NASCAR Busch Series: Orbitz 300
Topics: Orbitz 300
February 17, 2007
DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA
HERB BRANHAM: Joined by our runner-up, Dave Blaney, driver of the Fan1st.com Toyota. David, nice run. You were challenging for your second Busch Series victory out there. Maybe give us a little overview it.
DAVE BLANEY: It was a very good run. We got in a little crash there right off the bat. First couple laps, whatever that was, off of two. Didn't hurt it too bad, and they got it fixed up where it would go. You know, it kind of thinned the herd out there with that front straightaway wreck, so that made it a little easier.
My pit crew gave me a bunch of spots every time. The big thing was we just handled good. There was a couple long runs there, so the better-handling cars just kind of made their way to the front. My car handled good and the Toyota engine ran very good. We kind of just hung around and hung around up there, and right at the very end I found a little line that worked good for me, and I snuck into second.
HERB BRANHAM: We'll go right into questions.
Q. Not to create any brand rivalries right off the bat, but do you feel like Carl could have helped you more out there on the last lap or two?
DAVE BLANEY: No, it was all handling at that point, and everybody was lifting in the corners and that was what was separating the cars. I was actually hoping he could get to me and maybe could shove me up beside of Kevin and then something might have happened.
But Kevin was handling a little bit better than I was and I couldn't get to his bumper, and the same with Carl and those guys. You run that many laps on these hard tires here, you're slipping and sliding all over the place. It just turned out that way where it just got spread out.
Q. This is your best finish at Daytona. What kind of information did you get for tomorrow?
DAVE BLANEY: I don't think -- this is the first time I've run these Busch cars here with this spoiler package on them, and man, it was fun, but it's nothing like the Cup cars. I don't think anything will transfer. But I've been really happy with the CAT car all week, too. It was really fast on Thursday, and broke the transmission right off the bat, 12, 15 laps into it.
We've been happy with that car, too. We'll just try to keep it straight and keep it going all day tomorrow and see what we can do.
Q. When you went into the second spot, do you feel like that was your only chance at that point, that whatever surge you had there either got you to Kevin or that was going to be it?
DAVE BLANEY: I don't remember the circumstances, but I got to the bottom of the track and gained some ground, but that's right where he was running and he was a little bit better than I was there. Like I said, I wasn't going to do anything with him unless I got a little bit of a push.
HERB BRANHAM: We have our third place finisher Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 60 Scotts Ford. Carl, strong run today. Give us an idea what was going on out there for you.
CARL EDWARDS: Like Dave was just saying, it's just fun. The Goodyear tires were slick enough and we got enough green-flag racing that it really became a race where you were driving the corner and have to lift off the gas and slide around and you could run the top and you could slide job people. I mean, to me it was a blast.
Q. Dave, at what point after the wreck did you know the car was okay? And two, are you surprised by how it ran? Is this what you expected to do today?
DAVE BLANEY: Well, the car -- they told me there wasn't much damage. It just knocked the back bumper loose and knocked a couple holes in the door. So I didn't think that was a problem. I knew from the first practice on Wednesday or whatever that was, the car was just rocket fast. The engine ran really good, and it would stay handling good.
It was just a matter of sticking around. In green-flag runs, helped us, kind of played into handling good. So we just ended up there at the right time.
Q. At what point did you know Kevin was that strong and that you were probably driving for second?
DAVE BLANEY: Well, early in the race we were all racing in a crowd a lot, and he was on the bottom digging. And I was down there with him a lot, so I knew he was really good on the bottom. It was just a matter of he got to the front and had all clean air on his nose, and that made him even better. He just got his car really good after that last pit stop.
Q. Dave, how big of a boost is this to Toyota and your team as you maybe start a championship run this year?
DAVE BLANEY: Well, getting Toyota affiliated with the Braun team is huge. It elevated that team a tremendous amount. Jason qualified great, he's on the front row, and Andretti's car was fifth. All of them were running good. The other two got taken out.
But it's big. I mean, the cars are really good. The bodies are good, the engines are excellent. You know, I expect a lot from this team this year. They do a good job.
Q. This is for either one of you guys. Certainly windy conditions out there. I think the forecast tomorrow is wind gusts 20, 30 miles per hour. How might that affect things in the draft with all the cars together?
CARL EDWARDS: I think the wind was a pretty big factor at some points. You know what I mean? You could tell driving down the back straightaway into three that the wind was kind of blowing that-a-way. The car would take off a little bit.
I think as long as everybody is just a little extra cautious, it just adds a tiny -- like a small variable. It's not really huge. But I think the biggest thing is just the way the car is -- the way the grip goes away throughout the long run. I think that's a good thing if you can make it through the first part of that when everybody is still in pack.
