NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Dickies 500
Topics: Dickies 500
November 2, 2008
FORT WORTH, TEXAS
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by the winner of the Dickies 500, Carl Edwards. Carl becomes the first NASCAR Sprint Cup driver to sweep both races at Texas Motor Speedway, winning the Samsung 500 and today's Dickies 500. It's his third win at Texas Motor Speedway.
Carl, talk about those last laps.
CARL EDWARDS: Never had Bob yell at me for going too fast, but he did tonight.
I just was so nervous that we were missing something. I thought there's no way we can go this slow, save this much fuel, and still be leading this race.
They did a really great job, though. That was cool. You know, of all the ways you can win a race, fuel mileage isn't the most exciting one. But we had I believe a dominant car all day. The car was very fast. We got behind on that last pit stop. It was very cool to still win the thing.
THE MODERATOR: We're also joined by winning crew chief Bob Osborne.
Bob, talk about that gamble at the end.
BOB OSBORNE: Well, I don't know really what to say other than the fact that when the caution came out, we had to make that pit stop, we knew we were going to be short. You know, we went to the drawing board, so to speak, and calculated all the line lengths, how much fuel can the car actually pick up, and we were pretty comfortable mid race, mid run there that we would be okay if Carl did his normal great job of saving fuel. He did and we were able to make it. So that was a good end to a bad situation.
THE MODERATOR: We're also joined by winning car owner, Jack Roush.
Jack, if you could talk about those last couple laps in the fuel mileage race.
JACK ROUSH: I had not been down with Bob and the guys as they calculated the fuel mileage the whole race, but I had seen the data. I knew that the 99 car, the Ford Fusion, was getting better fuel mileage than the other cars we had. I didn't understand why and I still don't understand why. I'll be anxious to do an analysis of the carburetor on the dynamometer when we get home.
That 99 car really stepped up and delivered better fuel mileage, whether it was something with Carl's line, he wasn't using the brakes as much as he did at Atlanta or not as much as the other guys did, I'm not sure what accounted for it, but it did take a step that I questioned the legitimacy of the data I was seeing. I went down and found Mike Messick, my number one tuner. He supervises all the engine tuners on all the teams. He confirmed with me that it looked like we were going to be a mile-and-a-half short. That was based on the incredible performance of the carburetor, which the 16 car was about seven laps short.
So, anyway, it looked like a lap and a half short. Bob and Carl worked it out between them. We've seen situations where if the driver is willing to not go as fast as he might, stop using the brakes, has track position to give up, you can save several laps in a tank of gas. They were able to do that.
I don't know how you would ever go from a situation like this and make an assumption that it could be the same result the next time you try. It's different for big tracks and short tracks, flat tracks and bank tracks. The fact is, we don't have enough experience with it to really have iron clad formulas for how much you can save.
But it was a lap and a half short and Carl was the man, he did it. Bob had the faith in it and they pulled it off.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up for questions.
Q. Bob, would this have been the gamble that you would have made or been willing to make had it not been this exact situation with the Chase, the points, all that?
BOB OSBORNE: If the points were closer or we were in the lead, no, we would not have made that type of decision to gamble. We're in a position where we want to make as many points up as we can.
Losing the points that we would have lost finishing I think 15th is the last lead lap car, I think, I'm not sure. But I'm not really concerned about that. Yeah, we want to finish second in the points, too. Obviously we want to finish first, and that's what we're shooting for right now. It was just a risk that I thought was worth taking.
Q. Carl, you've been saying all week the Chase wasn't over, which is what we would expect you to say. Now 106 back, do you feel vindicated? How confident are you going the last two?
CARL EDWARDS: I would if I really cared what everybody else thought. I'm learning to not really care because it really doesn't matter.
That's a good question. I feel good about it. I feel satisfied, you know, that we did take a chunk out of that lead. Jack and I had talked about it. I think it averaged out to where if we won them all, he finished ninth these last three race, we could beat him.
JACK ROUSH: That's correct. He had to finish ninth or better to beat us. I haven't done the math on this. It should have moved him down in the top five. You have to do somewhere close to the top five for the next two races, which he certainly is capable of. Based on the way he raced out most of the year, it's what you expect.
Sometimes momentum is a wonderful thing. I've heard Carl say he doesn't believe in momentum. But I've seen it. It's pretty real for me. Right now the 99 and Carl and the Ford Fusion and Bob have this momentum. If it causes a mis-step, if they wind up second-guessing themselves on a change, or if they wind up pushing on their strategy some, it could make a difference.
CARL EDWARDS: But, yeah, I do feel like what happened tonight, I didn't expect to be able to close that many points on Jimmie without him having some sort of catastrophic problem. I think that's a good shot in the arm for all of our guys, all the guys that have been working so hard at the shop and here at the racetrack, that we can go out and perform well enough to win this thing. That's cool.
Q. Carl, how would you rate today's gamble compared to the gamble you took a few weeks ago on the last lap against Jimmie? Which one was more fun?
CARL EDWARDS: Kansas was may more fun (laughter). That was pretty neat. That was leaving your foot on the throttle. This one was taking it off.
But, man, you know, a win is a win. It's cool to be surrounded by guys that are this intelligent and this driven to win. To have Bob up there on the box and Jack and Mike Messick and all these guys coming up with a plan to win, I mean, that's cool for that to be happening. Real-time, heat of the moment, making decisions like that, I feel like I've got a good group of guys.
So, yeah, it's not as exciting maybe as other ways to win, but it's still neat. It's part of the sport. It's cool.
Q. Carl, any stress now as you get closer to getting closer to potentially being able to do this with the Nationwide Series championship and Cup Series championship facing you together?
CARL EDWARDS: What was the question exactly?
Q. The two championships, having to work on both of them, now that this looks more realistic.
CARL EDWARDS: Really it's just fun at this point. We've got nothing to lose. We can just go out and be aggressive and take chances. I can race as hard as I want. I mean, it's cool.
You know, yesterday we picked up a bunch of points on Clint. Not a bunch, but a few. Today we picked up a lot of points on Jimmie. It's neat. You know, it's fun.
I've been part of championship efforts, even back racing in dirt cars and stuff. It's wild. I watched the Formula One race today. That was a spectacular, spectacular drama there. I just hope that we can get this thing close enough to make it that much fun at Homestead in both series. That would be cool.
Q. Bob, obviously you look pretty smart right now, like a genius. If it didn't work out, probably a lot of people across America would have been saying, What an idiot, why did he do that? Were you prepared up there to take that on yourself if it didn't work out and say it was on you? Carl, would you have been mad or upset at Bob if it didn't work out?
BOB OSBORNE: Well, when I'm at work and I'm getting scolded by Jack, my usual answer to him is, I've got big shoulders; I can handle it.
You know, the decision was not blind. We had a lot of data to back the decision. So it's not like a whim that the decision was made. Don't read too much into it. There was a lot of data put into it and a lot of conversation and a lot of analysis to make that decision.
But at the end of the day, had it not worked out for us, I've made poor decisions in the past, and I bet I'll make poor decisions in the future. I'll live with them, learn from them, and move on.
CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, I think the way our relationship is, mine and Jack's, mine and Bob's, all of our crew guys, especially at this point in the season, we're all in this together. You know, if I do something and make a mistake that costs us something, you know, like at Talladega or whatever, my guys don't get down on me.
Having guys like Jack and Bob, the guys around that I know are harder on themselves than I could ever be, that's very cool. So I wouldn't be mad at Bob if we had run out of fuel. I know he wants to win just as bad or more badly than I do.
Q. Carl, it looked like from about the halfway point on through the wreck on the backstretch with Montoya, you were throwing haymakers at Jimmie's points lead, lapping cars with great regularity. Third on the lead lap, you put him to eighth on the lead lap. Were you consciously doing that knowing how far back you were putting him? Also does it bother that you that wreck there, there's a guy like Gilland, who got parked for that, who is not a Chaser interrupting the whole flow of the thing, do you think it broke up the rhythm of your day?
CARL EDWARDS: The way the world seems to work is that everything happens for a reason. I can't imagine being upset at David Gilliland for what he did, because we're sitting here with a big ring and a cowboy hat. If he hadn't wrecked whoever he wrecked, it might have been different.
It is a good question because from the outside I think a lot of times people see it as simple as, Hey, some guy made a mistake, and he's not even racing for the championship. Let me tell you something, David Gilliland is a great racecar driver. He's racing just as hard or harder than a lot of guys out here because he's racing for a sponsorship, for a ride. You know, I think you got to be careful. I believe in this sport you need to be careful pointing fingers and saying negative things about guys because we all make mistakes, every single one of us.
Definitely personally I'm not mad at David Gilliland. I think he's a good guy.
Q. Jack, I'm not sure exactly what the formula you were going to use when you mentioned about having a Mulligan race, but can we now consider this to be Jimmie Johnson's Mulligan race? I see you smiling.
JACK ROUSH: He certainly gave back some points to help us with our electrical problem we had at Charlotte. We had two problems.
CARL EDWARDS: We'd love to throw away a deeper finish.
