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Thursday, January 10, 2013

TRANSCRIPT: Carl Edwards talks to media after Daytona test session

CARL EDWARDS, No. 99 Fastenal Ford Fusion

HAPPY NEW YEAR AND I BET YOU ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO 2013. “Happy New Year to all of you. It is good to see you all. I couldn’t be looking forward to it more. I think it will be an exciting year for me. I would like to put last year out of my memory and not think about it too much. Not in the last few years have I been this excited to go racing. I think it is probably because my off-season has been a little longer than most. I didn’t go to Vegas so I have been ready to go. It is nice to be here. Jimmy Fennig and the guys have got a couple of really nice cars built. We have a little bit of a new structure at Roush Fenway Racing. Bob Osborne is down here working on some special projects. It seems like we have everyone in positions now where we can use them to their maximum potential and hopefully we will have a good solid year. I know Jimmy wants to come right out of the box with a couple wins and get locked in the Chase and so do I. That is the first thing on our minds, to get a couple wins and get in the Chase. It is nice to have the Daytona 500 championship winning crew chief in our corner here. I am glad to be here.”

DO YOU LOOK AT THE PENSKE GUYS AS SOMEONE YOU CAN SHARE INFORMATION WITH OR JUST ANOTHER TEAM YOU HAVE TO BEAT TO WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP? “I hope we can share information. It would help us a lot. The way that Brad ran at the end of last year, that was spectacular and at the end of the day I hope we have something to give them so that they will reciprocate. The more teams you have working together the more information you have and more ideas you have and it makes things better. I am looking forward to it and hope we get to share a lot of information.”

HOW HAS THE ATMOSPHERE CHANGED AT ROUSH FENWAY RACING WITH SOME OF THE CHANGES YOU DETAILED AND MATT KENSETH NO LONGER BEING A PART OF THE ROSTER AND RICKY STENHOUSE JR COMING IN? “It is different. Matt leaving is obviously a huge loss for Roush Fenway Racing. He is a great teammate and a huge asset to any team. I think he will help the Gibbs organization a lot but the fact that we have Ricky Stenhouse there really makes it a pretty lateral move for us right now. I believe that Ricky, with the potential he has and excitement and talent level, it is possible that Ricky could raise all of our games. I know he makes me nervous. He is super fast and super competitive and I would say that the mood at Roush right now is that we are optimistically anxious. Everybody wants to see how it is going to go. We are all really excited and I am hoping we come out of the box and do well and I think the potential is there.”

WHAT HAVE YOU DONE PERSONALLY IN THE OFF-SEASON AS FAR AS REFLECTING ON WHAT YOU DID OR DIDN’T DO OR COULD HAVE DONE LAST SEASON? “Yes, thanks to a lot of you guys and a lot of the fans I have heard every possible reason for my lack of winning last year. I have looked at a lot of it and what I have done is just dedicated myself to being the very best driver I can be. Jimmy and I have spent a lot of time discussing that for me as a driver to meet the new team and talk to them it was really important for me to let them know that I am 100-percent committed to winning and don’t bring any preconceived notions. Any ideas they have I am open to hearing them. For me, this is going to be a year of hard work and dedication for one purpose – to win races and the championship. I am working on everything I can.”

SOME FANS THINK THAT NASCAR IS DORMANT RIGHT NOW. COULD YOU EXPLAIN HOW HARD THE TEAM IS WORKING ON THE NEW CAR AND ALL THE CHANGES?  “I think NASCAR is responding to the fans concerns and they are doing it the best way they can. They are putting a lot of effort into making sure the cars race well and the drivers and fans are happy and that the races are presented in an entertaining fashion. If you look at the last two years, for me it has been really exciting. 2011 was really exciting to be a part of that championship battle and I thought last year all the way to when Jimmie blew that tire at Phoenix that it was a heck of a race to watch. I hope we can continue to deliver that. I think the sport is doing pretty well and we are delivering a pretty good product on the track and we can always make more competitive racing and that is NASCAR’s number one goal. As soon as things seem to get boring something happens. That itty-bitty spoiler on that car might make some stuff happen at Daytona. I would stay tuned if I were a fan because I think it is going to be pretty exciting.”

