Tag:Carl Edwards
Posted on: August 5, 2011 4:00 pm
Edited on: August 5, 2011 4:01 pm
 

Carl Edwards, Jack Roush discuss new deal

Posted by Pete Pistone

Carl Edwards and team owner Jack Roush discussed their deal to keep the current Sprint Cup Series point leader in the Roush Fenway Racing stable when they met the media Friday at Pocono Raceway:

CARL EDWARDS

I’m really excited.  We’re excited to go out here and try to win this championship.  I appreciate Jack and everyone at Roush Fenway Racing for giving me the time that I needed to make my decisions and to look at everything.  I can’t say how much I respect Jack and everyone at Roush Fenway and the process, contrary to what a lot of you guys thought, the process went pretty well.  We got along real well throughout it and there’s a lot of respect.  I’m just excited to move forward.  This team is in a position that we’ve never been in before. We feel that we’re fast for the right reasons and we have the opportunity to go out here and win this championship, so I’m glad it’s behind us.  I’m glad to be here racing and going for the championship.”

WHAT DID IT COME DOWN TO IN THE END AND WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO STAY?

“First of all, I wish I would have never confirmed that our term was up because it would have been a lot quieter.  I looked at a lot of things, but, at the end of the day, our negotiations and our deals and the things that I look at competitively are private matters and I appreciate you guys respecting that.”

HOW CLOSE DID YOU COME TO DOING SOMETHING DIFFERENT?

“At the end of the day we went through the process, worked really hard and this is the outcome that happened and I’m proud to be here.  I’d really rather not discuss the actual process.  I can say, just like I said earlier, that I learned a ton, I learned a lot through this process.  I learned a lot about Roush Fenway Racing.  It was amazing the things I learned.  I learned a lot about Jack as a person.  I learned a lot about myself and what’s important to me.  I learned a lot about my competitors, about you guys in the media, and I’m really appreciative for all those folks who were patient with me and took the time, and a lot of folks, a lot of folks in here included, I talked to them about this decision and the support that I received was huge, so I really, really appreciate that from the competitors as well.  At the end of the day, we were in a position right now where our cars are fast, we have chances to win almost every week, and the opportunity to go out and win this championship, to continue my partnership with Jack, to continue it with Ford, with the sponsors that we have, it’s an honor to be in this position, so I’m really happy with the way this turned out.”

WAS IT ODD TO SEE YOURSELF AS THE CENTER OF ATTENTION? 

“What I did from the beginning of this is I said, ‘What would I do if money weren’t a factor and what would I do if I didn’t care what one person thought about my decision?’  A decision that’s this important to me and my family for all the hard work that I’ve put in for the path that I’ve taken, for me personally, I act as my own agent, I make my own decisions, I understand my own deals and the decision was made under those thoughts.  So that’s what made this more simple for me and that’s how I came to the conclusion I came to. Whenever I’d start feeling that pressure start creeping in from the outside I’d think, ‘OK, let’s get back to the basics here.  Where can I win the most championships?  And what would I do if other people’s opinions weren’t a factor?’  So that helped me a ton and I think my family and Jack’s patience and Jack’s support, all of those things helped me do that.  When I talked to Jack on the phone and he said, ‘Look, Carl, you do whatever you think is best for you.’  He said those words to me and that meant the world.  It meant that I didn’t have that pressure to do something for any reason other than what I thought was best.  That was huge.” 

JACK ROUSH – YESTERDAY YOU SAID SOMETHING ABOUT FORD COMING IN WITH AN UNPRECEDENTED INCENTIVE AND STOCK PROGRAM FOR CARL.  HOW BIG OF AN IMPACT DO YOU FEEL THAT MADE? 

“I really misspoke yesterday. The arrangement between Ford and Carl is one that involves his personal services agreements and the other things.  I presumed from something that I was told that Kevin Kennedy had said that Ford had made a release and I spoke to some things that I didn’t have firsthand knowledge of that I believed to be true that may not be true, and it certainly wasn’t my responsibility or my prerogative to put it out there, so I don’t have anything further to say on that.” 

CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED

“Let me clarify that.  There was no last-minute money.  The idea that some people have run with is, first of all the money numbers that I read are not correct.  That’s all I’ll say about that.  And if anybody who wants to publish anymore of those numbers would like to come ask me if they’re correct in person, I’ll tell you they’re not correct.  And then second, the deal with Ford there was no difference in the deal at the last minute or anything. My deal with Ford is that I believe in the company.  I believe in the products that they make and just like everyone else at Ford and Roush Fenway Racing, if Ford benefits, I have the potential to benefit from that success too.  But there was no last-minute influx of money or anything like that.  That’s a false assumption.” 

JACK ROUSH CONTINUED

“I’d like to make one follow-up comment on tha ton the money thing.  The one thing that Carl and I did not have adiscussion about at any point in the negotiation or consideration was money.  Money was not a factor from my side, from the Roush Fenway side, and from what I could see it was not a factor from Carl’s side. That did not weigh into the decision Carl made.”   

CAN YOU SHED ANY LIGHT ON THIS LAST WEEK THAT CONVINCED YOU IT WAS THE RIGHT TIME AND RIGHT DECISION FOR YOU?

“Not really.  I think for the reasons that we talked about overall.   I just decided this is the right place for me and if I would have made that decision three months ago, I might have had more second thoughts, I might have felt not as sure about it, so, to me, the fact that I had the time that I had and I had the opportunities, and Jack being as open as he was and showing me things that were going on.  Ford, with the way they treated me through the process and showed me things that were gonna happen in the future, all of that was a risk on their part because they didn’t have to show me those things, but it took time for me to come to that conclusion.  There wasn’t one thing at the end that changed my mind or made my decision different.

DID YOU NOTICE ANY ISSUES AT THE SHOP WITH THE GUYS ON YOUR CREW AS FAR AS THEIR EMOTION?

“I think everybody is really excited, I think all of us are.  I know I am and Jack is and I spent a little bit of time with the guys talking with them about it today and everybody feels the same way as best as I can tell that , ‘Hey, man, that was getting kind of stressful.  I’m really glad we’re moving beyond that.’  I think everybody kind of has that same feeling, so that’s good.”

JACK ROUSH CONTINUED

“And I don’t often agree with Jeff Gordon on very much, but the fact (Carl starts laughing) – well on some things, on the important things I agree with Jeff, but we don’t see our manufacturer affiliations the same, but, at any rate, when Jeff commented and I think he comments were directed that if Carl did make his decision to leave that it would almost certainly be a distraction to his championship efforts this year, I don’t think that anybody that’s involved in this business would not see that as not a likelihood and we’re able to put that behind us now and there was no damage done to the negotiations because he’s still leading the points and we’ve got six opportunities to win races between now and the Chase.” 

CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED

“I’m really proud of the fact that we went through all of this and we’re leading the points, we haven’t missed a beat and we’re able to keep digging.  I’m proud of that.”
 

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Posted on: August 4, 2011 7:46 am
Edited on: August 4, 2011 10:23 am
 

Carl Edwards staying at Roush Fenway Racing

By Pete Pistone

Carl Edwards will remain at Roush Fenway Racing and continue to pilot the No. 99 Ford in the Sprint Cup Series.

Edwards was said to be in discussions with Joe Gibbs Racing to possibly take the wheel of the Home Depot Toyota. But the current Sprint Cup Series point leader announced his intention to stay in the Roush fold.

From News Release

CONCORD, N.C. (August 4, 2011) – Roush Fenway Racing, the world’s largest motorsports organization, announced that it has re-signed driver Carl Edwards to a multi-year agreement starting in 2012. 

“Carl Edwards has achieved a level of success on and off track that would put him at the top of the list for any race team,” said Roush Fenway co-owner Jack Roush. “Carl and the No. 99 team are having a terrific season again this year, and we’re thrilled that our relationship will continue for many more.” 

“We saw great potential in Carl a decade ago, and it’s been a thrill to watch him grow into one of the sports’ premier drivers behind the wheel of the No. 99,” added Roush. “We didn’t take our past success for granted when we sat down with Carl to talk about his future. As an organization, we approach each week with an intense focus on being successful in the race to come. Carl’s position atop the points is a testament to that diligence.” 

“I sincerely appreciate the amazing opportunity that Jack Roush has given me in this sport and am honored to race for him,” said Edwards. “As an organization, Roush Fenway provides the resources I need to win, and as a driver, that’s the most important thing. We’re having a fun season on the race track as we’re leading the points and in great position for the Chase. That’s the result of a lot of hard work from the men and women at Roush Fenway, Ford Motor Company and Roush Yates Engines. I really enjoy competing with this group and looking forward to continuing that relationship into the future.” 

Edwards, who will make his 250th Sprint Cup start this weekend, currently sits atop the Sprint Cup point standings, and is a virtual lock to secure his sixth Chase for the Sprint Cup “playoff” berth in seven seasons. He has visited NASCAR victory lane seven times and earned six poles during the 2011 season.

“Carl brings a tremendous amount to the table from both a marketing and competitive standpoint,” said Roush Fenway president Steve Newmark. “He has one of the largest fan bases in the sport, is able accomplish so much for his sponsors and is second to none on the race track. We’re proud to have Carl as part of our roster going forward, a roster that includes some of the most experienced veteran champions on the circuit, and some of the sport’s most promising up-and-coming drivers.” 

Edwards joined Roush Fenway in 2003, driving the No. 99 Ford F-150 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. After a stellar inaugural season that saw him capture three wins, 13 top-five finishes and the Rookie-of-the-Year award, he got the nod from Jack Roush to move up to the Sprint Cup Series in the No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford. 

Over the next eight seasons Edwards teamed with Roush Fenway to win 59 races across NASCAR’s top three divisions, capturing the 2007 Nationwide championship and making the Sprint Cup “Chase” for the Cup in five of his first six seasons; including a runner-up finish in 2008. Edwards and the No. 99 team have led the point standings for the majority of this season. 

“We are pleased with Carl’s vote of confidence in Roush Fenway and Ford,” said Jamie Allison, director, Ford Racing. “This signals he believes he is with the right team and the right automaker to win races and championships. Now we can continue to focus on winning the 2011 championship.



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Category: Auto Racing
Posted on: August 2, 2011 2:47 pm
Edited on: August 2, 2011 2:48 pm
 

Idle Thoughts: Carl Edwards' decision distracting

By Pete Pistone
 

NASCAR driver Carl Edwards.

Carl Edwards
was my pre-season pick to win the Sprint Cup Series championship. 

Is there any way I can get a do over? 

It’s odd to say this about a driver who leads the series point standings the first week of August and who has one win and ten Top 10s, but given the current circumstances I don’t see how Edwards can contend for a title. 

The contract negotiations and uncertainty surrounding Edwards and the Roush Fenway Racing team have become such a distraction, I’m not sure how the 99 team even functions on a daily basis. 

Edwards made it clear again over the weekend in Indianapolis he is not closeto announcing what his future plans are at this point and remained adamant about not accentuating the situation through discussion in the media. 

“I’m going to make the decision that’s the best one I can make, and I’m going to do it outside of the media,” Edwards said Friday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. 

But despite Edwards’ wishes the topic has taken on a life of its own and the longer his future is unknown the more the hotter the spotlight will become. 

Several sources have reported Edwards’ move to Joe Gibbs Racing and the Home Depot Toyota is already a done deal with a formal announcement slated to come in Atlanta on Labor Day weekend. The Georgia city by the way happens to be home base for the home improvement retail chain. 

Edwards maintains nothing has been decided and doesn’t see his situation as a deterrent to the matter at hand for the Roush Fenway Racing team, which is winning more races and this championship. 

“There are a lot of distractions in life, but we’re doing really well,” Edwards said. “We’re leading the points and we’re doing well. We’re doing what we need to do, so I’m a competitor. My job is to do the job that I’m hired to do and whatever distractions there are out there I have to be able to shut those off and go race, and that’s what I do.” 

Others don’t agree, including RFR teammate Greg Biffle who thinks the circumstances are hindering the entire organization, not just Edwards’ team. 

“Eventually, he’s going to have to make a decision and it’ll be best for everybody so, one, we can plan for sponsorships and drivers and teams and people,” Biffle said. “There are a lot of people’s jobs on the line—if we’re going to be three teams or four teams—so the sooner the better. I understand contract negotiations take a long time and there is a lot to them, but truly if you know or you’ve made a decision, then it’s time to give everybody enough opportunity to make their decision on the back side of that.” 

Not to miss a beat on an opportunity to play some head games with the points leader, Edwards has listened to other competitors chime in on their view that his contract negotiations are derailing any chance to win this season’s crown. 

“Let’s say he’s going somewhere else, they’re done,” Jeff Gordon said. “I just don’t see them winning the championship knowing that they’re leaving. 

“I might be wrong. But if he stays, it might have just been a blip and then get back on track. So I think that’s definitely playing a factor. I’m not saying that just for Carl. It would with anybody. Anybody that’s going through a contract renegotiation year, things are up in the air—it’s always going to be a distraction.” 