Q. Carl, I thought it was really interesting to hear Mark say that he wasn't going to let anybody beat you, but he's driving for Chevy now. Talk a little bit about that teammate mentality, the teammate mentality with Mark that's going to be hard to separate the two of you and the friendship.
CARL EDWARDS: Mark is just an unbelievable guy. I've gone down both paths with Mark. I told this story. When I first came to Roush Racing, man, he helped me, he'd do anything for me, anything in the world. And then about halfway through my first season, I must have moved him out of the way or done something, but I kind of pissed him off, I guess, because we were at Bristol a couple weeks later and he just flat moved me, I mean, almost wrecked me.
I went over and asked him. And he said, Well, you've been kind of driving like that lately so I thought that's how we were going to do it. I was like, Well, let's go back to how we started.
I learned a lot from that and I really respect Mark a lot, and it's cool of him to have helped me, and he helped me right there at the end with Clint. I wish we could have teamed up and done something with Kevin. He's an unbelievable guy and I am glad he's driving a Ford today.
HERB BRANHAM: We're joined by our top-finishing rookie in the 59 Kingsford Ford, Marcos Ambrose. Give us an idea how it went for you today.
MARCOS AMBROSE: Thanks for getting us up here. It's not often you get to come up here when you finish 16th in a race, but for us it's as good as a win. My first time here, I just wanted a safe race, didn't want to ruin anyone else's race, trying to learn the ropes. And we just stuck to our guns, dropped to the back early on, and did it two or three times during the race. And really proud of the guys and got to thank Kingsford Charcoal for supporting a rookie in the Busch Series. They're a long-time supporter of Busch Series racing and it's great they give someone like me a chance.
I don't sound the same as you blokes. They've given an international a chance, too, which is nice.
CARL EDWARDS: I went to Brisbane, Australia, over Thanksgiving, and he's huge there.
MARCOS AMBROSE: Infamous, not famous (laughter).
Q. This is for Carl. Did you and Clint touch fenders there coming down the stretch? And if so, are you still friends?
CARL EDWARDS: (Laughing) Clint and I will be friends probably no matter what happens. He's a great guy. Yeah, we bumped a little bit. He got the run on me, and he did it kind of early, so I just kind of leaned on his door a little bit and tried to get a run back on him, beat him across the line. Mark helped me out.
Yeah, that's cool. It's neat to be able to race Clint like that. I really have a lot of respect for how he come up and he races, and he's just a good guy.
Q. Carl, I know this is probably a foregone conclusion, but is it fair to say -- it seemed like everybody in the race was really happy with the quality of racing. Is it fair to say that as a driver, it's a lot better to maybe not have the action so close, to have a little bit more margin of error so the cars are strung out and maybe there might be a little bit more driving in it and the cars handling a lot coming to the front?
CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, that's exactly right. I mean, I think these guys will agree. You saw there at the end of the race on at the end of these runs, any time you have to actually start lifting off the throttle in a race, handling of the car and the way you drive it starts to come into play, it's not just the draft and where you're at on the racetrack.
No, there's still skill involved and there's still an art to running in a pack like that. It's guys like Tony Stewart and Dale, Jr., and those guys who do it very well. But I think that there is a bigger margin of error when the cars spread out, when you have to lift off the gas, and I think that's a result of the tires getting out a little bit and being a little slippery.
I enjoy that style of racing. You know, I think you're in control of your destiny a little bit more.
Q. Marcos, is this the longest race you've run besides Bathurst, and what, if anything, did you learn about running with the Busch drivers and Busch Whackers?
MARCOS AMBROSE: It's definitely the most nerve-wracking, just these restrictor plate races is just incredible. I've never experienced anything like that. I was very daunted by the speedway itself and the competition. I loved to mix it with these guys in the front today but I'm no position to do that, I've got a lot of learning to do. I haven't been able to eat all day, and I've never been so nervous to be honest with you.
It's an incredible style of racing. The track was slick, the tires were hard. I was just hanging on from the first lap to the last.
Q. For Carl, you were racing a lot with Kyle Busch until he fell out. How good was he? Was he maybe as good or better than Kevin?
CARL EDWARDS: That's a good question. I thought he was really good. The thing that looked so great about his car is it just was -- it was turning all the way around the corner. Even off the corner, he had kind of the four-wheel drifts going. I was jealous of that for a while because mine wouldn't do it. He definitely had a great car. It was very fast, and he was doing a really good job.
Yeah, I don't know what happened to him, but he was right there in front of me. He just pulled over and something broke. That was too bad for him.
HERB BRANHAM: Guys, thank you very much. Good effort today.
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