITIONS? “I know I can speak for all of Roush Fenway Racing in saying that our thoughts are with everyone there that’s not only suffered, but all the confusion that’s going on. I don’t think anyone really understands exactly what’s happened yet, and without sounding cliché what Roush is doing is trying to do something to help. Steve Newmark and Jack Roush put together a program where Jack is gonna donate some money to a cause up there to try and help with whatever they need help with, and then we also pledged $100 for every lap that one of the Roush Fenway leads at the race track this weekend. We’ve got a lot of ties to Boston with the Red Sox up there. I hear there are ties in the garage with folks that have lost family up there, so I think it’s something that just reminds us all that what we do here we’re very fortunate to do it and, hopefully, in some small way, just us racing this weekend somebody can get some amount of enjoyment out of it and know that we’re all thinking about them.”
WERE YOU SURPRISED PENSKE WAS WORKING ON THE REAR OF THE CAR WHEN MORE STRICTER RULES WERE MADE FOR THAT AREA, AND WERE YOU SURPRISED AT THE EXTENT OF THE PENALITIES? “I still don’t understand exactly what they did. It’s not been explained to me, so I don’t have a real grasp on what rule they broke. But, no, it doesn’t surprise me that anyone would be working on anything. I hadn’t thought of it that way. That’s a good way to ask it, but it’s a pretty stiff penalty and I’m glad that we didn’t get stuck with a penalty like that. That would be a tough thing to overcome.”
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO HEAR FROM YOUR SPOTTER DURING THE RACE? “My spotter, Jason Hedlesky, is a race car driver. He knows this sport as well as anyone. He was the team manager for Donlavey Racing and he’s raced in every NASCAR Division there is just about – ARCA. He’s a great racer and he understands the sport, so from Jason I get a lot of suggestions. He’ll tell me, ‘Hey, you’re losing a lot of time here. It looks like somebody else is doing this or that,’ and then he also understands the strategy of the race. He won’t come out and just say, ‘Hey, you’re making a dumb decision here with what you’re doing,’ but he’ll kind of say, ‘You ought to think about this or that.’ That’s huge, so, to me, Jason is a guy that could be a team manager at the Cup level or a crew chief at the Cup level, so to have him up there is a huge asset. And he’s brutally honest. If I cause a wreck, I always ask what it looked like and if it’s my fault he’ll just say, ‘It looks like you wrecked everybody there.’ So he’s real honest with me.”
HOW MANY DAYS TO YOU FIGURE YOU’RE ON THE ROAD? “I don’t know how many days we’re on the road. Somebody used to keep track of that ,but some years it’s more than others. Running the Nationwide Series full-time when we used to test a lot back in 2005 and 2006 there were times where I think we went 30-40 days or something without going home, but now it’s a lot simpler just running the Cup Series and with limited testing. But then I’m always thinking about racing. Jimmy and I were talking about that testing at Daytona this week. It’s like you lay in bed and you have to think about something else because you think about every little part of the car or race strategies you’re gonna have and things like that. This is a pretty consuming sport from the competitor’s side and I’m sure you guys are the same way in the media, but it’s everything. It’s your whole life.”
HOW IMPORTANT IS THIS WEEKEND TO YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH JIMMY? “This weekend is really important. I think Jimmy knows how important this weekend is to me. We talk about this race like I’m trying extra hard this weekend, but, really, they’re all very, very important to me. We want to win every race. I get anxious and nervous for every one of them because I want to do well, but, overall, the simplest way to put it is I was talking to Jeff Hammond this morning about Jimmy Fennig and I said, ‘When we have something go wrong or we have a problem or a bad race it’s not because of Jimmy Fennig.’ He’s a part of the team that just in these seven races I’ve realized that he’s always on. He’s always got it together. He’s always dedicated. He doesn’t make mistakes. He doesn’t lay down on you and give up. It’s pretty spectacular. I mean, last week we finished third that was a 25th-place car, and he played every angle of pit strategy – stretching it on fuel, and making adjustments I’ve never made before with shims and huge swings with the track bar and stuff, so he made something happen last week from the top of the pit box.”
WHEN THINGS LIKE BOSTON HAPPENS DOES IT PUT RACING BACK IN PERSPECTIVE FOR YOU? “I think it’s a little early to put all of the events that are going on in Boston in perspective. I still can’t quite grasp what’s gone on and what all of the consequences of all of it are, but I think any time you see something like that – for me personally – it makes me realize the world is a crazy place and there are a lot of things going on here and around the world that aren’t good and that we wish weren’t happened, and we are very fortunate to do what we do. For my personal biggest concern today to be able to come to the race track and worry about qualifying a race car when other people are worried about losing their loved ones, we are very, very fortunate and I think it reminds me that every day you’ve got to thank a higher power that things are good for you and going well.”