My gut tells me Gordon’s right on a couple of counts. There is too much smoke to not believe the fire is burning brightly for Edwards to take over the JGR ride and become the next driver of the Home Depot Toyota. There was a Joe and J.D. Gibbs sighting at the company headquarters last week and also a report of Edwards-H.D. merchandise already in production. So although I’m far from a betting man, I’d probably lay a few pennies on the prospect that Cousin Carl’s favorite color becomes orange very soon 

And when that announcement finally does come, I don’t see any way the No. 99 team can contend for the title. You’ll hear all the right things how Carl’s still a part of the team, this is the common goal for the entire Roush organization and how everyone wishes Edwards well in the future and will pull together to win a championship while he’s still there. 

Baloney. 

The chemistry and cohesiveness of a NASCAR team is a very fragile entity. We’ve seen very talented groups capable of winning races and titles fall short because of one kind of mental mistake or another. 

Well I’m not predicting al all out mutiny, there will certainly be animosity and a feeling of betrayal on the part of some key personnel if and when Edwards tells them he’s indeed abandoning ship at season’s end. 

Had I known any of this was a possibility when my prediction for the 2011 Sprint Cup champ was due my vote would definitely had been cast for a sixth straight Jimmie Johnson crown.
  

 
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Category: Auto Racing
Posted on: July 29, 2011 4:31 pm
 

Carl Edwards still mum on future

By Pete Pistone

INDIANAPOLIS - While speculation continues to swirl around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that Carl Edwards is headed out of Roush Fenway Racing to take the wheel of the Joe Gibbs Racing Home Depot Toyota next season, Edwards maintains a deal is not done and that he will not discuss the negotiations with the media:

“We’re working hard on the contract stuff.  I’ve heard a lot of different ideas out there, but it still remains the same.  I’m gonna make the decision that’s the best one I can make and I’m gonna do that outside of the media.  That’s the way I want to keep it going right now.  I have signed a contract and that’s the contract I signed in 2008 to race for Jack in ’09, ’10, and ’11 and try to win the championship, so that is my mission.  That’s the only contract that I have signed right now and that’s the one that I’m gonna honor, so that’s what I’m doing.” 

DO YOU THINK IT WILL BE IN THE NEXT WEEK OR TWO? 

“I can’t tell you.  I’m not purposely withholding anything, other than to just be able to get the business side of everything done.  When I’m able to talk about next season, if it’s appropriate, I will talk about it and I’ll tell you guys.” 

HAVE YOU MADE A DECISION IN YOUR MIND OR ARE YOU STILL ON THE FENCE? 

“I’d just rather not say.  I appreciate it guys.  You guys have been very good to me and I appreciate it.” 

DO YOU FEEL THAT REGARDLESS WHAT DECISION YOU MAKE YOU CAN STILL WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP THIS YEAR? 

“Of course.  I do, I feel like no matter what happens that we have a great thing going here.  Jack Roush and Ford and Aflac and everyone, this is our mission right now is to win this championship and that’s our goal right now.  I feel like it’s the goal for all of us, so whatever happens will happen, but I think that’s reasonable to believe that it can happen no matter what.” 

YOU DON’T THINK THIS HAS DISTRACTED YOU FROM ALL OF THAT? 

“There are a lot of distractions in life, but we’re doing really well.  We’re leading the points and we’re doing well.  We’re doing what we need to do, so I’m a competitor.  My job is to do the job that I’m hired to do and whatever distractions there are out there I have to be able to shut those off and go race, and that’s what I do.” 

 
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Posted on: July 26, 2011 3:36 pm
 

Kyle Busch leader in NASCAR exposure

Posted by Pete Pistone

From News Release

Kyle Busch was mentioned more often and collected the most on-screen time, verbal references and exposure value for his sponsors than any other driver during race telecasts chronicling the first half of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.

According to research conducted by Joyce Julius & Associates, Inc. -- which has monitored every NASCAR race telecast over the last 27 seasons -- Busch’s sponsors as a group appeared for 12 hours, 31 minutes, seven seconds (12:31:07) during live and replayed telecasts of the season’s first 18 races. 

When also factoring in verbal mentions (142) of Busch’s sponsors, the Cup Series points-leader at mid-year amassed nearly $38.4 million of in-broadcast exposure value for his backing brands. 

Joyce Julius calculates television exposure value by comparing the in-broadcast visual and verbal exposure to the estimated cost of a national commercial during the telecast and applying Joyce Julius Recognition Grading -- which takes into account such factors as size and placement of the image on screen, as well as brand clutter and integration of the brand into the activity. 

Fox and TNT race announcers also mentioned Busch by name on 2,722 occasions during the first half of the season, or about 36% more frequently than the next closest competitor, Carl Edwards. 

Edwards, who ranked fifth in overall sponsor exposure, did manage to surpass Busch in the number of TV interviews (29 compared to 23) and total interview time (0:30:46 versus 0:29:57). 

Fan favorite driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., despite receiving nearly half as many announcer mentions as Busch, garnered the second highest cumulative exposure value total for his sponsors with a showing of more than $26.5 million.

 
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Posted on: July 15, 2011 3:40 pm
 

Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart frustrated

Selected driver comments -- Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman, Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer, Carl Edwards and David Ragan -- from Friday's media sessions at New Hampshire Motor Speeday .

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

WHAT IS YOUR MENTALITY FROM HAVING A FEW ROUGH WEEKS?

“I think the best thing we can do is stay positive. We run good at New Hampshire. We have been kind of eying this weekend and looking forward to it. We wanted to come in here with a lot of confidence that we belong in the Chase. That we belong up front in the top-five and the top-10 and try to make that happen this weekend and try to race up there well.”

HAS YOUR CONFIDENCE CHANGED IN THE LAST FIVE RACES?

“No, not really. It has just been really frustrating. Running poorly is not what you want to be doing. You just have to keep going to the race track. We’ve got good cars. We’ve got a really really good team. We should be running better than we have been the last couple of week and we know it. We are just going to try and work really hard to get back where we were earlier in the season. It shouldn’t be that difficult.”

WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES HERE AT NEW HAMPSHIRE?

“I don’t really know. We just come out here and try to run. I like the race track. I always enjoy the racing in New Hampshire. I’ve always had some pretty good cars here and ran well in a lot of the races I’ve run here. I enjoy coming here and look forward to the race. It is good racing. It is really challenging to pass, but it is fun. Hopefully this tire which is new this time, is a good tire.”

HOW DO YOU WEIGH WHETHER TO GO FOR A WIN OR TO GATHER POINTS FOR THE WILD CARD IN THE CHASE?

“If I could win a race, I’d win a race. You go out every week, you show up to run as well as you can. That is all do every week.”

THE FACT YOU HAD GOOD RUNS HERE LAST YEAR GIVE YOU ADDITIONAL CONFIDENCE THIS WEEKEND?

“It is pretty good. I like the race track. We’ve always ran pretty good. I’ve been looking forward to coming with my new crew chief. We ran really good here last year with Lance (McGrew) and those guys. I’m curious as to how the car will drive or how different it might be, good or bad with Steve (Letarte). I am anxious to get going. Anxious to get in the car today.”