ONLY ONE FORD IN THE TOP-10 OF THE SPEED CHART AFTER THE MORNING SESSION. DOES THAT CONCERN YOU?  “It is the beginning of the test and you don’t really know where people are at with their engines and tape. The truth will be shown when we go qualify for the 500. That is when you will know what everybody has got. Our speedway program has been pretty spectacular. I know when I go back into the garage I am going to talk with the crew chief that won half the speedway races last year, including the Daytona 500. Everyone is pretty proud of our speedway program. I think if you took a poll of the garage I think everyone knows that the Fords are pretty stout, at least they were last year. Hopefully we are in the same position.”

ARE YOU EMBRACING THIS NEW CAR? DO YOU LIKE A MORE STABLE CAR? “I am very curious to see how the test goes next week. That will be the first time I have driven this car on a mile-and-a-half. I don’t like downforce and sideforce and sticky tires. It is good for me in some place and bad in others but I like the cars to be hard to drive and sliding around. I think the more chaos and more difficult the car is to drive the more chances you get to take advantage of a guy and the more passing you see and it is better racing. That is what I like. NASCAR has been receptive when I talk to them about it but I think more guys must like it the other way. I am going to go out and do the best I can with it and I have been proven wrong a bunch so if they get this right with big spoilers and lots of downforce then I am all for it. I want to go out and pass people when my car is fast and force people into mistakes and that is what I like. We will see. Nobody really knows I guess.”

CAN YOU COMMENT ON WHAT EFFECT THE INSTABILITY OF YOUR CREW CHIEF SITUATION HAD LAST YEAR? “Respectfully I don’t want to talk about that again. This year I think we have a couple of really good things going for us. I think Jimmy Fennig being the experienced guy that he is, right now he will probably yell at me when I get over there because we are a minute late, I think that will help me. I think Bob Osborne being in a position now with his health good will be good. I think the experience Chad (Norris) had will show up on the Nationwide side. Last year we had a lot of adversity and did the best we could with it. We didn’t get the performance we wanted but when I take a step back and truly look at it I think we have a pretty good situation now. You never know. We could go out and win 10 races or have trouble. I feel like we have stacked the deck in our favor.”

HAS THERE BEEN ONE SINGLE PART OF THE NEW CAR DESIGN THAT HAS IMPRESSED YOU? “First of all it looks good. Jimmy and I were talking this morning and he is kind of a hot-rod guy. Sometimes we forget that we all got into racing because we like cars. The cars are supposed to be neat and fun to look at and get your blood pumping. I think these cars look good and that what NASCAR is doing and the fact that NASCAR has an open mind on what will make the racing better tells me we have people in charge that want to do what is best about the sport. It might take a year or two to get right. It might be perfect right now, but if it does take time then we at least know that Mike Helton and Brian France and all those folks are working to make those cars the best. I don’t hear much complaining. People say stuff on comment boards and stuff but I think the fans appreciate that. I know I do. NASCAR is doing the best they can to put on the best show. That is the positive thing, the fact that we have changed and they aren’t just sitting there. That says a lot about our sport.”

IT SEEMS LIKE WHEN WINNING IS EASY IT IS EASY BUT WHEN YOU START TRYING TOO HARD IT NEVER WORKS. HOW IS YOUR MINDSET ABOUT NOT TRYING TOO HARD TO GET BACK TO WHERE YOU WERE MENTALLY?  “That is a really good question and the psychology of competition is amazing. You can read all you want but the folks in here that have competed at something you know that when it happens it is different. I think it all comes down to confidence. I think you have to get up every morning and have the confidence that if you go out and do your very best that when the circumstances are right you will prevail and win and get what you want. When you start running around and worrying and trying to make up for things and selling yourself short, that is when things go bad. That has been my mission, to go do the best I can to surround myself with the best people and Jack has done a great job of that for this coming season. Hopefully it yields great results. Winning is easy when you are doing it but losing is really easy too. You have to stay on top of your game and keep your confidence.”


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