Edwards Wins Second Straight Cup Race
CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion – VICTORY LANE INTERVIEW – "That's one of those deals where I couldn't get by him and I couldn't get by him and I just had to ask myself, ‘Would he do that to me?' And he has before, so that's the way it goes. I'm just really proud of my guys. Office Depot, I've got to thank the fans, Ford Motor Company, Aflac. Man, that was exciting. They keep talking about rivalries, we might have one now." DID YOUR CAR GET BETTER ON THE LAST RUN? "I kind of just ran into him. That's what happened. It's too bad we tore up the car a little bit after the race, but I guess he wasn't happy about it and I can understand. But in the back of my mind all I could think about was Richmond in a Nationwide race when he was trying to get through the field and he pile drove me. That's just the way it is. It's just racing. I have a lot of respect for the guy and he was real fast, but we can't give up points when they're right there for us to take."
MATT KENSETH – No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion (Finished 9th) – "It was a good result. I mean, we ran really bad but we had good pit stops and made a lot of good adjustments. It was really a struggle, but at least we got a good result out of it." TALK ABOUT YOUR RUN. "It was all over the place. It was terrible to drive, but my guys did a good job on pit road and did a really good job when we needed it. Chip made a lot of good adjustments today, so I'm happy to bring the DeWalt Ford home in the top 10. It's not what we aim for every week. For some reason, we've been quite a bit off from these guys, but it was a good result."
DAVID RAGAN – No. 6 AAA Ford Fusion (Finished 10th) – "At the beginning of the night we started in the back and if I knew we were going to finish in the top 10, I would have been content but about halfway through I felt like our car was good enough to contend for a top-five finish. We were just battling lapped cars all night for track position and trying to get our AAA Ford handling just a little bit better, but, overall, that's what we needed to do. We needed to come out of here and we didn't pick up any points, but we didn't lose any, so we'll go to California and see what happens." KASEY FELL SOME SPOTS, BUT YOU'RE RIGHT THERE. "Yeah, we've known all year that if we do what we need to do we can make the chase. This weekend, for instance, we kind of stepped on our toes on Friday and we kind of rebounded tonight. We've just got to watch our mistakes and can't cost us too many spots early in the weekend. It makes for a long 500 laps on Saturday." A BIG RELIEF CONSIDERING WHAT HAPPENED YESTERDAY? "Oh yeah. It's a relief to get a top-10 finish and a finish on the lead lap here at Bristol after going to the back twice – after having some left-front fender damage and having to go back on a pit stop and make some adjustments. I wish we would have had a little bit of track position there toward the middle part. I felt like we had a good car to contend for a top-10 finish, but we just did the best we could and everything will take care of itself."
LARRY CARTER, Crew Chief – No. 26 Sharpie Ford Fusion (McMurray finished 12th) – "We got it to where the thing was rotating pretty good and cutting the center. We started out and he was a little bit loose off, but we made a couple of air-pressure adjustments and got it to where he had good forward bite. After we did that, we were still able to keep it turning really well. He just drove off the corner good and got in, but we struggled a little bit on pit road. Other than that, it was a good car and a good night."
CARL EDWARDS PRESS CONFERENCE
CARL EDWARDS – "It was awesome. Kyle had the fastest car on the long run all night. He did an unbelievable job. My only chance to get him was on the restarts. Bob did a really good job with the adjustments and the car was real fast on the last restart and I just got down there in the corner and got in the back of him a little bit and got by and we ended up holding on for the win. It was really big for us. That's huge. It's awesome to win at Bristol, that's for sure."
BOB OSBORNE, Crew Chief – "It was actually quite a struggle. I felt we had the fastest car for the first 15 laps of every run, but after that the 18 was definitely a lot better than us and it would be hit or miss on how close we were – whether the 12 at some point was a little bit better than us on a long run, so on and so forth. But the situation arises and the team took advantage of the situation it had in front of it and capitalized. It was a good night."
CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED – DID YOU ENDEAR YOURSELF TO THE CROWD WITH WHAT YOU DID TO KYLE AFTERWARDS? "No, no, no, no. That doesn't matter to me. The way this works is a real smart racer explained it to me this way after he wrecked me and I was real mad. He said, ‘I just had to look at your rear bumper and decide, would you do this to me? And you had before, so it was a real simple decision.' Earlier in the year we had a Nationwide race and Kyle was a lot faster than me and he went ahead and got to my back bumper and just smoked the back bumper of my car and sent me up the race track. Afterwards he said, ‘Sorry man, my car was just faster.' So, in my mind, I had to ask myself when I went down there in the corner, ‘Should I lift and brake early and do the best I can, or should I just kind of give him a little tap and see what happens.' So that's the way it went and that's the decision I made. I'd do it again."