 

Tony Stewart

YOU JUMPED UP ON THE BOARD LATE IN PRACTICE, DID YOU FIND SOMETHING?

“We didn’t switch over to qualifying trim and make our last run until the last 10 minutes. That’s why we didn’t get up on the board any quicker than we did. Think we are solid so far.”

HOW DO YOU ASSESS YOUR SEASON SO FAR?

“Same as we did last week and the week before. We’re not where we want to be yet but we are working at it.”
 
DO YOU FEEL LIKE IT IS COMING TOGETHER NOW?

“We are just taking it a week at a time right now. I don’t know. I mean, we are just literally taking everything a week at a time and hoping we get on the right track soon.”

ARE YOU FRUSTRATED?

“I am frustrated because I keep having to answer the question. I mean, when you are not happy when things…are you happy when things aren’t going the way you like it to go? Makes you frustrated doesn’t it? So yes, we’re frustrated.”

HAS THE OWNERSHIP THING BEEN ABOUT WHAT YOU EXPECTED?

“It hasn’t changed over the last two and a half years. It’s been exactly the same way the first year. It’s the same as it was last year. It’s the same as it’s been this year.”

DO YOU EVER WISH YOU COULD JUST GO BACK TO BEING ONLY A DRIVER?

“No, I like what I am doing. I enjoy it still. I don’t know what you want me to say. I’m still just as happy doing it now as I was two years ago as I started doing this as a car owner and a driver. Nothing has changed from that side. Every week is a challenge. Every week is a different obstacle. You work hard to try to accomplish the goal each week. It hasn’t changed.”

Ryan Newman

TALK ABOUT THE FIRST HALF OF THE SEASON AND YOUR THOUGHTS MOVING INTO THE SECOND HALF.

“We’ve had a good run at the first half. Just like any other team I would say we didn’t capitalize on some of the things that we’re fully capable of. Those are the things we need to fix for the second half obviously. I’m just really proud to be where we are. We had a good start to the season and a good opening three or four races which was the first time we had that at Stewart-Haas and just to come into Loudon here, one of my better race tracks stats wise and a place we’ve always run well at is something we are all looking forward to. We need to get the U.S. Army its first win at Stewart-Haas racing, no better place. A lot of first have happened for me here at Loudon and this would be good timing.”

I KNOW YOU ARE ALWAYS GOING OUT FOR A WIN BUT DO YOU FEEL ANY EXTRA PRESSURE TO GET ONE WIN JUST IN CASE THE WILDCARD SITUATION BECOMES NECESSARY FOR YOU?

“I’ve said the last few weeks because we’ve been ninth, 10th in points we are in the best, worst place we could be because we’re in right now but we’re very vulnerable. Because of the single-race winners this year that will change the dynamic of the points. Last year we were that one-race win team that would have made it with this year’s type of points system. So yeah, there’s a lot of emphasis we’re putting on it. Not necessarily because of the points but yeah we want to win. That’s just an added bonus the way the points system works this year.”

WHAT IS IT ABOUT THE WHELEN MODIFIED SERIES RACE THAT KEEPS YOU COMING BACK AND WHY ARE YOU SO SUCCESSFUL?

“I enjoy the race. I enjoy the 100-lapper part of it. I really enjoy the race cars and the way those guys race here. I got to experience the Whelen Modified at New Smyrna and Bristol, a couple of race tracks but they’re a lot of fun here the way they draft and they way you have to work in the corners. The groove actually is quite a bit different for the modified than it is the Cup cars. Working with Bono and those guys, Gary Putnam they do a really good job putting a great car together. We’ve got aggressive hydraulics on the car, Menards and ECR built a great engine for it. It’s just an opportunity for us to come up and do one of the things we love, is race without the stress. We’ve won and we’ve not won here so we’ll just go out and try it again.

DO YOU SEE ANY FRUSTRATION FROM YOUR BOSS AS A DRIVER WHEN YOU GO BACK AND HAVE TEAM MEETINGS, HE’S SUPPOSED TO COME ON IN THE SUMMERTIME AND THAT HASN’T QUITE HAPPENED YET, DO YOU SEE A SENSE OF FRUSTRATION IN TONY OR IS HE OKAY TO DEAL WITH WHEN HE’S NOT RACING?

“He’s always been okay to deal with. I think yes he is frustrated for that matter I’m ahead of him in points and I’m frustrated. I understand it and I understand our competitive nature not amongst each other but amongst our situation in the points. That’s what drives us, that’s what makes us better. That’s what makes us better teammates and a better organization, to not be okay with where we are at now. Ultimately we want to be first and secondin either order so yeah, I’m sure he’s frustrated. This is crunch time and this has usually been his time but it hasn’t been this year as you stated. That’s going to happen from time to time. Everything does cycle but you don’t want to see that part of the cycle when it’s your teammate.”

 

Denny Hamlin


What needs to happen as a result of the traffic problem at Kentucky last week?

"I think overall the track has got a lot of upgrades that needs to be done.  Obviously, when they built the race track, they weren't going to put in a huge fan zone and four or six lane highways if they weren't going to get a Cup race.  They just knew, I guess a year and a half ago or something like that.  They had a lot of work that needed to be done in a year and a half and they just didn't get to it all.  I think in time they'll get it figured out.  Obviously, it has an owner in it that is not afraid to spend money and politic with the state.  I think that the state is going to be willing to make some changes and obviously, above and beyond that they've got to have a better traffic strategy because I think that kind of failed."

Do you think an autograph session with all the drivers would help to bring fans back to Kentucky?

"Autograph sessions and things like that, I'm not sure that's going to bring in new fans or anything like that.  The stuff that we do to help promote races goes really above and beyond anything that we've ever done in the past to promote races. People just don't have enough money to do it, they're not going to do it.  An autograph is not going to make a difference in my opinion whether someone shows up or not."

Will some drivers or teams make desperate moves to make the Chase?

"Maybe, maybe on the crew chief's part, but the drivers really have no choice.  If they're second or third or something on a restart, or have a shot at a restart, it would have to be within the first two or three cars.  They're not going to make some bold move trying to win from 10th-place.  It's just not going to happen.  I don't think you'll see that much difference from the on-track with the drivers, but I think you could see it from the crew chiefs trying to do some different strategy."

Do you think the drivers should be used to help apologize to the fans in Kentucky?

