NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: 3M Performance 400 presented by Bondo
Topics: 3M Performance 400 presented by Bondo
August 17, 2008
THE MODERATOR: We're going to start our post-race press conferences with the winning team, crew chief Bob Osborne, and Jack Roush, who now has 20 car owner wins at Michigan, 12 in NASCAR Sprint Cup, four each in NASCAR Nationwide and NASCAR Craftsman Truck, total of 20.
Jack, you want to start off, talk about this latest one of those 20?
JACK ROUSH: Well, I can't believe my good fortune. I've been in the presence of really fast company, starting with Mark Martin here in 1988. We didn't win in '88 but we were in contention from the very beginning. Of course he put his mark on our program and on our cars and on our strategy and our thinking.
Doug Yates and the guys did a really good job on our mileage. Didn't turn out to be a mileage race today. I think everybody was looking forward to a race when we would actually race for it rather than watch people drop off through fuel problems.
But you know, it was great to watch all the cars as the crew chiefs and the pit crews worked themselves through the day. I don't think anybody had a real bad pit stop. Certainly there wasn't a penalty for speeding or for losing a tire, and on a race like this to run so many green flag laps, that's something that's hard to recover from. I know the 48 had a problem where they had to make an extra pit stop, and that ruined their day.
But everybody did a super job, and as the crew chiefs and the drivers and the engineers commiserated on all the programs, made their adjustments toward the end of the day, they were able to salvage the situation so that everybody was in the top ten, and certainly except for Kyle Busch being up there, we had a chance to have two or three winners, or actually four winners, out of the top five.
THE MODERATOR: Bob, tell us about the race today.
BOB OSBORNE: I had a lot of fun, how about that? You know, it was a challenge all day, actually. We didn't qualify very well, and obviously starting 27th makes it a little tense early in the race. But Carl did a great job with the car coming through the field and then back and forth with the balance of the race car, trying to keep up with the racetrack and with the competitors on whether we took two tires or four tires, and actually got behind a little bit after a two-tire cycle, went back to four tires, and we were pretty loose there and the 18 was able to stretch a pretty big lead on us.
Having the ability to pit again and work on the car again was a relief, and Carl did a great job from there on out.
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by our driver, Carl Edwards. This is his fifth win of the season, has 40 bonus points to start the Chase with, close the gap on bonus point leader Kyle Busch who has 80. Great effort today. Tell us about it.
CARL EDWARDS: Bob just did a great job, everybody, the crew did an unbelievable job, and the greatest part is that we didn't give up more bonus points to Kyle. He's just so strong, and every time we -- every time I win and he finishes second, that's really a 20-point spread for us. So that's what we just have to keep doing is going out here and try to win the next three events and go into this Chase on even ground.
But the guys are doing great. Bob made great adjustments, and that's the key to the race.
Q. Carl, could you just talk about what's going through your head on that last caution with Kyle sitting there, and just talk about what was happening in your head there?
CARL EDWARDS: Well, I just -- where was it, Chicago, when we had our trouble and it came down to, I believe, Kyle and Jimmie. And Jimmie lost it on that restart because -- Kyle is good at restarts, and that's just the facts. So I just didn't want to have to go through that pain, so I just did everything I could to have the best restart I could, and it worked out great.
Q. Carl, Roush Racing does really well out here. I just wanted your thoughts on what a day like today means for you and the team.
CARL EDWARDS: Well, it means a lot to me. Four years ago today I ran my first Cup race for Jack Roush, and he took a giant gamble on me I felt like at the time to put me in that car. Jack won the race that day. I believe Greg won it, and we finished 10th. All five of the cars were in the top ten. And to be a part of that again today for Ford Motor Company, for Roush and for all the guys, it's an honor.
Q. A win at Pocono, we get to go to California in two weeks, great places, great Roush horsepower. I mean, just perfect places for you to get the momentum going in the Chase. Shrubby also said that you've been there all year and you're definitely the guy he's got to beat.
CARL EDWARDS: What do you want to know?
Q. Just a comment on that.
CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, we're getting to the point I feel personally that we can win at any racetrack we go to. Our pit crew has stepped up their game. That was our weakness for a long time, and the guys have just repeatedly, week after week, worked harder and become better.
Yeah, I feel very confident at all the racetracks we go to, but yeah, last year we won at Bristol, I feel great about California, you know, all the Chase tracks I feel like we can compete to win at. I feel good. It should be a lot of fun. I hope Kyle -- somebody said, oh, it's coming down to you and Kyle. I said, man, I hope it's just me and Kyle. It would be nice to just have to beat one other guy. I have a feeling that this Chase is going to be spectacularly competitive.
JACK ROUSH: Robbie Reiser is the spiritual leader of our pit crew, and I'm glad that I'm not standing between Robbie and a problem that's hurting pit stops for any of our guys. But Robbie has taken the personal challenge of making the pit crews work for all the teams as they did under his watch for the 17. And he made some adjustments last week, and we're recruiting from within and developing people and motivating and challenging people, not just by what happens on the racetrack but by competition they've got within the company at practice, as well. So it's a great thing to watch.