JACK ROUSH: We'd love to throw away a deeper finish. We gave up more points than that twice, or obviously we wouldn't be a hundred points behind.
I find no glee in somebody else having trouble. Certainly I don't wish Jimmie Johnson or the 48 any ill will at all. We'll just go out, and if they decide to come down pit road when they shouldn't, a caution will come out when it hurts them the most, it won't certainly be because I put anybody up to anything. I'll just be happy to realize the benefit of it.
But the same as they've realized the benefit the our electrical problem that occurred. You know, those things you can't choreograph. You take what hand you're played and you do the best you can with it.
We were extraordinarily lucky, not Carl because he wasn't there, but with Matt in 2003, with Kurt Busch in 2004. If the luck hadn't been with us on both those occasions, we wouldn't have won either one of those championships.
I don't deny Jimmie Johnson a championship for having good fortune, of not being caught up in David Gilliland's wreck or Carl's wreck at Talladega or not having a bad part in his car. Just wait and see what happens. When it goes against you, you've got to suck it up and resolve to keep the faith, keep going. When it works in your favor, you say God bless Texas.
Q. Carl, you said last night after the Nationwide race you felt in your gut it wasn't over, that had you a feeling you could pull this off. You've got to have tremendous confidence now going into Phoenix and Homestead.
CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, I mean, those are two really great racetracks for us. I love 'em both. Phoenix is I think one of the most fun racetracks we go to. A driver can really make a difference there. It sometimes comes down to calls by crew chiefs and stuff like that. So I really feel like that racetrack will be good.
Homestead is a lot of fun. Ford weekend is always good for us. Jack has had a ton of success there. So, yeah, I still feel the same way. I think we're in a good spot right now. I don't know who said it or who started, but sometimes it's easier to be playing catch-up, you have a little fun with it.
Q. Carl, yesterday in the Nationwide race you took four tires late. It seemed to work for you. Did that influence the decision to take four with about 70 to go in this race? Jimmie said he expected you to be able to shoot through traffic and get back up to the front pretty quickly. What was it that prevented you from doing that?
CARL EDWARDS: You know, I don't know exactly what Bob was balancing there, two tires or four tires. If our stop would have been a second or second and a half faster, I believe we would have come out in fourth position instead of sixth or seventh or wherever we ended up. When the lap cars are on the inside, every position you give up is really two positions, because the lap cars were fast tonight on the inside.
So I think what hurt us there was these cars are a little tougher to drive than the Nationwide cars. The field is a little more stratified. In the Nationwide Series, the cars, there's more of a difference between them. This series, it's very close. It's hard when you're back there in real dirty air following 10 cars to make something happen.
I was a little bit surprised at how tough it was. But that's what you have to expect in this series.
Q. Carl, could you talk about how it goes against every grain in your body to not want to mash the throttle down and how nerve-wracking that is trying to save fuel. Jack, could you talk about Jamie McMurray's run tonight.
CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, it's strange because, I mean, when I put the fire suit on and get in the racecar, we're racing, I mean, you go as hard as you possibly can. I mean, everything in me is trying to figure out how to go faster all the time. It sounds kind of silly to say or whatever, but it really is difficult to figure out how to slow down sometimes.
Bob was yelling my lap times out on the radio. It's like I needed him to just explicitly say, Carl, you are going too fast, you need to slow down. He would say, That's a 32.40. You got a 12-second lead. I'm thinking, Okay, are you sure you want me to go slower? Are you sure? I needed like someone to write it on a card and stick it in front of me, 'cause it is -- it shouldn't be that hard. I'm sure looking from the outside, they're up there screaming, Why is he still going so fast? But it is kind of difficult at the end of a race like that especially, you know, because I just want to know. I need a little extra. I need to be sure. So it is hard.
I just was worried that they were like missing a car. Second place can't be 12 seconds back. There must be some other car that's maybe not showing up on the scoreboard. You start thinking all these things. It's tough.
JACK ROUSH: You got anything to say about that, Bob?
BOB OSBORNE: Carl's always been hard to slow down.
JACK ROUSH: On Jamie McMurray, he's a good racecar driver. He's had not the results we hoped this year. Certainly isn't in points where we hoped he would be. But he's been running really well in the last handful of races. He's definitely got some energy and some momentum going.
You know, what I felt was going to happen when I realized -- I thought Jamie was going to win the race with 20 laps to go, and Carl was going to benefit in gaining some points, but I didn't think we'd be sitting here with Carl, I thought we'd be sitting with Jamie tonight.
But Jamie, he'll get a win soon. We've got a plan to make his team we think stronger for next year. So we're real excited about going forward with Crown Royal and making that work to everybody's satisfaction.
