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November 13th, 2011

Edwards Finishes Second at Phoenix; Takes Points Lead into Homestead

Carl Edwards, No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion –  PIT LANE INTERVIEW  “We have never gone into Homestead with the points lead. You know they give a boat away if you win that thing. I saw that boat and I would like to go down there and win it. That would be fun to put a cap on this season. That is what our mission is. We feel we have the cars and pit crew and have shown that we can gut it out on these really tough days when maybe we don’t have the fastest car. This is going to be good.” 

THAT LAST PASS GOT YOU THE POINTS TO END WHERE YOU DID.  “It was a long day. It was interesting. I was real calm but it is hard to watch that 14 crew and Tony do so well. They have really stepped it up. They are making us perform the best we ever have and we are doing the same to them. I followed him for about 40 laps. It felt like I was working him over and really paying attention to what he does. I determined he is a pretty good driver. If we can win this thing beating him that would be really cool.”

Bob Osborne, Crew Chief No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion – “We finished in front of Tony. We would have like to increase the points lead but we didn’t because he was able to lead so many laps early on. We had a great car and they had a great day too. It is going to be exciting going into Homestead. We were guarding against cautions and getting caught there staying out a little longer, guarding against a caution and that let the 4 car get in front of us. It felt like we had a better car than they did. Kenny just juked me today. I will have to congratulate him on that when I see him. I can’t say enough about them. The 4 car had a great car actually. They were very fast all day long. My hat is off to them and the 14 also. It is going to be a lot of fun at Homestead.” 

YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHERE YOU STAND FOR HOMESTEAD. WHAT IS AT THE FOREFRONT OF YOUR MIND FOR THAT RACE? 
“We will go there and try to repeat what we did last year. I feel like we have a good opportunity to do that this year. The car had the speed to do it today. The way the race played out here and my decision to wait a little bit longer cost us the win today. I think we will go into Homestead trying to sit on the pole and win the race and put a dot on this championship hopefully.”

Matt Kenseth, No. 17 Crown Royal Ford –  WALK US THROUGH WHAT HAPPENED. EVERYONE IS SAYING IT WAS RETALIATION FROM MARTINSVILLE.
“Well yeah, obviously it is retaliation for retaliation I guess. I was out of brakes and I was up on everybody and I saw him coming and I lifted at least 10 car lengths before where I would normally lift and he drove in there at 165 miles per hour and cleaned us out. I don’t know. If NASCAR is going to start parking people for being mad 25 second after you wreck and wrecking somebody then you would park somebody for that. You have someone that has been telling everybody for four or five that as soon as he got a chance at a fast race track he was going to make it hurt and wipe us out and they do nothing about it. It was so premeditated it just surprises me that they didn’t do anything. I am disappointed but I expected it. We aren’t racing street stocks at a quarter mile track so they need to figure out how to get the drivers to settle their difference in a different way and talk about it or figure it out or do something instead of using your car as a battering ram somewhere this fast.” 

WAS THERE ANY TEMPTATION WHEN YOU WENT BACK OUT TO TAKE IT UP ONE MORE NOTCH?  “No, not at all. I don’t stoop to that level. When we had our problem at Martinsville it was heat of the moment and he hit me eight or nine times and he hit me once. Hindsight I should have let him go and left him alone because you realize who he is and what he is and all that. You probably should leave him alone and go on. I would never sit down there and wait for somebody and take a cheap shot like that. You can hurt someone like that and that isn’t sportsmanlike and that isn’t something I would do.” 

WHAT NOW? DO YOU TALK ABOUT IT?  “Nothing. We go race at Homestead.”

Marcos Ambrose, No. 9 DeWalt Ford — “We had a good car today. We just needed a bit of clean air to get the nose down and feeling good. I am proud of my DeWalt team, they did a good job and we were solid all day long.” 

THIS CONTINUES A REALLY GOOD SECOND HALF OF THE SEASON FOR YOU.  “Yeah, it bodes even better for the first half of next season.”

