Carl Edwards Qualifies 3rd

CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion (qualified 3rd) – “As the sun goes down, I think there will be a number of guys who go faster. It’s still a good lap for us. I think in the weather, in those conditions, to run that fast was, honestly, a pretty big surprise to. So, hopefully we’ll have a good race. That’ll get us maybe in the top five or 10 to start.”

WHY IS THIS TEAM SO GOOD RIGHT NOW, COMPARED TO THE REST OF THE FIELD? “I don’t know. My guys have been working really hard. The guys have been working very hard and I’m very proud of them. It’s a pleasure to drive these cars. I think we’re we’re going to be pretty competitive Saturday night.”

Carl Edwards press conference

CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion (qualified 3rd) – “I did not think it would hold up as well as it has. I think we’re going to end up third or fourth. That’s amazing. The car is really good. That lap I thought would be 10th or so. I’m very happy with it. I’m very happy to see how the thing runs in race trim tomorrow. We were super-fast last time we were here. I’ve been waiting to come back here and get it another shot at it, so starting up front is going to be big for me.”

WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE BETWEEN INTERMEDIATE TRACKS AND A TRACK LIKE THIS ONE? “The intermediate tracks, the cars handle similarly, both, the intermediate tracks are scarier because you’re going so much faster. So, this track, if you mess up a little bit, you slide around a little bit, and you don’t risk as much. But there’s still a knife-edge to drive. It feels a lot like driving a USAC Silver Crown car around here, to me. The first time I came here in a Silver Crown car, I was amazed how much the cars moved around, and you could hustle ’em, and these cars kind of feel the same way to me. I think that’s fun.”

YOU MADE A LOT OF PROGRESS OVER THE WINTER ON MILE-AND-A-HALF TRACKS. ANYTHING YOU CAN RELATE REGARDING FLAT TRACKS LIKE THIS? “I think all of the stuff we worked on will apply. We won at Bristol last year with this car. We won at Dover. Sat on the pole and led until we blew up here. We talked about the gains we made this morning – Chris Andrews and I did – all those gains from the last time we ran here until now, all of those gains should make us faster. So, I hope it applies. It would be really neat to win on a track like this. It’s so much different than something what we’ve won on so far this year. That would be cool.”

A SATURDAY NIGHT RACE UNDER THE LIGHTS ON A MILE TRACK. THAT SEEMS TO BE PERFECT FOR SOMEONE LIKE YOU AND YOUR BACKGROUND. “Yeah. Saturday night races are fun. This place is just beautiful at night. It’s a real cool race to watch. It’s a unique race track, which makes it really neat. It’s a race track that you be really racy on. One of the greatest races I’ve had in my life was with Kevin Harvick in a Nationwide race here. We just swapped back and forth and rubbed on each other and leaned on each other for what seemed like 50 or 100 laps. This place is fun like that. You can really race hard here.”

WHAT’S SEPARATING THE ROUSH FENWAY DRIVERS RIGHT NOW IF THEY ALL HAVE THE SAME INFORMATION? “I don’t know. It seemed like last week, it seemed like cars came and went. Kenseth, Matt, his car, when he was out front, he was untouchable. I couldn’t run what he was running. Then we got out front and streatched that big lead. I think it came and went. I don’t know if it was different tire sets or they were that touchy with the adjustments. I thought it was aero-dependant and then I got behind Kyle Busch and I felt like I could catch him and got a good run on him on the outside, if I remember correctly, and pass him on the outside that went pretty well. When I got behind cars, I felt like my car gave up a little bit of grip, which they’re always going to; the old car, new car, they’re all going to do that. But I felt like it gave it up in a pretty balanced away. It might’ve gave up 60 percent of front grip and 40 percent of rear. It got it a little tighter, but it wasn’t a huge aero-type thing. I thought it was actually okay.”

YOU’VE BEEN RUNNING SO WELL LATELY. CAN YOU GET EVEN BETTER WHEN CREW CHIEF BOB OSBORNE RETURNS? “That’s a good question. Bob and I talked about it, and we have been running really well, and I had to reassure – I mean I can’t wait until he gets back. I didn’t realize until he was gone – you don’t know what you;ve got until it’s gone, I guess, is the saying – I didn’t realize how much of a relationship we’d had built on the radio, how efficient our communication was. Nothing against Chris Andrews or Robbie Reiser, but it seems like it takes one or two back-and-forth transmissions on the radio to get the same thing done that Bob and I would do, and there have been a couple of moments that have been kind of confusing. We’ve made small mistakes. So, I think when Bob comes back we’ll actually get better, which is actually great. I’m looking forward to it.”

YOU’VE HAD THE BLOWN ENGINE AND A PENALTY. DO YOU PLAY THE “WHAT IF” GAME? “No, I don’t play the ‘what if’ game. I think all you can do is focus on what’s ahead. You can’t live in last week. This thing changes so fast. I’m hoping we can get over that penalty, and if we miss the chase by a couple of points, then maybe we’ll think about it a little bit then, but I think  we’re going to be all right.”

JAMIE McMURRAY – No. 26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion (qualified 8th) – “It’s really hard to pass here, so starting in the top-10 or top-15 will really be an advantage on Sunday. This place, you can have one of the best cars, but if you go to the back it’s really back up through there. It didn’t take but a half a tenth to be, I think, on the pole from where we were. It’s really close. Did a good job, just didn’t adjust enough for qualifying. The car got looser than I expected.”

GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 3M Ford Fusion (qualified 18th) – DOES THIS PUT YOU BEHIND FOR SATURDAY? “No, it’s probably not that bad. I just made a mistake down in three in four. I just went to the gas too quick and too fast, probably, and put the throttle down too hard, and got the thing sideways, and then thought that I checked up enough to get it straightened out, and really kind of threw away my second lap for speed. I felt like we should’ve been right there in the top three; instead we’re 15th and we’ll probably be 20-something before it’s over with. We got a good draw and screwed it up, so not very happy about that, but real excited, I think we have a good car for Saturday night’s race, so we’ll just wait and see.”

DAVID RAGAN – No. 6 AAA Insurance Ford Fusion (qualified 23rd) – “I wish we could’ve picked up a little more. I think as the track cools off and as everyone else picks up, I think we’re going to be back there in the 20s. I wish I could’ve got another tenth out of it. Pretty good balance, didn’t quite get all of what was there.” DO YOU LIKE THESE FLAT TRACKS? “Oh, yeah. I like them a lot. It’s a lot of fun to drive ’em. You know, you have plenty of practice on Friday and Saturday to have enough opportunities to get the car to drive good. It’s a lot of fun. When you’re going to a mile-and-a-half track, you’re fighting a air pressure and just getting a good balance to have good speed. But, here, if your car’s driving good and you don’t have any brake issues, you can have a good run.”

MATT KENSETH – No. 17 DeWalt/Nano Ford Fusion (qualified 27th) – “It wasn’t a very good lap. The car was a lot better than I was. I just didn’t really do a good job of hitting my marks and everything out of it. I think the car is a little better than that. We struggled a little bit today, but it’s definitely better than that.”

WHAT IMPROVEMENTS DO YOU HAVE TO MAKE BEFORE SATURDAY NIGHT’S RACE? “We’ve just been really tight in getting our car turning as good as we need to. If we can get the car to turn a little bit better, hopefully, we’ll be okay.”