HE SAID IF THAT'S THE WAY HE WANTS TO RACE, WE'LL RACE IN THE CHASE THAT WAY. "Here's the deal, that doesn't mean anything. He's raced me that way and that's the reason it went down like that."
WAS IT JUST HEAT OF THE MOMENT POST-RACE OR CAN FANS EXPECT A SPICIER CHASE NOW BECAUSE OF THIS? "I don't know. I feel like we're pretty even on my side. That's how I feel about it. I don't know. I'm sure it'll be exciting, it's NASCAR and we all want to win really bad, that's for sure."
JACK ROUSH, Car Owner – "People asked me after MIS, after the victory there, and of course Carl's won at Pocono and he won at Michigan and now he's won here, and what I thought about MIS and, of course, going and racing close to home is always a lot of fun and we've run really well there, but I'm in the company of some really, really fast people and I can tell you having fast race cars is one thing, but being in the company of fast racers is another whole thing. Carl had an opportunity and Bob had an opportunity to work on the car tonight. I think NASCAR achieved what they were looking for in terms of having very equal cars. This is our fourth time coming back here. The shocks are pretty well understood. Everybody's got bump stops that do about the right kind of job for here and the cars are even, and until it came time for Carl to reach out and take a chance on using his car up, or whoever, Denny Hamlin or whoever was in contention, it was gonna be a follow-the-leader kind of a deal because there's an advantage to being in front. I think when you're behind you just don't quite have the option you do when you're in front and so it came down to Carl having a little bit better car on the short run and it looked like before the last stop that Kyle had a little bit better car on the long run, or at least the medium run, maybe they were even on the long run, but it came down to Carl wanting it bad enough to go get it. It was there in front of him and he took it."
CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED – WAS KYLE JUST A BAD SPORT AFTER THE RACE? IS HE A POOR LOSER? "No, Kyle's not a poor loser, he was mad and I can completely empathize with his anger. I probably would have done the exact same thing, so that's the way I feel about that."
WHAT DID J.D. GIBBS SAY TO YOU IN THE GARAGE? "He just explained to me that you reap what you sow, which I believe, and I explained to him that that's why that happened that's way. That's it. I have a lot of respect for him and the organization. They do a really good job and I really look up to them, so that's that."
DID YOU FIND YOU HAD TO GIVE GUYS A NUDGE THAT YOU WERE THERE? "Kenny Wallace said it best, he said the way the track is people can terrorize you. They can just make it so hard on you because the outside groove is fast, so you try to get by people and if they move up, you just can't get by them. So, yeah, there were a couple of times in the race where I had to just give people a little nudge just to let them know I was there, but, for the most part, everybody did a really good job."
DO YOU FIND IT IRONIC THAT THE REASON PEOPLE ARE HERE IS EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED AT THE END OF THE RACE AND THEN PEOPLE ASK YOU AFTERWARD IF IT'S THE RIGHT THING TO DO? "Yeah. Listen, if I could have passed him without running into him, that's what I would have done. That's it. That's not the best way to do it, but, yeah, if I was a fan and I could only pick one race to go to, this one would be hard to overlook. It's pretty exciting."
CAN YOU WIN THESE NEXT TWO RACES BEFORE THE CHASE? "If Kyle's not behind me (laughing). We might end up with some wadded up race cars, but, yeah, we feel good about California for sure. But, man, these people are picking it up. Tonight, you saw the Gibbs organization definitely very strong. Hendrick was real strong tonight. I think the next two races will be wild because, really, there are more and more guys who don't have a lot to lose, so people will be able to race pretty hard. It's been a great season so far and I don't think the excitement level is gonna go down."
THE BUMP-AND-RUN HAS BEEN USED ALL THE TIME. CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE WINNING MOVE? "I got a good run. My car was really fast on a short run. We went down in the corner, he slowed down a little earlier than I thought he was going to, and I tried to kind of get down underneath him and he dove pretty straight for the corner and I just kind of bumped him just a little bit. Then he we went down the back straightaway and he did just what any racer would do, he bumped me the same way but I had already committed to the top, so it didn't hurt us as bad. That's the way it went."
