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Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle Prepare for Phoenix

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CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion – ARE YOU THE DRIVER TO BEAT THIS YEAR, OR IS IT TOO EARLY TO TELL? “It’s awfully early in the season. Our Ford Fusions are so good right now that it’s really a joy to drive them, but if there’s one thing that’s certain this season, it’s there’s going to be change. Things are going to happen throughout the season. People are going to change things, and hopefully we can stay on top of that change and be just as fast at the end as we are now.”

 

OTHER DRIVERS ARE TALKING ABOUT YOU AND THAT THE 99 IS THE BEST CAR OUT THERE RIGHT NOW. “I feel like I’ve got the best car out there right now, and I’ve just got to drive it the best I can. The way it’s going so far, if I do my job right and communicate to the guys, we’ve got a really fast race car.”

 

HOW SHOCKED WERE YOU WHEN YOU HEARD ABOUT THE AARON FIKE STORY? “I was pretty shocked. I’m really grateful that Aaron said what he said and laid that out on the table. I think it’s an eye-opener for me, for sure, and I think it is for everybody. And for that, I’m grateful that he was honest with everyone.”

 

SHOULD THE SYSTEM BE STRENGTHENED? “I think that the fact that that happened, the system has to be strengthened a little bit, obviously. And I’m sure we will. That’s quite a big statement, a pretty amazing thing that he said happened, and I think NASCAR recognizes that. That’s all there is really to that.”

 

IN YOUR CAREER, AT ANY LEVEL, DID YOU EVER THINK SOMEBODY YOU WERE RACING WITH MIGHT HAVE A PROBLEM? “I never thought about that, particularly, when I’m racing with people. We’ve all been out of control just because we couldn’t do our jobs on a given day because of everything that is going on. Honestly, I never thought about that. I just haven’t.”

 

SOME QUALITY DRIVERS ARE STRUGGLING WITH THIS CAR. DOES THAT MAKE YOU THINK THAT ALTHOUGH THINGS ARE GOING WELL FOR YOU KNOW, THAT COULD CHANGE? “Listen, I’m well aware that it takes everything being perfect in these cars to go fast, and we’ve got to stay on top of that because some of the guys that are struggling, it’s not because of the way they’re driving the cars, it’s because it’s something they haven’t got figured out, and that could happen to us just as well. There have been a bunch of times where we’ve been lost. At the beginning of the year, it seemed like every time we were lost, so I’m aware of that and we’ve got to stay on top of it. It’s a knife edge. You’ve got to have everything perfect.”

 

SOME HAVE TALKED ABOUT CHANGING THE SPLITTER HEIGHT. WOULD LIKE TO SEE ANY CHANGES TO THE CAR? “I don’t want to change anything right now. Our car is good to go. I don’t what that would do. I wouldn’t change anything right now.”

 

YOUR CAR IS TERRIFIC ON INTERMEDIATE TRACKS. DO FEEL LIKE IT’S GOOD ON SHORT TRACKS, TOO? “I feel like our car can be really good on short tracks, too. We ran really well at Martinsville. That was the best run I’ve ever had at Martinsville. I passed more cars there in that race than I think I have in all my whole career races there. So, I feel like our car is going to be good everywhere.”

 

THIS TRACK HAS BEEN GOOD TO YOU. “Yeah, this track’s been great. We’ve sat on the pole, led a bunch the last time we were here. The car is pretty fast today. So, we’ll know more as the weekend goes on, but this is one I look forward to every time.”

 

AFTER YOUR WIN AT TEXAS, YOU SAID THAT YOU LIKE RACING WHEN YOU FEEL LIKE THE DRIVER CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. DOES THIS TRACK BEING AS FLAT AS IT IS LEND ITSELF TO THAT WAY OF THINKING? “The driver is going to be a huge factor at this place. You know, the smaller the track is, generally the driver makes a bigger difference. This track is a real driver’s race track. You’ve got to be doing different things all the way around the race track to make the car work.”

 

WITH THE DIFFERENCES AT THE TWO ENDS, DO YOU SET UP THE CAR FOR ONE END, OR TRY TO SPLIT THE DIFFERENCE? “You’ve just got to set it up for whatever is the best lap at the time. The finish line’s after turns three and four, so, apparently that one’s a little more important, because if it comes down to it, that’s the one you want to be good in.”