AJ Allmendinger, No. 43 WIX Filters Ford –  “It is a credit to all the guys on the 43 and at RPM. The test was really good and we came back really good. Man, I don’t know. We lost on that one restart. I don’t know. The tires chattered a little bit. The tires were so sensitive and they chattered and got hung out. I overdrove one lap and got in the dirt and that killed us from there. Sixth is okay but I feel like we deserved better. We have to work on our pit stops. Thanks to the 6 guys, our Ford teammates coming over and pitting the last two stops. That was a big difference.”  WHAT WAS BEHIND THAT CALL?  “We were bad. We were losing four or five spots on a stop. You can’t do that and win a race and those guys are pretty good. They did a good job.”
 
J.J. Yeley, No. 38 Vampt Ford Fusion –  “The guys did a good job with our No. 38 Vampt Ford Fusion all day.  We had a terrible qualifying run so we had the challenge of starting in the back.  And we knew that was going to be tough with the single-file racing that we’ve seen so far here.  But the guys kept making it better all day, gave us some good pit stops, and Jay Guy made a good call on two tires at the end. We were all really proud to have Scott Bates here with us.  It was a really special day for him, seeing the paint scheme that he created, in person, and also being recognized on stage during pre-race ceremonies.  We’re all very grateful to veterans like him for their service to our country.”

David Gilliland, No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford — “That was a tough race.  Starting from the back of the pack, we knew we had to have a pretty good car to be able to move up at this place.  But we had some issues with the suspension.  The car was bouncing and we were just adjusting on the shocks and stuff all day.  I’m really looking forward to going to Homestead, though.  I love racing there and we’ll look to end our season on a high note.”

CARL EDWARDS PRESS CONFERENCE

CAN YOU GIVE US OPENING STATEMENT GOING INTO HOMESTEAD WITH TONY THREE POINTS BEHIND YOU, YOU ARE THE ONLY TWO IN CONTENTION AND THIS IS THE THIRD CLOSEST CHAMPIONSHIP BATTLE GOING INTO HOMESTEAD IN NASCAR HISTORY.  “That is cool. I couldn’t ask for anything more. It is going to be fun. It is neat to go to Homestead and race it out. I am sure these guys are going to be good down there. They are fast at the mile-and-a-half tracks. I love that place. I am proud of my guys today. They did a great job on pit road. Tony was really fast and we got our car tuned in and we were able to race with them and compete. It was a good hard fought day. I am really pumped for Homestead, I think it is going to be a good time.”

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON HOW THE TRACK WAS TODAY?  “I think what Tony said is absolutely correct. All those guys that came out here and spent that time helped a ton. I think Brian recognizing the issue we were potentially going to have and addressing it was huge. It was a lot better than I thought it would be. The groove moved out wider and wider. I started to remember the old Phoenix when I would drive down in one and slide up and catch some rubber. I believe after it sits awhile and we come back here for the Subway 500 in the spring, and even a year from now, I think it will be awesome. I am a convert. I was ready to put a tombstone up and say goodbye to the place, but I think it is going to be good.”

I NOTICED YOU FOLLOWED TONY FOR A BIT, WAS THAT PART OF YOUR STRATEGY AND WHAT IS YOUR STRATEGY FOR THE LAST RACE?
  “That is exactly what I was doing, just hanging out back there trying to keep his blood pressure up. No, I was having fun. I think our car was a tick faster right then. I was watching what Tony was doing and searching around and doing what I could. That was really fun. It was neat to be able to race like that. I think if it would have gone green from there, which I know the chances of that are virtually nil, that would have been a fun race. We would have battled it out. The way this has turned out for us to be running 1-2 and racing like this is really cool.”

GIVEN YOUR SUCCESS AT HOMESTEAD, IS THERE ANY PLACE YOU WOULD RATHER HAVE THE SEASON FINALE?  “There are some dirt tracks I grew up on that would be fine with me. (laughter) If we tie, we should go to one of the dirt tracks down in Florida, that would be pretty fun.  Homestead is going to be a lot of fun. I really enjoy racing there. The cool thing about Homestead is we are going to go there and you will be able to move around and pass and you won’t get hung up as badly in traffic as you would at other race tracks. For the sport in general, I don’t know that there is a better place to go than Homestead to fight for this championship.”

