NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Kobalt Tools 500
Topics: Kobalt Tools 500
November 14, 2010
THE MODERATOR: Our winning team has joined us. We have race winner Carl Edwards, crew chief Bob Osborne, and team owner Jack Roush.
Carl, you broke a 70-race winning streak. You may not want to hear this, but it dates back to November 16th, 2008.
CARL EDWARDS: I remember.
THE MODERATOR: That's impressive. So a big day for you.
CARL EDWARDS: It's impressive the size of my losing streak (laughter). It's not diminutive by any means (smiling).
THE MODERATOR: Obviously a very exciting, successful day for you on the track.
CARL EDWARDS: It was a great day for us. The race started, I felt like we had the best car. Then here comes Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson. Really I think their cars were better in the middle part of the race. Bob made really good adjustments. The track came to us a little bit.
The thing that really saved us was our pit stall. That's something we talked about a little bit here on Friday. We understand that we have to qualify better. That first pit stall is what kept us up there with that track position.
My guys did a good job on pit road, pit stall was good, Bob made good adjustments. Then at the end to be able to make the fuel stretch, the fuel mileage work out, that was a little stressful, but it worked.
THE MODERATOR: Bob, your view of the race you called?
BOB OSBORNE: It's great that we were able to get back to Victory Lane for sure. We started out decent. A little bit on the free side. Struggled with that most of the race. Definitely the 11 car came up through the field quickly. 18 shortly followed him. We saw early on that the 11 and the 18 were going to be the competition for us anyway at that point.
Like Carl said, some adjustments, conversation back and forth on how the car was handling, what adjustments worked earlier in the race. Made some decent adjustments right there on the last pit stop. Then the Ford Fusion gets great fuel mileage. That went our way with the golden foot over here.
CARL EDWARDS: Golden foot (smiling).
THE MODERATOR: Jack, a happy day for your organization.
JACK ROUSH: It had been far too long since we've been in Victory Lane with Carl here. Everybody expects Carl to win as Carl expects to win. Bob and I had been working behind the scenes to try to figure out how to get that to happen.
The Ford support that we got for our simulations has really come into play. It's been good. The new FR 9 engine that Ford helped us with certainly was a factor today, at least early on before we started saving gas. Then it was the fact we were able to save the gas and have enough speed to maintain his position on the racetrack was good.
I'm thrilled to be here. The pit crew did a nice job. The adjustments were just spot on that Carl and Bob worked out together. Just proud to be here and share the moment.
THE MODERATOR: This is the first NASCAR Sprint Cup/Nationwide Series double since August at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Let's go to questions.
Q. Carl, you came in here on Friday hoping to just improve your position in the points. What does a win do for you looking ahead at next year?
CARL EDWARDS: A win is very important to us. It's a very big accomplishment for us. I think it's something that we needed for our confidence. We needed it as a payoff for all the hard work the guys have put in at the shop, the engine department. It would be nice to get another one at Homestead. But to go into the off-season knowing that we're getting better, looks like we have a legitimate shot to finish fourth in the points, to be in the All-Star Race next season, to have that energy going forward, all those things are good.
THE MODERATOR: Carl is now eligible for the 2011 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race.
Q. Jack, what does this do for your team? You had the fastest car last week at Texas. You've shown speed throughout the Chase that maybe you didn't have early in the year. Are you confident going forward you've caught up?
JACK ROUSH: The first thought that occurs to me is too late smart. We didn't realize we needed to build something that we thought we finished last year with sufficient momentum to be able to get into this year and do what we needed to do. Early on we figured out the things we tried to predict didn't work and some of the things we tried to simulate didn't work out as well as they needed to.
We were waiting for our FR 9 engine. We needed a little more work on the aero side of our car. Throughout the year, the engineers worked hard on the aero piece. We had a problem with vibration. We still had that bothering us last weekend with Greg Biffle's car. We had two weekends of testing on an independent racetrack to evaluate that. We think we have a handle on the vibrations. We wish the year would not end.