 

LAST WEEK AT TEXAS, A LOT OF DRIVERS WERE FRUSTRATED ABOUT NOT BEING ABLE TO DRIVE IN TRAFFIC. DO YOU BELIEVE THE DRIVERS SHOULD NOT COMPALIN ABOUT IT AND JUST DRIVE, OR DO YOU BELIEVE NASCAR CAN MAKE SOME CHANGES? “I promise you there’s no changes you’re going to make to this car that will make it better in traffic. I can promise you that. There’s just no way. The car’s big. A bigger car makes a bigger hole in the air which means worse for the cars behind you. It’s just that simple. You’re not going to fix that. It’s a historical problem that is going to go on forever. No matter what size the car is, or how fast you’re going, the guy in front is still going to have an advantage. This car is really, really hard to pass in traffic. It’s really hard. I can see it 15 car lengths before I’d catch a guy – actually, you couldn’t catch him; you’d get within 15 car lengths of him and then it was all over. The car would quit going forward. That’s just part of it.”

 

IF YOU COULD MAKE SOMETHING HAPPEN TO IMPROVE IT, WHAT WOULD THAT BE? “I don’t think you’re going to fix this car. One, is how the windshield is stood up. And the size of it. It’s what NASCAR wanted. This is what NASCAR wanted. NASCAR built this car, and it’s our job to race it, race it the best we can, get it to handle the best we can and do what we can with it. That’s out job, so that’s what we’re going to focus on and we’re going to work on, and we’ll just let nature take its course.”

 

DO YOU NEED TO TEST MORE? “Testing it not going to make it not aero tight. There’s nothing in this workd that you can put on there that it won’t be aero tight. It’s a car, you put a car behind it, one’s going to be in dirty air and one’s not. The old car did it, not as bad. The new car does it real bad. But, it’s the size the car, and the configuration, with the windshield and all the components. And you’re not ever going to fix it. Everybody else has tried, it just matter. Whatever you do to the car, the car is still so big, and you shove it through the air and it makes a hole behind it. It’s the way it is.”

 

SO YOUR JOB IS TO MAKE IT BETTER… “Search around on the race track, change your corner entry, do what you can to get in front of ’em. Get in front of ’em on pit road. Get in front of ’em however you can.”

 

DID YOU PAY MUCH ATTENTION TO THE AARON FIKE REVELATIONS? “No. I really didn’t. Amber [Moody, team PR rep] just filled me in that some more things had surfaced about it. But I don’t know the whole story. I was surprised to hear the drugs they claim he was using or was using or whatever. I don’t know. Some kids will never grow up. When you get big-time motorsports or you get a big job like this, you’ve got to take it seriously. You can’t be out drinking beer, you can’t be out doing whatever. You’ve got to focus on what your job at hand is.”

 

HAVE YOU EVER HAD CONCERNS ABOUT A FELLOW COMPETITOR, AT ANY LEVEL? “No. I don’t feel like I’ve ever had to be concerned about another driver being coherent or in good enough shape to race – at least in the Nextel Cup garage. The Nationwide Series, I don’t really think so there, either. I’m not around those guys as much because I’m running back and forth, but that kind of stuff doesn’t really go on in our sport.”

 

THIS MORNING, KEVIN HARVICK SAID HE THOUGHT 99 PERCENT OF THE SPORT WAS CLEAN, BUT JUST TO ADDRESS THE PERCEPTION, GUYS SHOULD BE TESTED REGULARLY. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT? “What I think NASCAR should do is schedule the drivers’ meeting an hour early some week, and right as we come out of the drivers’ meeting, just test everybody. It doesn’t take long. Forty-three guys, you’ve got an hour. Just schedule the drivers’ meeting a little early. Nobody would be suspicious of it, and just say, ‘Make up your line over here, guys.’ I absolutely think they should. And all this privacy B.S., and you can’t do this, you can’t do that; you want to race in the sport? Just get tested. I’ll get tested any time, I don’t care. And I think a lot of people are like that.”

 

MORE ON TESTING. “I do believe they should do random tests. I wouldn’t do it random these three guys or this week we’re going to do those two guys over there, just do ’em all the same day. Everybody. Just one time. Like I said, it would only take an hour. And then it would be cut and dried – no ifs, ands or buts about it.”

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Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle Prepare for Phoenix
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