Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Fastenal Ford Fusion, took part in the test session at Martinsville Speedway today with the recently-approved 2013 NASCAR Ford Fusion. Edwards stopped by the infield media center during the lunch hour to answer questions from the media.
WHAT KIND OF URGENCY DO YOU GUYS HAVE RIGHT NOW? “We are going to every race with one purpose and that is to win that particular race. We watched last weekend. I got a front row seat to watch Jeff Gordon pull it off and do what needed to be done and that’s a motivator right there, to know that we can do this, it can be done, we just have to go out and race these next five races like they’re the most important races in the world – each one of them. I think we made a step towards that last weekend with a fast race car and being a little more aggressive. That last restart, it was frustrating we weren’t able to get up there like the 24 guys did and Jeff did. Hopefully, we can just go out here and have some fun and win a race or two. It would be a huge comeback for us and it would mean a lot.
WILL TAKING 100 POUNDS OUT OF THE CAR MAKE A DIFFERENCE? “That’s good. I don’t know if I have this figured out or not, but my theory is – and I think a lot of guys agree – is that we have a very small box that NASCAR has put us in. We have heavy race cars that make a ton of downforce – almost a literal ton of downforce – and a relatively small tire, so Goodyear is put in a very small box where the tires have to make grip, but they can’t make so much grip and make so much heat that they come apart like they were at Michigan, so something has to give. You either have to make the tires wider and have a bigger contact patch, or the cars have to be lighter, or they have to have less downforce. I think NASCAR recognizes this. They’ve taken the side skirts away and taken a little weight away from the cars and hopefully that will let Goodyear make softer Goodyear tires that fall off more. I know that’s a lot of stuff there, but, basically, I’m all for less downforce, tires that fall off, and I really don’t care how heavy the cars are as long as we’re able to race them and the fast cars are able to move through the field. I think that’s a key and I think NASCAR is working really hard. I don’t know how much 100 pounds will make a difference. I don’t know that I really know there is 100 pounds missing out of the car.”
S THERE ANTICIPATION OR EAGERNESS WITH THIS NEW 2103 CAR? “I’m anticipating the new car. I know walking in the garage and looking at my Ford it looks neat, it looks like a neat race car and that’s part of why I got into racing. I like cars. I like going fast. I like the competition and I really like good-looking race cars. I think it looks a lot better. From a competitive side, it can only be good for us. I feel our team responds really well to changes. With the COT we had a lot of success when it first came on the scene, so I think anything different is good. I think Ford has worked really well with our team so that our car is as good as it can possibly be and I think it’s gonna be really neat. I think the fans are gonna like it a lot, too.”
ANY CONCERN ABOUT LOSING SOMETHING? “No, I’m not concerned about losing anything in the transition. I think the more change on a technical side, if they changed things every week, that would suit me very well. I really like change. I like going to a new track. I like having aerodynamic changes and tire changes – those things are a lot of fun because it’s like everyone is going to a new event and it’s who can figure it out the quickest and that’s something I’ve always enjoyed.”
HOW FRUSTRATING HAS THIS SEASON BEEN? “The season has been very frustrating, but the good thing is that we know how fast we can be. We know how good we are. Last season, we performed in that Chase almost flawlessly. We made the very most of everything we could get. We didn’t go out and win any races in the Chase, but we didn’t make any mistakes. I felt we made the absolute most of what we had. Knowing that and knowing that we can do that gives me a lot of hope. If we can just win a race and make this Chase, I feel like we can be as good as anyone. Coming here today it’s pretty cool to see those folks out there. There are folks with 99 shirts and necklaces and hats. They’re behind us and I think if we can come through for all of our fans and sponsors it would be a huge feeling of accomplishment.”
DOES IT ADD TO THE PRESSURE? “I think most of the pressure for me comes from within, so I don’t think anyone could add any pressure to me. I get a lot of pressure that I put on myself every day.”
(August 2, 2012 – Source: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images North America)