Certainly I feel like all the sponsors will enjoy the moment. AFLAC certainly will. Carl's sponsors and Roush Fenway sponsors will bask in the light of this, the glory of this moment. We're off to Homestead with the opportunity to win another Nationwide race and a Cup race.
That track has been very good for us. It's going to really end our year, unless we stub our toes at Fontana, on a great note. That will give us something to winter on even though we can't celebrate a championship.
Q. Carl, you should update yourself statistically. Your winless streak is now zero. Besides that, I was interested in what you were saying. When you come up through the short tracks, you never have to win a race on fuel mileage. You talked about how your stomach was upset, felt out of control of what was happening. Is it disorienting to ride around there? It's like you're trying to win a race when it must seem like very little of the control is in your hands.
CARL EDWARDS: Yes, I don't know the analogy, I can't think of a good one, but it feels like you're putting yourself out there. You've chosen this path and you're just hoping that everything works out, that the race goes the distance, that the amount of fuel I was saving, I was hoping that was the right amount.
I think Jack put it the best when he came over, reached in the window, and said, I forgot what that felt like until that feeling in my stomach came on with two laps to go, then I remembered. When I said that, my stomach was still hurting just from the nervousness.
There's so much to be gained by winning a race. It's such a gutsy call to stay out there and stretch your fuel. You just have to sit and wait. Those are some long laps, those last few laps.
Q. Carl and Bob, you pitted the same time that Denny and Kyle did. Ford told Denny that he was like 12 laps short. You had to race Denny pretty hard about 46 to go to get the lead from him. When did you start saving fuel? When did you know you were going to have to conserve? How much did you figure you would have to conserve?
CARL EDWARDS: I wasn't sure exactly what our status was. I don't think Bob wanted to say it over the radio. He just didn't want to tell me. But I didn't know what was going on. I thought we were 12 short. Then the caution came out. I thought we were maybe six short or something like that. When they dropped the green, I started racing pretty hard. I felt like I was a little faster than Denny. I thought maybe he was saving fuel, so I thought I better save some. Kyle was falling back farther behind me. I thought these guys are saving fuel. Then Bob started telling me lap times. Why is he telling me lap times? Maybe he wanted me to race. We had to establish the fact he wanted me to race. We drove by Denny. I don't know if he was saving fuel or not. I don't know if he already resigned to having to pit.
I only saved fuel for about half of that last run.
Q. Homestead has been a really good track for you guys. You have to feel like the end of a winless streak can be the beginning of a winning streak for you. Even though fourth is the best you can get, what your viewpoint of the three-way battle ahead of you?
CARL EDWARDS: I think the battle at the top of the points standing is really good for the sport. I think you're going to see some really happy people and some really, really not happy people at Homestead.
No personal favoritism in any way, I still feel that Jimmie Johnson is the guy to beat. I feel that he's been through this kind of pressure a number of times and been able to perform. I still think he's the guy to beat. With everything that can happen in a 400-mile race at Homestead, it's going to be an amazing race.
If we look at how Matt ran at Texas, with things going a little bit differently, Matt could have been victorious at Texas. I felt we were pretty fast for some of the day at Texas. Our mile-and-a-half program is almost as good as it's ever been and it's been getting better. I'm pretty excited to go to Homestead. Championship weekend has been huge for us in the past, it's been good.
Q. Carl, can you talk about your charge into the stands, what's going on when you're going through there.
CARL EDWARDS: People are wound up. Fortunately they all seemed to be fans of mine, a lot of people. But everybody's really excited. I had never really considered doing that until that gate was open at Texas, till the hole in the fence at Texas was right in front of me. Thought, well, see how this goes. The wrestler, John Cena, he was at a Gillette commercial shoot with us. He did that. There were some fans there. They just couldn't believe he did it. That's kind of what sparked the idea. Those are moments, the two times I've done that, I'll never forget those. It's really neat to go up there. I would highly recommend it to anybody. It feels real neat. Give it a shot. You write a big story, you know, just run up there. It's cool (smiling).