But he certainly missed a chance to win a race tonight. But everybody knows he was there, that's the main thing.
Q. Carl, in the very short history of this race, the driver who's won the week before at Atlanta has followed up to win here. You've done it twice. Any speculation on why that is? With the schedule getting shuffled up next year, do you think this phenomenon will continue?
CARL EDWARDS: You know, I don't know. I don't know exactly other than the tracks are similar. They sure don't drive the same because of the tires. But they are similar. It's probably mostly chance. When they're back to back like that, there's not much time for things to develop, things to change in the setups. It's not like they're three months apart. What works last week will generally work the in next week, but not much longer than that.
It's probably the combination of that and luck. I mean, if things would have gone any other way tonight, we wouldn't have won and that streak wouldn't have worked out, but it has.
JACK ROUSH: Carl and Bob had a really good performance here, as they did at Atlanta. You look at that, before last year you'd say you turned your car around because had you that magic car. The fact is this was two different cars that had pretty much the same performance result in terms of the way they handle in practice and the rest of it. That's a credit to NASCAR for keeping the rules tight, not letting the crew chiefs go off and do silly things to cars that would make some of them faster than others.
CARL EDWARDS: You should be in the meetings on Tuesday (laughter).
BOB OSBORNE: I play with cars plenty. I like to make them as fast as I can make them.
No, the cars have come a long way and we have great body hangars, great finish fab, great engine department, great chassis department, that are building us a lot of racecars that can go really fast. So we're lucky right now.
Q. Jack, your drivers have won seven of the 16 races here at Texas. Tonight all five guys were in the top 12. What do you feel like accounts for your special success here?
JACK ROUSH: Well, you know, I spent 17 years with Mark Martin. To my way of thinking, he was an early king in my time at least for mile-and-a-half racetracks. He liked to get in a racetrack with a lot of grip and stand on the gas. If it was slippery and worn out, as racetracks get, if you had to drive it loose on the edge of destruction, he would do that. He set up a standard for the way the bodies are hung. He set up a standard for the performance we expect, from all of us, that we really -- that I think we benefit from.
If we hadn't had somebody as good as Mark, and the thing that Mark would have done a decade ago, if somebody was a little bit messed up on their setup or the car wasn't working right, he'd bring his handful of rags down. One of the worst things a driver could see was Mark Martin coming down pit road with a handful of rags.
Mark really did a lot to help me create an expectation that I've passed on to Bob and everybody else what we need to be doing on these racetracks. We expect to go to mile-and-a-half racetracks that are fast, scary and run like hell. The guys keep that alive.
Q. I was wondering if you had any thoughts, people spent this week trying to give the championship to Jimmie Johnson, it was over, complaining the Chase was boring. In so many ways with the points, you've had these high highs and low lows, you've been the one making it interesting. Do you have any thoughts, have you learned anything about yourself or about racing in this series, this championship?
CARL EDWARDS: I didn't read much this week. I spent most of my week in the woods in Missouri hunting. I think that's been good for me.
What I've learned, and I'm still learning, is how to compete the best I can. The bottom line, you know, at the end of all of it is generally keep your head up and keep going as hard as you can and you'll get whatever you deserve.
For me, I just enjoy the competition. Like Jack just brought up a minute ago, it's neat to race under a rules package where everyone is so close. Every dirt racer around the country wishes that he could run at tracks like this with cars that are this close and guys that are this good at racing. I try to get a little bit of enjoyment out of it. I really do like it.
I hope we keep making it exciting. I hope the next two races are real exciting. I hope it's still good for us.
I don't know exactly know what your question was, but... Really doesn't matter because I won't read the article because I'll be in the woods, up in my tree stand, thinking about anything but Jimmie Johnson (laughter).
I call it hunting, but it's mostly just watching because I'm terrible.
BOB OSBORNE: Sleeping is more like it.
CARL EDWARDS: I try not to fall asleep in the tree stand (laughter).
Q. Those are your plans between now and next week?
CARL EDWARDS: There's a couple things I really want to do. I want to fly that airplane I flew last week - that was really fun - go hunting a little bit, spend some time with my fiancée. That's Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday we go to Las Vegas for Discount Tire and do an appearance. We'll be in Phoenix on Wednesday night. That's my plan, unless Jack calls me up and tells me I'm supposed to be in the meeting.
JACK ROUSH: I'm missing the meeting this week, too.
Q. Do you still have that kid's courage necklace?
CARL EDWARDS: Yeah. I'm wearing Dalton's necklace right now. Dalton here gave me this necklace to wear last week. It worked so well, and he enjoyed it, so he said I could wear it these last three races. It's very cool.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.
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