"I feel like NASCAR has the most accessible athletes of any sport that we have.  Fans can come up to us right in the middle of practice and get an autograph, things like that.  It's very accessible.  Obviously, I was watching on NASCAR Now that the GM of the track (Kentucky Speedway), he was genuinely sorry about what happened and was wanting to make it up to the fans with the tickets for next year or tickets to any other race at an SMI track.  That's taking a big step in my opinion. That's a good thing that they're doing, they genuinely are sorry about what happened.  But, I mean, they'll figure it out.  As far as using us for their sorry statement, that's okay -- we're willing to do that and I'm alright with it.  I don't know that it's
going to bring more people to the race track on race weekend though, is what I'm saying.  That part of it, I'm really not too sure about."

What does traffic like what was experienced at Kentucky mean for the sport?

"Well to me, I view it as a good thing that there was that much demand to get into a race track.  You hear stories and we hear stories of 10 years ago or so, how hard it was to get into race tracks and everything.  Now you hear two hours before a race starts that we just drove right in.  That's not a good thing.  You want there to be a little bit of traffic that means people are going to be filing into the race track and watching the race.  I don't -- when I left the race track, I saw this huge swarm of people coming from every which direction.  I kind of look at it and smile that the demand for NASCAR is back."

 

Clint Bowyer


IS IT BITTERSWEET TO COME BACK TO NEW HAMPSHIRE AFTER LAST YEAR’S PENALTY?

“No, hey; the trophy is in my house (laughs), and I am to have another one there. We’ve run well here. I’ve got to get things turned back around. That’s the biggest thing right now for us is just two bad weekends in a row. You know you go to Daytona and it’s bound to happen. We’ve had such great runs over the last few years at Daytona. You’re not going to go to a place like that 10 times and get 10 good finishes. You’re just not. It’s too much of a crapshoot. You’re going to get caught up in something sooner or later and unfortunately it was my time.

“Kentucky, the next week, that’s where it really hurts. That’s what has really set us back here in the points, and I can’t think of a better place right here in New Hampshire to get things turned back around and pointed in the right direction.”

YOU ARE 12TH IN THE POINTS. HOW CRITICAL IS IT TO GET A GOOD FINISH THIS WEEKEND?

“Oh, this is a crucial time for us. We’ve got them breathing down our necks and we’re still within reaching distance of the cars in front of us, so this is a good time to get things pointed back in the right direction points-wise. But I tell you, with this crazy wildcard thing this is a good track for us to get a win and solidify ourselves in the Chase. So it’s an important weekend for sure.”

ON THE PENALTY

“The biggest thing that I don’t understand about it is that it passed post-race inspection and it gets back to something that nobody understands or knows a lot about; which is fine. I was okay. A penalty is a penalty and if you’re caught, you’re caught; it doesn’t matter what I think at the end of the day. Kyle Busch was low at Pocono; and I know the significance of what that does for a race car. And it was a lot more than 60 (thousandths of an inch out of tolerance). That’s the way that I look at that and he got a slap on the wrist and we got pretty much a season-ending penalty.

“But it is what it is. It doesn’t matter. It’s behind me, it really is. It’s frustrating for me to have to come back here and answer questions about last year because I’m worried about last week, and overcoming last week; forget about last year.

HAVING TWO BAD WEEKS IN A ROW, HOW DO YOU ROLL WITH THAT DURING THE WEEK?

“You go straight to the race shop and try to get to the bottom of it and try to help them figure out the problem. And that’s where I’ve been all week. That’s what you do. You’ve got to get back to work and you’re as big a part of that as anything. Obviously they don’t know the answer or they would have had it fixed. So you’ve got to go back there and communicate week by week; going back through the weeks and try to go through them one by one and hopefully through communication, you trip something in their mind that says oh man, we went in the wrong direction there. And first don’t make that mistake again and secondly even improve on it. So that’s what I do. I think that’s what the key is, it not letting it spiral out of control. That’s two bad weeks in a row. Everybody across the board, driver, crew chief, the pit crew, over the wall guys; it can very easily become a negative and spiral out of control. But there are so many positives about our season. We’ve run well and that’s what has put us in this situation. To have two bad weeks in a row and still be in the top 12 in points shows that our season has been pretty good. But we’ve got to put together a string of good runs and we’ve done that. We had six straight top-10 runs there and two of them were top-2 finishes and we almost won at Texas. We almost won at Talladega. We can do it. We’ve just got to get back after it and make it happen.”

 

Carl Edwards


JUST TALK ABOUT THE SECOND HALF OF THE SEASON. 

“Okay, the second half of the season for us is about getting wins. It is about going out here and being aggressive and getting those bonus points going into the Chase and having a little bit of fun. We have worked really hard to get to this point in the season and be in the position we are in to have had the win there at Vegas and to be where we are at in points, so now we are trying to go out there and get some more victories which is fun. That is the whole point of what we do. It is nice to not be looking backwards over our shoulders right now but to be looking forward. That is fun.”

ALTHOUGH ENGINES AREN’T AS IMPORTANT HERE AS A LOT OF PLACES, CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE IMPROVEMENTS THEY MADE TO THE FORD ENGINES THIS SEASON? 

“It is funny, when you talk about engines; it is interesting which tracks they are really important at. Doug Richard a long time ago told me at Martinsville, ‘You know everybody does all this qualifying stuff for Daytona but if you look at the lap times at Martinsville in qualifying, every thousandth of a second matters there.’ That really stuck with me and I have noticed that these engines have made a difference at every race track. I think it is a huge thing for us to have the FR9 everywhere. I think at places like this it is just as important as anywhere else and maybe even more because the RPM range is so wide and we are so slow in the middle of the corners and fast at the end of the straightaways. I think it is important here.”

HOW MUCH EFFORT IS BEING DONE BACK AT ROUSH FENWAY TO WORK ON THINGS FOR THE CHASE?

“There is a lot of effort going into the Chase and a lot of things we are working on now that we hope to apply then. I think that is what a lot of the teams are doing, they are working hard right now to try things you want to try that you think might work. Once the Chase comes it is really difficult to take something new and unproven to the race track. Now is the time to be working on all that stuff and we are working on it pretty hard.”

HOW MUCH STRESS DO YOU FELL WITH EVERYTHING YOU HAVE GOING ON, INCLUDING CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS, BECAUSE YOU DON’T REALLY SHOW MUCH STRESS. IS THERE SOMETHING WE AREN’T SEEING HERE?

“I think as competitors we all put ourselves in position where we want to do the very best we can all the time. There is always that pressure there. People ask a lot about pressure and do you feel pressure to do this or that. I think I can probably speak for most of the drivers in the garage that we are very self-motivated and the pressure is from within. Those things you just mentioned, running around from race track to race track and back and forth in the garage relieves some of the pressure and gives me an outlet. I just got out of the Cup car and practice didn’t go as well as we wanted and didn’t run that super fast lap that we thought we would run and I am frustrated about it. Now I get to run over to the Nationwide car and go out there and slam the pedal down and it takes my mind off of it until qualifying. I guess there is a lot of pressure and stress and things going on, but all the running around and stuff I do is exactly the right medicine for it.”

CAN YOU COMMENT ON THE TWITTER COMMENTS MADE BY GOLDEN TATE ABOUT JIMMIE JOHNSON AT THE ESPY AWARDS?

“Yeah, I saw that last night and I thought that was hilarious. I thought it was pretty comical. I personally would invite anyone, including Golden Tate, or anyone who thinks that Jimmie Johnson isn’t an athlete to come out and compete with him in just about anything. He might not be able to lift as much weight as those guys but I have followed Jimmie Johnson on a motocross track and watched what he is able to do and a lot of people don’t realize how much of an athlete he is. I thought it was interesting.”

WHY DO YOU THINK THIS STILL COMES UP AFTER ALL THIS TIME?

“It is the perfect topic to debate because you don’t have to be an athlete to drive a race car. You don’t have to be an athlete to be the best golfer. I would argue there are positions in football where you don’t have to be that great of an athlete to do well. It is just like anything. There are people in this garage that are very, very good athletes. Tony Kanaan in the Indy Car Series, I would put that guy up against anyone in an endurance endeavor like bicycling, running or swimming. I think until someone goes and tries something, I think it is extremely arrogant to knock it. That is the bottom line. You can watch professional table tennis and say, ‘Wow, that is no big deal,’ but I know we have all tried to play ping pong and there is no way we could play at that level. Everywhere things are difficult. I mostly thought it was comical. I read the comments and things and it was pretty funny.”

 

David Ragan

TALK ABOUT THE LAST COUPLE OF WEEKS. YOU HAVE MADE A LOT OF HEADLINES. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS GOING INTO THE SECOND HALF OF THE SEASON?

“I think we have had a good couple of weeks. We have made up a lot of points to that top-10. Getting the win was big. Following up with a top-10 and leading some laps at Kentucky was a Chase caliber run for our team. I think that wins are very important for us still and that is what we come to the race track to do every weekend. Top-10’s, top-fives and leading laps are what will get us to the top-10 in points. I think everyone is talking about that wild card but our goal is getting into the top-10. I foresee there is going to be a lot of action from probably fifth to 15th in points, there are going to be a lot of guys moving up and down.”

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT PRESSURE? PRESSURE TO WIN, PRESSURE TO REGAIN YOUR SPONSOR, PRESSURE TO SAY IN A RIDE? 

“Oh sure, I think I have said it a lot, I have had pressure from day one being a young guy at Roush Fenway. Not having a lot of experience coming in and having a good year my rookie year and better year my sophomore year and then really struggling the last two. Coming into this season we knew we would have a lot of pressure. We have run well and we got the win and have put ourselves in a position to make the Chase. I think that brings more pressure just because now we are so close we need to capitalize on the progress we have made. Being right outside of the top-10, with the win, it is like, ‘Hey, we gotta do something with it.’ We can’t turn back now. There has always been a lot of pressure at this Sprint Cup Series level, but that is what we thrive on. It affects us in a good way.”

WHO DO YOU THINK WILL BE THE NEXT FIRST TIME WINNER? 

“Watkins Glen is just around the corner and that is Marcos Ambrose’s best track on the circuit in my opinion. I think he will be really strong there. If you look at this weekend, our Ford teammate AJ Allmendinger is really good on the short track. Either one of those two guys could win one at any moment. I know it has been a year or two since Logano has won and he feels the pressure to win. He has been running great lately too. I think there are three or four guys and they all happen to be right around us in points that could possible get that win. We are not safe until that checkered flag falls at Richmond.”

DO YOU FEEL LIKE THAT WIN YOU HAD SOLIDIFIED YOUR STANDING WITH UPS AND ROUSH? 

“I think a lot of it depends on what UPS does in coming back. I am really happy at Roush and I think the Ford’s are running great and Jack is happy with the performance of the 6 team even compared to his other teams. A lot of it is the negotiations between Roush and UPS and working out the small details. I am encouraged by some of the recent conversations we have had and things look to be on the good side but like I have said, you can’t stop with what you have done. You have to keep going and that is what is important. I still think we are four to six weeks out from really having some announcements and look forward to some good runs in between then.”
More NASCAR coverage
Posted on: June 26, 2011 9:21 pm
Edited on: June 26, 2011 9:22 pm
 

Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards post Sonoma comments

Posted by Pete Pistone
           

Carl, you are still the points leader by 25 over Kevin Harvick.  Talk about coming into the road course at this point in the season and maintaining that points lead.          

CARL EDWARDS:  I think this is a huge weekend for us.  We started out terrible.  We changed plans right at the end of practice on Friday.  We all got together and talked about it.  I called the CEO of Fastenal.  We decided for me to stay here and practice on Saturday and Billy Johnson would run the Fastenal Mustang up there in Road America.  That was the call of the weekend.  Ended up giving us two hours of practice.  We got to really work on the car, and that's what made this a good day for us.           

I would have much rather gone over and raced over there.  Bob did a great job with the strategy.  Early in the race we were terrible.  We were back there mired in the back, all the other terrible racecars like Jeff Gordon's (laughter).  I almost passed you on the green.  It was going to be big.  But in the end, he got us.  You know, back when I was a little kid and you didn't have gray hair.           

JEFF GORDON:  Like I said, I'm going to be 40.  There are some advantages.  Today it paid off.           

CARL EDWARDS:  He got us in the end.  It was a great points day.           

THE MODERATOR:  We'll open it up for questions.            

Q.  When Kurt stayed out, did you think this was playing in his hands?           

CARL EDWARDS:  We were too far back.           

JEFF GORDON:  You have to ask somebody that actually could see the front.  I know it wasn't me.           

CARL EDWARDS:  No, at the end on the restart they were telling me his lap times.  He was kind of easing around there.  Once in a while he would blister off a fast lap.  His car was extremely good.  I think he just had a very fast car.            

Q.  Carl, if you were battling for the points in the Nationwide Series, do you think you might have made the opposite decision and gone out to Wisconsin?          

CARL EDWARDS:  I think we would have.  As it stands, we're racing for the owner's championship over there, then there's the fact that I committed to running all the races.  That was the most important thing, that Fastenal was okay with me staying here.  They made it clear they were part of Roush Fenway Racing, not just for our 60 team.           

We're still fighting for the owner's championship over there and I'll race any race that I can.            

Q.  Jeff, you mentioned before the beginning of the race your car wasn't as good, then it was way better in the second half the race.  What was the biggest difference you made or maybe the way you were driving to get up to second place?          

JEFF GORDON:  We made a lot of adjustments.  Gosh, rubbers in the rear, track bar, wedge, everything else.  You know, I didn't really think any of those things were making a big difference.  But we also were never in clean air.           

There at the end, that was the furthest forward we had been all day.  I really think the adjustments we made really did work on just helping the car turn into the corner a little bit better and getting us pointed up off the corner so we could drive off a little straighter.  I was just so tight getting in the corner.  Because I had so much wheel when I went into the throttle, I wanted to spin off.  I was really slow through the fast sections as well.           

We struggled in every aspect.  Normally when you're off a little bit, there's normally one corner you're good in.  There wasn't one corner I was good in.  There at the end, I don't know if the track came to us, what happened.  It seems like that setup, the adjustments we made, being in cleaner air, started working for me.  I had enough grip to really use the curbs.  By using those curbs, I could get up off the corners better.            

Q.  Kurt Busch said at the end of the weekend he was put off by the fact you didn't apologize to him last year; you apologized to other people.  Have you ever used something like that as a catalyst to come back and kick everybody's butt?  He had a phenomenal race.  Have you ever used something like that to kind of push you to have a day like the day Kurt had today?           

JEFF GORDON:  Well, no.  I make a bonehead move and mistake on a guy, a guy like Kurt Busch who ran me off the track on a restart, then I ran him off the track on the next restart.  But I did it far more.           

I didn't feel like I owed him an apology.  He's done things to me over the years that I didn't get any apology on.  That's just the relationship I have with Kurt.  If it's Carl, certain guys out there have certain relationships.  If you have that kind of respect on the track for one another, you apologize.  I don't think that exists really with me and Kurt, so I see no reason to apologize.           

Those guys have been on a mission here lately.  I would say their motivation is how bad they ran earlier in the year.  I think it was pretty well-documented how much they struggled, some of the comments that were made.  Whatever they've done since then, it's been working.  They're fast on ovals, fast on the road courses.  They were strong all weekend long.           

To me, that's why he's in Victory Lane, 'cause he's a good driver and he had a great racecar and team today.            

Q.  The way they have come back and performed here lately, have you ever seen a team and organization turn things around that fast?           

CARL EDWARDS:  I don't know if it's unusual, but they definitely have turned things around.  Our team one year ago after this race, we turned things around, got on a roll.  Now all I worry about is how long it's going to last, if we can keep it going.  I'm sure they're thinking the same thing, hoping they can keep this going through the whole season.  It's amazing how the performance in this sport peaks and can fall as quickly as well.            

Q.  Can you give us an idea what you thought when you saw the 14 car.  It's not often that we see a car kind of in that position, so to speak.           

CARL EDWARDS:  I don't know.  What happened?           

JEFF GORDON:  I'll tell you what I thought.  Did you see the wreck in the Grand-Am in Elkhart Lake?  That's what I thought.  Throttle stuck or brakes went out.  You got to be traveling at a high rate of speed going backwards to get up on the tires over there and keep it there.           

From what I heard, he had a little help getting there.            

Q.  Carl, how much do you think staying yesterday helped?  Was it tough at all watching the Road America race?           

CARL EDWARDS:  It was tough to watch the race.  But I think staying was the right decision.  I paid off today.  It was a good call.  We could have finished poorly here, ended up on the fence over there like Tony did or something.  Anything can happen.  It turned out to be the right call and it paid off, so it was a great move.            

Q.  From up here it looked like things were crazy on turn 11.  Lot of action.  In your past experience with this race, was it more than usual or anything different about turn 11 or just the way luck is?           

JEFF GORDON:  I mean, I made a comment one time on the radio, it was nuts, just crazy, crazy.  You guys are seeing turn 11.  It's crazy from the time you drop the green going into one, two, three.  I mean, it's just the buildup to get to turn 11.           

The problem is turn 11.  There's two places you can pass on this track, going into seven and 11.  You couldn't really pass going into seven today.  It was so slick, you had to be so careful.  So everybody gets to turn 11.  Because you're racing one another, it seems like guys, you know, really block the inside lane and force guys to go around the outside lane.  So it builds frustration.  You get in a position where this is your only shot for that entire lap to try to make a pass.           

So, you know, either somebody gets aggressive and drives in there too hard, makes contact, or they just get frustrated and start using the bumper.  It's hard to say.  But it was pretty crazy from where I was sitting.  I know that.           

CARL EDWARDS:  It looks like there's an opportunity with all the pavement out there to move turn 11 150 or 200 yards this way.  Call it the doughnut hole.  Spin around and do doughnuts.  A lot of pavement to put that corner all the way at the end of it.  You know what I mean?             

Q.  Jeff, you alluded you didn't feel you needed to apologize to Kurt from last year.  You apologized to a few of the others.  Did you come into this race planning to run it differently than you did last year?           

JEFF GORDON:  Well, I didn't plan on going into it last year that way.  It just kind of happened that way.           

I was not proud of some of the things that I did last year.  You know, it's not my style.  It's not the way I like to race.  Like I said, there were some instances where it was a mistake on my part.  Juan Pablo is behind me.  He's the king of the late brakers.  He would be a long bay ways behind me, yet he would still drive down inside me.  When I crashed Martin, I was blocking Juan Pablo and made me go into Martin.  It wasn't like I was trying to do anything towards Martin.           

There were times today where we didn't have the car and I gave up the spots.  I wasn't going to try to push the issue.  I guess that's good and bad.  I didn't have a car that could even try to pass anybody or block anybody down in turn 11 for most of the race.  So I had to give up a lot of those spots and bite my tongue and hope that we could get it fixed or get track position, which it worked out.           

I certainly didn't want to make as many enemies as I did last year, because I made a lot of 'em coming out of here.  So it's nice to come out of here and that not happen.  I don't think I really touched anybody today.  So that feels good.           

CARL EDWARDS:  You really pissed me off passing me at the end (laughter).           

JEFF GORDON:  But I didn't touch you (laughter).           

CARL EDWARDS:  I felt bad after that race.  Then I heard how mad everybody was at you and it made me feel better (smiling).            

Q.  You might not want to talk specifically in the first person, but talk about retribution and what you need to do if someone gets you earlier in the race.  With Vickers and Stewart today, they seemed to have the bad blood.  I'm sure you've had problems with other drivers in a particular race.  Talk about that in general because NASCAR might be listening.           

CARL EDWARDS:  I don't think I've ever gone out and tried to get somebody back.  Have you?           

JEFF GORDON:  Never.  And I have a terrible memory.  I never remember those instances where I got into a wreck with somebody so I forget about it later.           

CARL EDWARDS:  I think NASCAR has this 'have at it' mentality, the statement they made.  I think in the end will be better and safer for all of us.  You know when you're out there, if NASCAR is going to let things be settled on the racetrack, I think people will respect each other a little bit more on the racetrack, and that's good.           

JEFF GORDON:  The only thing I'll say is if you're going to try to win a championship, those types of situations are, in my opinion, going to hinder you from doing that.  If you start getting into a battle with a guy, especially if it's somebody that is not in championship contention, you know, then what happens is you're not going to win.  It's going to be a lose for you and everybody.  If it's somebody that's in the championship, then you guys have to figure out how to settle it, whether it happens on the track or off the track.           

I think it just depends.  If you're that upset at what happened, and you see that guy again before the race is over, you're still upset, depends on how your fuse is.  Some people have short fuses and some people have long fuses.  I got into a battle with Tony Stewart before.  That's not a guy I battle with anymore.  We had our situation.  I'm so glad that we resolved it fairly quickly.  Nobody has more respect for one another out there than me and Tony because I've been on the other side of it with him when he can get mad.  He's not a guy that you want to have gunning at you.  He's a great racecar driver, he's smart, he can get really mad.  We'll see how this one turns out.            

Q.  Jeff, does it ever get old winning in your neck of the woods?  Probably not.           

JEFF GORDON:  I hate winning and I hate finishing second.  It's awful (laughter).           

CARL EDWARDS:  You have to deal with all the trophies and money and stuff.  It's awful.           

JEFF GORDON:  You have to understand my emotions throughout this day.  Carl can relate because I know he was back there with me.  I never thought for one second we were going to finish second today or anywhere in the top 10.  So to come back and do what we did was incredible.           

I love coming out here for so many reasons.  You know, the family, the friends.  But I love this track.  It's a very challenging, but fun track to drive.  It's the first road course of the season.  That's unique and different for us at this point in the season.  I get to bring my family out here.  Ella's birthday is this past week, so had a birthday party for her.  There's just one thing after the other.  I have the wine that's out here.  There's so many reasons I love coming out here.           

So to me it's only added pressure to try to do well on the racetrack.  And I'm just shocked with all the distractions that we've actually been able to be as successful as we have.  I was up the 4:30 in the morning two days this week.  I was dead here on Friday.  Luckily my wife was very considerate to let me get a lot of sleep the last couple days.  I don't think we would have run as well as we did today.            

Q.  What were you doing up till 4:30?           

JEFF GORDON:  I was up at 4:30 with Leo.  That was six or seven years ago (laughter).            

Q.  When you see something like what went on with Vickers and Tony, Vickers may come back at him and vice versa, how aware of you are that while you're trying to run your clean race?  How do you handle that?           

CARL EDWARDS:  I wasn't even listening.           

JEFF GORDON:  You have to understand, neither one of us even saw that.  I don't know what happened.  I hate to comment on something I don't know what happened.  I was purely pointing out an instance with me and Tony.           

It sounds like there was a situation, I don't know what it was.  I was kind of using that as a reference.  But I have no idea what happened.           

I think something may have happened earlier that led to that.  But I have no idea.  I don't think it's really something I can comment on.            

Q.  You're not aware of that at all.  That doesn't factor into trying to stay away from those guys during the course of the race?           

CARL EDWARDS:  My spotter does a good job of letting me know who is mad at each other.  Jason says, Watch these guys up here, they're about to wreck each other.  You never really know what happened.  You don't know if it happened a lap before.  It's hard to tell in real-time what happened to who and what's about to happen.            

Q.  Jeff, your fans out here are pretty crazy.  They just love you to death.  How do they compare to fans around the country?  Are they as enthusiastic?           

JEFF GORDON:  Well, you know, you've got the really avid core of fans that are kind of based back east or in the southeast that are very avid fans.  The difference is I'm from here.  Because I'm from here and we've had so much success out here, the avid fans that are out here are as big of fans as there are anywhere else in the country.           

It feels so good to go to driver introductions and get the reception that I get.  Even just walking through the garage area.  Again, another one of those reasons why I love coming out here, because it is not the same other places that we go.  I have an incredible fan base, but it is a little bit unique out here because Vallejo being so close.            

Q.  After the race, Jeff, you came into the winner's circle and congratulated Kurt.  Did that have anything to do with what went on here last year?           

CARL EDWARDS:  Did you apologize?           

JEFF GORDON:  I'm still not apologizing (laughter).           

No, had nothing to do with that.  The guy did a great job.  He drove a great race.  They've been running well.  To me what happened here last year, what happened at Martinsville, is behind us.  I've moved on from that.  I think we're pretty even.  Was just congratulating him on the win.  Had nothing to do with anything else.           

I think it was his first road course win.  Is that right?  So a guy really who is as talented as he is, every guy that competes in this series has won on ovals wants to win on a road course to kind of prove something to themselves and the rest of the competitors.  When you do that the first time, I know how much it means.  I know it meant a lot to him.  I wanted to congratulate him on it.            

Q.  Carl, you decided to stay and practice yesterday.  Did that help for you?           

CARL EDWARDS:  Come on, you need to get here on time.            

Q.  I was with the winner.           

CARL EDWARDS:  Hey, we're all winners (laughter).           

It did help to stay.  We covered it earlier.  But I think it was a good decision.  I owe it to Fastenal for helping me make that decision.  It was cool.            
Q.  Jeff, you talked about that you haven't been real good on the road courses.  What does this do for you now?  You were right there at the end.           

JEFF GORDON:  I have a question for Carl.  I want to know what you were thinking when you decided that you were going to fly all the way across the country from California during the middle of the season for that race.           

CARL EDWARDS:  I like to race a lot, okay?           

JEFF GORDON:  I know you do.           

CARL EDWARDS:  We had so much fun last there, man.  Have you raced there?           

JEFF GORDON:  No.  When you left last year, I was like, He's crazy.  So I take my hat off to you for doing that.           

CARL EDWARDS:  Thanks.           

JEFF GORDON:  I mean, I think I may have answered that question, as well.           

CARL EDWARDS:  Are you going to write this article on Tuesday (laughter)?  We're just messing with you.           

JEFF GORDON:  I don't remember the specifics of your question.  But we struggled throughout this day and we really were able to turn it around with some adjustments as well as track position there at the end.  So kind of contributed to a great finish.

 
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Posted on: June 24, 2011 9:36 pm
 

Edwards to skip Nationwide race

By Pete Pistone

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. - Carl Edwards was planning to do double duty this weekend and compete in both Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race ar Infineon Raceway as well as Saturday's Nationwide Series event at Road America. However those plans have been scrapped.

Roush Fenway Racing has announced that Billy Johnson, who led the first practice session on Friday at Road America, will drive the #60 Fastenal Mustang in Saturday's Bucyrus 200 Nationwide Series road course race. Edwards, who was originally slated to drive the car at Road America and is the defending race winner, will remain in Sonoma, Calif. and concentrate on his Sprint Cup effort.


 
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