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:
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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