Edwards takes Eighth Win Of 2008

Carl Edwards won his eighth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race of the season and closed the gap in the championship race to 106 points with two races remaining.

·        Carl Edwards captured his 15th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win and eighth of the season with today’s win at Texas Motor Speedway.

·        The last time a Ford driver won eight NSCS races in a season was when Rusty Wallace did it in 1994.

·        The most NSCS races won by a Ford driver in the modern era is 11 by Bill Elliott in 1985.

·        Edwards is only the 10th driver in Ford Racing history to win at least 8 NSCS races in season.  The others are: Ned Jarrett and David Pearson (twice each), Fireball Roberts, Fred Lorenzen, Dick Hutcherson, Junior Johnson, Richard Petty, Rusty Wallace and Bill Elliott.  A complete breakdown follows below:

MOST NSCS FORD WINS IN A SEASON16 by David Pearson in 1968

15 by Ned Jarrett in 1964

13 by Junior Johnson in 1965

13 by Ned Jarrett in 1965

11 by David Pearson in 1969

11 by Bill Elliott in 1985

9 by Richard Petty in 1969

9 by Dick Hutcherson in 1965

8 by Fireball Roberts in 1957

8 by Fred Lorenzen in 1964

8 by Rusty Wallace in 1994

8 by Carl Edwards in 2008

Bold face denotes won championship that season

·        Ford has now won 591 all-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.

·        Today’s win is the 10th of the season for Ford, equaling Chevrolet and Toyota for tops among manufacturers.

·        This marks the second time this season Edwards has won back-to-back Cup races, doing it for the first time at California and Las Vegas.  Greg Biffle also won consecutive races at Loudon and Dover in September.

·        This is the fourth straight year a driver has won Atlanta and Texas back-to-back in the fall, and the second time for Edwards.  He started this streak in 2005 while Tony Stewart (2006) and Jimmie Johnson (2007) kept it going.

·        Texas becomes the second track where Edwards has swept both NSCS races in a season.  He did it for the first time at Atlanta in 2005.


            Ford closed the gap in the manufacturers’ standings with the win by Carl Edwards today.  Ford, Chevrolet and Toyota have all won 10 races this season while Dodge has four.

1.Chevrolet, 204; 2. Ford, 202; 3. Toyota, 201; 4. Dodge, 141

DAVID GILLILAND – No. 38 CitiFinancial Ford Fusion (Finished 42nd) – “It’s a shame we’ve got some tore up race cars and we got parked, but I got up in front of him – my spotter said I was clear – and I kind of slid up in front of him and he jacked my rear wheels off the ground going down the back straightaway and then got into me again going into turn one and two and jacked me up way up the track.  I was trying to let him go and got a good run off the corner and just kind of misjudged it coming down across him.  I was gonna let him go, so I feel real bad for those guys.  I guess they were running on the lead lap and now our team is parked, so I feel real bad for my team and Yates Racing.  It’s unfortunate because we had a pretty good day that we had going.  Our CitiFinancial Ford Fusion was running pretty good – not quite as well as we’d like, but we were just off a little bit.  It’s just a disappointing finish to our day.” 

WHAT PRECIPITATED THAT?  “Nothing.  It’s a shame that it happened.  I hate that Juan’s got a tore up race car and we did and anybody else that’s involved there.  I was racing.  My spotter said I was clear and I slid up in front of him and he ran in the back of me and then going down into turn one and two it was the same thing.  Then I went up the track to let him go and just kind of misjudged my run coming down back across the track.  I was gonna let him go and just feel bad that both of us have torn up race cars. It’s a disappointing ending for both of us.  We’ll move on to Phoenix next week and just try and do a little bit better next week.”

CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion – VICTORY LANE INTERVIEW – “First of all, I can’t thank Office Depot enough – Aflac, Ford – fuel mileage was big and my Ford Fusion gets great fuel mileage, I can tell you that.  Samsung, Valvoline, my guys, the fans, thanks for coming out here.  This is a fun place.  I don’t know what to say.  My guys did a great job.  We took off after a while.  We made probably the wrong call to take four tires, but Bob came up with a way to win that thing anyway, that was great.” 

WHAT DID YOU THINK WHEN HE SAID YOU WERE GOING TO TRY AND MAKE IT.  “First Bob said, ‘We’re two-tenths of a lap short, so conserve.’  Then he came back and said, ