NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: TUMS QuikPak 500
Topics: TUMS QuikPak 500
October 19, 2008
KERRY THARP: We appreciate it very much, thank you and good luck in Atlanta.
We are also pleased to be joined by our third place finisher in today's race, Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Fusion. Carl is currently fourth in points, 198 out of the lead.
Carl, hard-fought race, your thoughts about how you performed out there today.
CARL EDWARDS: For us, this is almost a win. You know, we have never run this well here, so that was good for us.
You know, it's just Jimmie is just doing an unbelievable job. We had obviously some misfortune last week that you know, really, really made this race important. I felt like if we came here and ran good today it would keep our hopes alive, and if we didn't, it would put us in a hole. So it's a great day for us.
Q. As well as you ran and as pleased as you are with that, is this like the final nail in the coffin maybe for everybody with what Jimmie did?
CARL EDWARDS: No way. He could have any sort of trouble at the next two races and be right back there with us. So you know, with all of these guys that are kind of bunched together, look like all of us were within 40 or 50 points, second through fourth maybe.
So, it could happen to anyone. We saw what happened with Kyle and his team. Those guys seemed unbeatable and they just had the bad luck. You know, like what happened to us last week. We still don't know exactly what happened. Just some sort of gremlin in the electrical system.
No, this isn't over until the last lap at Homestead, that's for sure.
Q. Even though you said it's like a win for you, how does it feel when you're out there running maybe your career-best race so far at this place, and you still see that 48 up there just going away, going away, going away?
CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, I mean, it feels just like you think it would feel like. You think, damn, those guys are good. You know, they are just good at what they do.
We all know how important this place is and how special it is for them, and I mean, I have a lot of respect for Jimmie and Chad and the way those guys compete. They are I think some of the best competitors out there. I mean, if you looked up competitor, it would be those guys. They are real competitive and have a lot of respect for everyone. So that's cool.
Q. I just thought about the second part of my question, considering that this is sort of their track, did you guys kind of come in here expecting to lose some points to them and just try to keep that to a minimum?
CARL EDWARDS: After practice yesterday, we thought, man, if everything goes perfectly, we can win this race. Our car was fast enough.
Bob and I actually talked about it and I said, "It would be awesome to win this thing."
He said, "Listen, Bud, if you can just finish in the Top-10 and not lose too, too many points at Martinsville, that's a win for us." So being realistic, this was a very successful day for us.
Q. You and Biffle and Burton are all sort of right there in the chasing mode, so they kind of had weeks this week like you had last week. So how are they feeling right now from your experience from last week? How does it feel to come in and see that happen?
CARL EDWARDS: It's frustrating when you have something bad happen, and you lose a bunch of points. You start to think, man, you know, this is going to be a whole 'nother year. It's like if you have a bad game bowling and you think, okay, this game will be over in a couple of frames and you just start over. You know, that feeling, boy, it feels good to start over.
But there is no starting over. You have to dig until the end. It's interesting that way. It crescendos pretty big that way the whole year. We've got to essentially go out and win the next four races; that's what we've got to do.
Q. I was wondering, NASCAR is getting away from more and more short-track events. What do you think it's going to take for NASCAR to add a short-track field to these cookie cutter tracks?
CARL EDWARDS: You know, we have been having good races at all the racetracks. The short tracks are real fun. They are exciting. I think the fans enjoy them a lot. I liked watching them before I was racing here.
I think NASCAR is doing the best we can. We still have some very exciting finishes at the big tracks. There's a balance. The sport has to be able to get out there to people in Kansas or maybe the northwest some day or whatever and we might have to build new tracks for that.
But as long as we get to race at places like this and Darlington, the tracks that have been on the schedule for a long time, I think that's a good balance there.
Q. Where three of the next four at intermediate tracks, how do you see that panning out trying to catch Jimmie, or at least leveling it out a little bit?
CARL EDWARDS: You know, if we run the way I believe we can run at the next two, without having any bad luck, we should be pretty tough.
But Jimmie has been running real well at those places, too. If you look at what happened at Lowe's, I'm not sure where he finished, but I think it was ninth, seventh or ninth or something like that.
CARL EDWARDS: Sixth? Well, that's pretty good. That's not going to make a good point there. (Laughter). Ninth?
Well, let's see he finishes tenth and we win the next four, we could catch him, it would be pretty close, I don't know. I'm done worrying about it. I've got to worry about, we have got to get all the points we can, and Jimmie is going to do the same.
Q. Greg was talking about how he had never had as good of breaks here since he's ever competed here. Is that in part why you said you were as good this weekend?
CARL EDWARDS: I did have real good brakes. I don't know if we did something a little different. I know the guys have been working really hard on making sure that we don't waste any of the cooling energy. So that's good.
But it takes the whole package here. It started off with qualifying being rained out and giving us a spot up front. I think we could have qualified pretty well this time.
But starting out up front is a big deal. Pit strategy is big and obviously like deal was saying, the breaks, it's really easy to ruin the breaks here on all of those long runs, and definitely a key I think to running well here.
KERRY THARP: Carl, appreciate it is. Enjoyed watching you race today.
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