Q. For Carl and Bob, in addition to the points, does it do anything for your psyche or your mentality going into the Chase to beat Kyle Busch at this time of the season?
CARL EDWARDS: My psyche and mentality is pretty much fixed on I'm the greatest race car driver to ever live (laughter). You know what I'm saying? What it helps me -- I mean, if you don't think that -- that's what David Pearson told me, if you don't believe that, you don't belong in the racecar.
What it helps with is points. I'm sure Kyle feels the same way. It's just that we have to -- when we beat him, it's a 20-point spread. And it goes the other way. I've finished second to him a few times this year, and that's frustrating.
Q. Can Bob answer that?
BOB OSBORNE: Actually I don't think I'm the best crew chief out here (laughter). Yes, it is great for confidence level, ego, whatever you want to say, for your entire program. Carl mentioned it already; we've gone head-to-head against the 18 a few times earlier in the season and came up short finishing second. So it was good to finally go, again, head to head to the 18 and finish first for the first time in a while, I think.
The pit crew, like we've talked about, has had a lot of pressure on them to improve, and they stepped up today. They weren't perfect, but they didn't get beat off Pit Road, and in my eyes that's a great day.
Q. Carl, yesterday after winning the Nationwide race (indiscernible)?
CARL EDWARDS: Well, I learned some things about the racetrack, but the cars are so different, and the style of racing is so different because of the rules differences in the car that you can't really apply much from Saturday to Sunday. The only thing I think that I picked up from yesterday is different spots on the track and how the grip worked there.
Q. I loved the comment about you being the greatest race car driver because you really do have to think that way. But I have two questions. The first is were you born without the demons of insecurity, or have you chased them all away in your chase to be a champion?
CARL EDWARDS: Exactly what do you mean?
Q. Were you born this confident in yourself? Most people have these little things in the back of their mind that hurt them at times.
CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, everyone does. But deep down you really have to believe in yourself, and I think everyone that performs at a high level in any sport does. I mean, I was watching the Olympics last night, and it struck me, you know, you see individuals like -- that achieve so well and they achieve just great things, and then there's all the other folks who don't. Just having the guts to go out there and jump in the water and swim or go run 100 meters in front of the whole world and compete, you have the chance to lose, but you just have to do the very best you can. That's all you can do.
Q. And what about the Tuesday meeting that you guys have? What do you do special on Tuesday after winning in Detroit? I would think something special, Jack, and what's the meeting like?
JACK ROUSH: We have very few words over the things. We make the team that fared the best and on a good week like this that won, they get their chance last. By that time we're out of time. So we don't spend much time dwelling on things gone right. But we do take things apart, and for the missed opportunities and for the missteps, we agonize over it and we commit not to have those things reoccur.
CARL EDWARDS: Bob tries not to doze off (laughter).
JACK ROUSH: Well, Bob does do that, but occasionally Carl will come when he's got a beef, but on other occasions he'll stay away and keep his head low. I hope he can come back and celebrate with us. But it goes both ways.
Q. For both Carl and Bob, I'll be honest with you guys, after about 30 laps when he finally caught Kyle and then you guys just blew him away, that car was just running so well, then you had three cautions and still, even on the restart, that car just came out of the hole like crazy. Boy, I'll tell you, that has been one of the first times ever in all the races I've seen here especially that a car has come that quickly out of a hole and opened up a lead.
CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, it's good. Bob did a great job. The car has to be able to do it. We had times in the race where the car wouldn't do it, and it was very frustrating but Bob stayed on top of it. As a driver you can only do as much as a car will do, and Bob just gave me a great car.
JACK ROUSH: There's a lot of credit for a track like this that needs to go to Doug Yates and the engine guys. They did a great job with the engine. In truth of fact, our engine architecture was defined in '93 when Bill France said he was going to make the engines be constant and wasn't going to have all this development work and have these handmade parts.
The other manufacturers of engines have all been revised at least once, so we're looking at our first revision of the architecture of the engine that will happen in 2009. Right now we're still running stuff that's fundamentally the same as a production car, which nobody else is. For those guys to be able to prepare the engine and develop it and keep it competitive through all the things that have been developed by all the other manufacturers is really just an incredible feat.
Q. Jack, I guess four years ago you were sitting in Daytona, he had won the Truck race, you said, "This is my next superstar." When you put him in the 99 car four years ago here, it was not a popular decision. Looking back on that and looking where you are now, vying for the championship, how rewarding is it for you?
JACK ROUSH: Well, it's great. Let me say first of all that I feel a little lonely on the decisions I have to make on many subjects at many different times. But Carl has demonstrated to me, as David Ragan does and as Matt Kenseth did before him and Greg Biffle did, that he is going to be as good in this business -- excuse me, he is -- he's as good in this business as anybody I've ever known, and he's going to stay there for a long time.
