Carl Edwards Nationwide Mustang Transcript

Carl Edwards Nationwide Mustang Transcript

May 20, 2010

Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the No. 60 Fastenal Ford in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, took time from testing the brand new Nationwide Mustang at Daytona to discuss his first impressions of the new Mustang during a NASCAR teleconference today.

CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion/No. 60 Roush Fenway Racing Ford – HOW HAVE THINGS GONE OUT THERE FOR YOU TODAY ON THE TRACK?  “Erik Darnell spent yesterday getting the car comfortable. For me, the first thing is to walk into the garage and see all these really cool looking race cars. The Mustang looks great. I am proud to be driving one. Out there on the race track, they took all the things we complain about like the nose flying off the corners, not enough front grip, things being tight, and they fixed it because these things are screaming loose. It is exciting. It is really difficult right now to race very close and keep your car going the way you want it to go. We are struggling with tightening up the car and making it handle a little better. I think we are going to go run in a big pack later today. I told the fans out there to go stand on top of the garage and watch this because it is going to be insane. If we can spend the rest of today getting the balance better and then that practice day on Wednesday before we come to work on the cars more, hopefully they will be a little more predictable. It is like the 2003 truck race, which was my first one, and it is just a handful. It is going to be pretty exciting.”

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE OLD CAR AND THE NEW ONE AND HOW YOU WILL FIND THE BALANCE BETWEEN THE TWO?  “We talked a little bit about the tire that we are running and the shocks that are mandated were put together with a different car in mind. Literally right now it feels like my left front tire is pinned to the race track and the rest of the car is just spinning around that the whole way around. I drove into the corner behind Brendan Gaughan and I could see his front tires turning like a Sprint car all the way up the race track. It is pretty wild. That is the feeling that my car has. We kind of have to go to extremes mechanically to tighten the car up. We will just end up with a new baseline which is far tighter than what was expected.”

WHAT DO YOU MOST RELATE THE WAY THIS VEHICLE DRIVES TO ANYTHING YOU HAVE DRIVEN IN YOUR CAREER?  “It just drives with a ton of front grip. I don’t know if you ever did this, but when you were a kid if you pull your front wheel drive car up on some trays at your local drive-thru restaurant and then you set the emergency brake and you drive around the parking lot with the rears on the trays and just slide around. I don’t know if anyone else has ever done that, but that is what it feels like. It is pretty wild. The thing about that is that when it is difficult like that and dynamic, it will make for a very exciting race. What I hope for is that it doesn’t make it so hard to drive them around one another that there is just wrecks because the car snaps loose. We have to make sure we can get them tight enough to race aggressively and not have a disaster.”

ARE YOU COMFORTABLE WITH THE SURFACE OUT THERE? IS EVERYTHING HOLDING UP OKAY?  “I love the surface of this race track. I think it is one of the neatest tracks we go to because there are bumps and slick spots and spots that have a little more banking. There is a lot going on out there. I grew up racing at dirt tracks and that is how it was. There was always a hole you didn’t want to run through and always a little grip somewhere else. I will miss this surface when they repave it. I like the dynamic race tracks like this. The bumpier and rougher and slicker they are the better.”

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT FORD AND NASCAR THIS YEAR? FORD HASN’T WON A RACE IN CUP, BUT YOU ARE HOLDING YOUR OWN IN NATIONWIDE, WHY?  “I can’t speak for any other teams, but at Roush Fenway we just need to be better. We need to be faster. We have great pit stops and great team chemistry, but we just have to be faster. The thing that is frustrating about that is that I believe that Ford as a car manufacturer is doing as well or better than anyone else. They make the greatest cars on the road. We need to work with them more closely and figure out what we are lacking here because we should be winning races here. Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle … the drivers we have over here are the best in the garage, I believe. We should be winning more races.”

DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU ARE GETTING CLOSER ON THE CUP SIDE OF THINGS?  “We are getting closer. If you look at Richmond, that was the best I have run. When they dropped the green flag we passed 10 or 15 cars. We were moving forward, finished fifth, led a couple of laps … that would have been one of our worst days in 2008. That was one of our best days that we have had in a long time. We go to Darlington and we struggled. We go to Dover and you look at how great Matt ran and we finished eighth. We are getting better. I feel like we have seen the bottom and are headed back up. It is like Jack said, however, we need to figure this out now. We can’t come up with something that is going to work next year. I have been to the shop the last two weeks and those guys are working hard. I feel like we are getting closer … I really do. That isn’t optimism, that is how I truly feel.”

WITH THE LOOSENESS YOU ARE EXPERIENCING NOW WITH THIS NEW CAR, IS THAT A BETTER STARTING POINT THAN WHAT YOU HAD WITH THE CUP COT WHICH WAS PUSHY THROUGH THE MIDDLE OF THE CORNER?  “Yeah, that is a good point. It is nice to go to NASCAR and say that things are too loose. There are all sorts of ways to tighten up a car, but if they just won’t turn you are in trouble. This is a much better starting point. I told them that it was way too loose, but as we have worked on it throughout the day it has gotten much better.  When they are pinned down in the rear it is hard to get them to turn, so this is a much better starting point.”

YOU ARE HEADING TO POCONO IN A COUPLE WEEKS WHERE YOU HAVE HAD SOME SUCCESS, ESPECIALLY EARLY IN YOUR CAREER. WHAT IS IT ABOUT POCONO THAT LEADS TO YOUR SUCCESS THERE?  “Pocono is a blast. I think all the drivers like racing at Pocono. It is such a neat race track. You go down into turn one and you are going so fast. It is such a long straightaway that you don’t realize how fast you are going until you get to the end of it. You are looking at those signs … 6, 5, 4, 3 … and you question yourself because you are going so fast. Then you come off the corner off of turn one and two and there are big bumps and the car gets moving a lot. And there are huge trees down the back straightaway that hang over the back and the car in front will blow the trees. It is just a neat track. That long flat corner in turn three is one of the coolest corners in NASCAR. It is just a really neat track.”


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