LAST YEAR JIMMIE JOHNSON WOULD STAY OUTSIDE WHEN DENNY WAS TALKING. YOU DID COME IN HERE AND ARE SITTING WITH TONY. HOW IS YOUR MINDSET AND NERVES RIGHT NOW?  “They are really good. I am fortunate I guess. There is the potential for me to get really nervous there at Homestead, you never know what will happen. The thing for me is I have always been fortunate enough to just get in the race car and go race and there is no time for me that is more calm or I feel better than in that race car. I understand what all this stuff is. I understand we come up here and answer questions and that is part of our sport. When it comes down to it though, both of us know we have to just go race each other. It is truly neat, like you said it is my first time to come into this not just tied but with a little points advantage in this final race, it is fun. I am just enjoying it. It really, truly doesn’t matter what anyone says or what anyone’s predictions are. It gets done on the race track and that is when we will see.”

WHAT WILL YOU DO THIS WEEK?  “I don’t know what I am going to do this week. I don’t have a very busy schedule so that is good. I can always find something to do. I will just go hang out and do what I normally do. I will spend a little time hopefully with the guys and talk a bit with Bob and keep doing what we have been doing all year and go down there and enjoy it.”

HOW COOL IS IT TO BE BATTLING EACH OTHER FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP AND ALSO BE SO CLOSE TO EACH OTHER AND RACING EACH OTHER SO TIGHTLY THE LAST FEW WEEKS?  “This is kind of strange to say right now because we are battling and it is a zero sum game, one of us will win and one of us will lose, but it is neat to me that Tony and the guys on the 14 have been running so well and have won so many races and are performing at such a high level. It is going to mean more if we are able to beat them in this championship because of that. To be racing these guys at their peak, for us I can say completely truthfully this is the best Chase we have ever had. We haven’t gone out and got the trophies we have in other Chase’s put we have performed better than we ever had. If they beat us they are beating us at our best and that is pretty neat.”

YOU’VE BEEN A PART OF ALMOST ALL THE CHASE’S. HOW WOULD YOU RATE THIS BEING ON THE INSIDE LOOKING AT IT?  “It’s the best points battle I have been a part of at this level. It is fun for me. I still don’t understand why we are both running so good. It seems like subconsciously we are both able to dig down and our teams are able to give us what we need and everyone is performing at a real high level. It has been neat that this battle has brought out the best in us.”

YOU GUYS HAVE RACED HARD WITH EACH OTHER. HOW MUCH HARDER DOES IT GET. WHERE IS THAT LINE AT?  “Heck, I’m gonna trip him when we walk out of this room. No, I think we are going to go race as hard as we can and both of us I believe want to win this thing because we are the best out there next weekend and that is all we can do, go out there and race hard like we have for years. There would be nothing better than coming down the last lap, side by side, racing for the win. That would be really fun.”

JIMMIE JOHNSON’S RUN OF FIVE STRAIGHT TITLES CAME TO AN END TODAY. CAN YOU PUT THAT IN PERSPECTIVE?  “I would say that if anyone is going to go out and do it again it would be those guys. They have as good a shot as anyone at starting again next year. It is very impressive. I agree with what Tony said.”

KASEY KAHNE HAS SCORED THE SECOND MOST POINTS IN THE CHASE. HAVE YOU NOTICED HIM TURNING IT UP?  “He kind of snuck up on me as well. I didn’t realize that statistic. We got to work with those guys really closely when he was driving a Ford and he is a really impressive driver. Those guys are going to be tough for a long time if they can find a groove and he can stick with one team and have people rally around him. I think he is going to be really tough for a long time.”

AS PRECIOUS AS THE POINTS ARE. WAS IT AT ALL DEFLATING WHEN YOU REALIZED AT THE END THAT KASEY HAD THE RACE AND YOU DIDN’T?  “Yeah, but I felt that the strategy we went with, we had to do it that way. To pit early with him and leave the opportunity be to be a lap down and mired back in the field if there were a restart I believe Bob did the right thing. If we would have had a caution there at the end, I felt like our car was a little faster than his and we would have had a good shot at the win still. I would have loved to won this race for sure. That is what we all do this for. We still did our jobs. I think we did a really good job today. I am not certain if we had the fastest car but we performed well with it and got a good result.”

By zach71maverick @ 6:20PM PDT.
Category: General Interest
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