You know, I was right on recognizing the potential, and of course very quickly after he won his first race at Charlotte, I told him, I'll stay in this business as long as you'll drive these cars, and I hope that I've got job security for a long time now on account of that.
Q. Jack, I couldn't help noticing that you were hugging a pretty young lady there in victory lane. Must have been one of your grandchildren. Did that kind of epitomize your pure joy at having four out of your five drivers finish in the top five here, and who was that pretty young lady?
A. That was Josie Rose McClenaghan, my oldest child's -- my daughter's daughter, and she's three and a half years old, and she's been to victory lane -- I think she's four for four. I don't think she's gone to a race when we haven't celebrated a victory.
Q. Is she busy next week?
JACK ROUSH: I think next week she's going drag racing with her mother. Her mother is a drag racer and she hasn't had quite the success we've had with the stock cars. But she knows what the smell of victory is and she really looks forward to coming to the races when she can.
Q. Could you also comment on David Ragan's run today?
JACK ROUSH: Well, I was anxious to see. I was hoping he'd close the gap and actually move into the 12th position. I understand he's tied for 13th and not far away.
The fate of David as it relates to the Chase will be based on whether he's involved in a wreck at a bad time or whether we break a part, which ends up being my fault, and whether the other people that are in the top four, the back four positions in the top 12, have better luck than he does in terms of the way that things develop for them on the racetrack.
But David is doing everything that he can. I know yesterday he had a wreck in the Nationwide race, let it get away. I said, "Okay, David, you can wreck once in a while, you've had your wreck for a while now. Let's focus on making sure we stay on the black stuff today." But he's matured more than I could have imagined this year for his age. He's 21 or 22 years old, and it's amazing. When Carl came onto the scene, I think you were already 26.
CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, something like that.
JACK ROUSH: And Mark Martin was 28 and Jeff Burton was 28 and Greg Biffle was 28. David Ragan is way ahead of everybody that's currently driving with us in terms of what he's doing at his age, because the other guys weren't involved with us at that time.
We're learning from David, and when we get it figured out, we'll be able to do for him what he needs to have done, the same as we've tried to do for everybody else.
Q. This is for Bob. How important do you think your pit selection was today on that final pit stop, especially since Gordon wasn't on the lead lap? It looked like you had a clean exit out while Kyle kind of was going through some traffic there.
BOB OSBORNE: You know, that's really what we shoot for. If we don't qualify in a position to have one of the openings that are on Pit Road already, you know, you try to pick and choose and basically gamble on how you think the competitors you're picking around are going to run. And you hope that at some point you get into a position where you don't have to pull out around them leaving Pit Road. We were lucky today.
THE MODERATOR: Bob, thanks a lot. Congratulations. We're going to take two more for either Carl or Jack.
Q. This is question is for Carl and Jack. After a day like today and with the success that Roush Racing has had here in the past, coming to Michigan, Carl, is it exciting -- how exciting is it for you coming here knowing the history? And then for Jack with Roush Racing, how exciting is it for you all to come here and race?
CARL EDWARDS: Well, it's great for me, just for the reasons we talked about. You know, it's the site of my first race in Cup, and we run so well here that it is, it's just fun to come. We usually get a chance to go visit the folks at Ford, go to Jack's museum up in Livonia. There's always fun stuff going on around the race, and it's enjoyable.
JACK ROUSH: It's great for me. This is an occasion where we have two suites, one inside the track and one outside, that we celebrate with our customers and our employees. We've got about 3,000 employees in the area that work on prototype cars for all the manufacturers, and we have a great time with that.
And of course this is my private playground. I told somebody this is my playground, and they misunderstood what I meant. As an avocation I'm an aviator, and I come out here, this is my aerobatics box; I come out here and I test, I do loops and I do rolls and I kick up my heels and have a great time. I'll beat the Aussies in the air when I come out here when one of my airplanes.
It's really home for me. It's a chance to play in front of the home crowd. It means a lot to Ford Motor Company, and it means a lot to me.
Q. Jack, Carl was talking about the Chase, not a two-man Chase but maybe like it's going to get pretty intense. What do you see ahead as you analyze it from this position after this race here this weekend?
JACK ROUSH: Well, I'm guardedly optimistic that we'll be able to put four cars in the Chase. That won't be the same as when we put five in. But Carl, based on the way the structure of the Chase is, will be in better shape than any other guys can be, based on the number of points he's got from the wins he's had. Carl certainly is a strong favorite within my group of prospects of being able to close the deal.
I don't think that we can win the next four times, so I don't think that we'll be able to quite establish parity with the bonus points that Kyle is going to have. But if we can get close and then we can be even on the racetrack consistently through the Chase, or more than he beats us, I think it could be just fine. I'm counting on that.
But I'm hoping that Matt Kenseth makes it in and that Greg Biffle holds his seat and that -- not wishing obviously the 99 any bad luck, but that they'll have their chance to do well in there, as well, even though they'll be at a deficit as far as bonus points.
THE MODERATOR: Guys, congratulations.
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