Q. Carl, when you're 0-70, what are some of the thoughts that go through your head?
CARL EDWARDS: A lot of them and none of them are good (smiling).
You know, I have a lot of confidence. Jack has a lot of confidence. Bob does, too. We all work very hard. So we expect out of ourselves, the people around us, to win. We've had a lot of success before, and with that comes a little more expectation - not just from the outside but from within.
I'm very proud of how our team has come together through, you know, this past year and a half or two years since we've won. I'm very proud to be a part of this team because we very easily could have fallen apart. Instead we just kept working. Here we are in Victory Lane, fourth in points, salvaging a season that did not begin well.
I'm just proud of everybody.
Q. Did you get the checkered flag back? Jack, do you think you'll join him at some point and go up in the stands, too?
CARL EDWARDS: I think I actually hit somebody with the checkered flag. I threw it, didn't fly like I wanted it to. Somebody got the checkered flag.
You going to go up there with me?
JACK ROUSH: I don't know. I'm not sure people like me as well as they do you. I've got a spotted past, so I'm not sure how it would work out for me.
CARL EDWARDS: We all have.
JACK ROUSH: I wouldn't recommend it for all the drivers to go up there and do that either (laughter).
CARL EDWARDS: It's fun, guys. It really was fun. That was pretty neat. I'll never forget that.
Q. Jack, I know you aren't in a position to win a championship this year. With three guys going down to the wire, a big buzz around this title hunt, does this raise the water level for every team? Will it be good for your sponsors, attracting new money into the sport?
JACK ROUSH: I think that the Chase, let's call it Brian France's Chase, has been really good for the sport. We've been in the final hunt. We haven't won a race since the Chase started. But we've been up there, fought for it on numerous occasions.
I think this year will be remembered as a very good year. It's disappointment we're not there, but we'll try to be there next year.
But, yeah, I think that the changes that they've made on the Chase are good, and I know they're looking at some other things that might even heighten the excitement more.
Q. Bob, last week by now you must have heard of the smack talk. Did you expect that more amongst the crew chiefs in the Chase this week?
BOB OSBORNE: It's hard to say. A lot of that is kind of a mind game. I personally know Mike. He's not an overly arrogant fellow. My guess is that they're going to banter back and forth and see who crumbles.
Q. Bob, what was your thinking about the gas mileage? 40 laps to go, you saw things were happening out there, what were you thinking?
BOB OSBORNE: It was a gamble at the end of the day. Rely on Jack quite a bit for calculating the fuel mileage, Kevin, for calculating the fuel mileage. Both of them said we were short by a various number of laps. That's when it comes into trying to keep Carl informed on how many laps short we are, his best judgment on whether he can save that many laps or not. It's either, Yeah, I think I can save that many laps, we take the gamble, or, Positively no way I can save that many laps, and we decide to come up with a strategy to pit.
Q. Carl, what did you do to save gas?
CARL EDWARDS: I have a strategy for saving fuel that I don't talk about. But I have a good strategy and it works for me (smiling). I don't even tell Bob what I do.
Q. Jack, you've been involved in a lot of championship battles. I remember the one year you brought a whole bunch of cars for Mark Martin. If you could give a suggestion to the three teams going to next week, what would it be? Would it be to try not to overthink it?
JACK ROUSH: I feel a little bit like Carl because I don't know if I should give them advice because we have to race against them next year.
Based on my experience with Mark, other things that have happened to us in our championship runs that have been unsuccessful, if you make a lunge for life, if you take a chance on something you think would be better, it very seldom works out. You should stay with the people that got you there, and continue to do the things procedure-wise and process-wise that you had most success with.
It's real easy. It's the same advice we give the pit crews before the race and sometimes during the race: just don't try to do something that's Herculean and unreal because it's going to be unreal and you're not going to be able to do it, have a bad stop.
Same thing applies to the management of the team, I think.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, congratulations.
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