HOW WAS THE RACING TONIGHT AT THIS TRACK? "I don't know. I don't know if I like this better than the old. I like them both – the way the track was before and the way the track is now. I think the fans see more true racing on this surface rather than give and take and nudging people out of the way for every position. So I think this is better and I think you're gonna see exciting races here for a long time to come. It is hard to pass, extremely hard to pass, but the track is small enough that there's always something going on."
ARE YOU EXPECTING A CHAT WITH NASCAR? "I don't know. I probably will."
KYLE SAID YOU RAN INTO HIM AT MILWAUKEE AND A FEW OTHER TIMES BEFORE. "I think he was alluding to me running into Clint Bowyer, which is true, I did. That was a little different deal."
IS THERE A HISTORY WITH KYLE? "Yeah, the history I remember was him running into me real hard at Richmond. That's the history I remember, so that's that."
YOU AND KYLE LED 499 LAPS. IS THAT HOW THE SEASON IS SHAPING UP? "I don't know. I guess it remains to be seen. It's like I said last week, if there's only one guy I have to race, that's awesome, but I have a feeling Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle and Jeff Gordon and Tony, all those people are real good at their jobs and I think they're probably all gonna be very tough."
IS THIS WHAT NASCAR NEEDS – A RIVARLY? "I don't know. If we're always racing around one another and we bump into each other occasionally, it'll probably be pretty fun for the fans. I don't know. I'm just glad to be fast enough that we're up there racing like that right now, so you never know."
JACK ROUSH CONTINUED – "It's gonna make a lot of real interesting commentary from the fans on the talk shows that Claire B. and a lot of folks will really be enjoying that, but the great rivalries have been celebrated – the first time NASCAR had a race that was recorded live, I don't remember the year, but I remember it was the Daytona 500 and Cale Yarborough and the Allison brothers got hair balled down the backstretch there when things went bad to their mutual dissatisfaction, but the rivalries have been something that have attracted interest and generated the positive and negative feelings of the fans and I think this has been a year when there really hasn't been any rivalries. Darrell Waltrip had his rivalries in his time and Rusty, of course, had his and this may be starting a new era, but we don't need to have rivalries to make the racing interesting. For the racers, we're happy to race clean and to celebrate a victory and to not have a lot of discussion about it. We'll try to put this all behind us by middle of next week before we go off to Fontana, but this will be talked about for a long time on the talk shows."
CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED – YOU WERE RELENTLESS. "I'm to the point, and I'm content with how I race and how I am and, for me, it's just go out there and do the best I can and accomplish the most I can. Rivalries are just fine. It's fun to watch. I know as a fan of other sports it's always neat when there's something going on, some story behind the scenes, but, for me, it doesn't change anything. We just have to go to California and win and you just kind of have to keep that in the back of your mind. All of the guys running up front – everybody that runs well at this level and Kyle is a guy that exemplifies it. He just drives the wheels off things and I think you have to be that way. Sometimes you have to do things like what happened tonight, but everybody does it and I'm sure it'll be done to me and this will be used against me, but that's the way it is."
AT WHAT POINT DOES THE PAYBACKING STOP AND EVEN OUT? ARE YOU CONCERNED THIS OPENED ANOTHER CAN OF WORMS? "We'll see what happens. Honestly, I'm not too worried about it. I feel like I was extremely justified to do what I did. I needed to do it and that's the way it went. Let's make it real clear, I'm not apologizing for it and that's it. I feel like the score is even and it just cost him more than it cost me at the time and that's the way it is."
YOU'RE STILL NOT A BELIEVER IN MOMENTUM? "No, I'm not."
DO YOU THINK ABOUT STATS LIKE THE LAST SIX GUYS WHO HAVE LED THE MOST LAPS IN THIS RACE HAVEN'T WON? "No. The sample size isn't large enough to come up with a reasonably accurate statistic. There's not enough. Maybe over 100 or 200 races or something you could get something, but this racing is so chaotic and there are so many things going on that you can't really predict based off of statistics. I've learned that in this thing. All the time you hear a new statistic like, ‘That guy won the race from the farthest back anyone's ever done it,' but I think that there are so many things that change in this sport that it's hard to say things are always gonna be a certain way."