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Carl Edwards: 'Strange to come (to MIS) and not be driving for Jack Roush"

Posted On Thursday, 11 June 2015 20:00 Written by
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Here are highlights from Carl Edward's time with the media Friday at Michigan International Speedway:

Was there any testing done at Darlington that could indicate a rules package change?
“Everybody in this sport, the drivers, NASCAR, the owners – everyone wants it to be the best possible racing it can be. I know everybody is working towards that. I don’t know all the details of what’s going on, but I think we’re going to have better and better racing coming. I’m excited to find out exactly what it is.”

Does it seem odd to be racing at Michigan not driving for Jack Roush?
“It is a little strange to come here to this race and not be driving for Jack Roush because we put so much emphasis on this event for so many years. I really feel like I’ve made some friends up in this area and there’s always been a lot of pride driving for Jack here. I can tell you this, to win this race would be really special for me now just because I know from the other side how much everyone prepares – Jack and the other teams because for the domestic car manufacturers, this is their backyard. They bring their best stuff. For me to win in a Toyota would be really special here.”

How do the speeds at Michigan compare to other race tracks?
“All of us love going fast, that’s why we started racing – it’s fun. The racing, when you don’t slow down for the corners there’s really not a lot of opportunity to get an advantage on someone. It really doesn’t matter to any of us if we’re going 200 mph down the straightaway as long as we have to get in that corner and slide the car and brake and use our skill set to get through the corner. Those are the kind of things that NASCAR and everybody is working on – to find that balance and this place, it’s going to be tough. Fortunately, there are three, four, or maybe even five different lines you could take in the corners. Even if we don’t slow down a lot, we’ll have the opportunity to find clean air and make passes.”

What do you feel Roush Fenway Racing might be struggling with this season?
“I don’t know. I can say this though, all the folks over there that I spent so much time with – Jack (Roush), Robbie (Reiser) and Jimmy Fennig, Greg Biffle, Ricky (Stenhouse), Trevor (Bayne) – you take that whole group at Roush Fenway Racing, they don’t quit. They’re the toughest guys in the world. They will keep working and I don’t ever – I always expect them each week to come back and be faster and faster. They’re great competitors.”

Is there less pressure now that you have a win this season?
“There’s a lot less pressure. Once you have a win and you’re in the Chase you can really let it hang out and have fun. It just takes a little bit of the anxiety away and a little bit of the pressure and everybody is a little more loose. It’s enjoyable so I’m really grateful for that win.”

What is the most fun you’re having right now?
“For me the most fun thing right now is knowing I have some time for the Chase to start and working on being better. My teammates are so good and we go to these meetings and I feel like I’m in school – I’m learning from these guys and I’m so excited to apply that and to have the opportunity to race within a low stress environment right now. To get to know Darian (Grubb, crew chief) better and give him the feedback he needs. To get to build up to those final 10 races and for me, that’s fun. I used to show up and I guess I’m changing a little bit as a driver – my number one goal as a drive is to win that championship and now I know I have an opportunity to prepare for those final 10 races and that’s really exciting for me.”

What have you learned about Darian Grubb?
“Darian (Grubb, crew chief) is extremely competitive. He’s quiet, but that guy is fierce. He is a real tough competitor and I’ve learned that as quiet as he is, he doesn’t say anything unless he really believes it and he’s really brutally honest. He’s a guy that when he speaks, I listen to him. If he tells me he needs something, that’s what he needs. Plus he’s always got a big plan. He always has a bigger picture plan, which is good.”

What is a typical week like for you regarding your fitness regime?
“I don’t have really a typical workout week because I get bored doing the same thing over and over. For me, trying to eat right is key and Subway helps me with that. I really do eat Subway like three times a week so that’s good. I have a trainer, Dean Golich through Carmichael Training Systems out in Colorado, they’re great people. They just keep me going for the whole year and a lot of biking and weights and different stuff, core strength, but none of it can really prepare you for the race car and that environment. All this fitness stuff is good, but you really have to race and be used to the heat and things like that. It’s tough to prepare actually.”

Would it be an advantage to have Furniture Row Racing field Toyotas?
“From my perspective, it would be awesome to be partnering with them in any way. Mr. Visser (Furniture Row team owner) and all those folks seem like spectacular competitors. Obviously, they have a bunch of speed now and had a little bit of time to talk to them – Barney (Visser) and I both farm a little bit so we talk about that stuff. Then to have Martin (Truex Jr.), he’s a super driver and a super person. I’d be real excited about that. You’re literally the first person who has said anything about that to me.”

Would you be in favor of NASCAR making rule changes mid-season?
“Are you kidding me? I’d be in favor of anything that makes the cars able to race around each other and to put more of the speed into the drivers hands. I know NASCAR is all for the same thing. Everybody wants this thing to be the best possible show for the fans and I don’t think NASCAR is scared to make changes. I think it’s really cool that they’ve been talking with the drivers more, they’ve been more involved with it and without knowing really the details, I think we’re heading in the right direction. I have a sense that there will be some neat things coming.”

Would it be okay if the rule changes took place within the next month or two?
“Absolutely, I really feel that the way racing works, as long as the teams are able to implement the changes logistically and financially without a huge burden, change anything you want anytime you want. As long as it’s the same for everyone, who cares? As far as I’m concerned, you could make up rules or have changes five minutes before the race starts. That’s the whole deal is every race is under the same rules and it’s how you respond to those things – that’s the competition. The timing doesn’t matter to me.”

Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

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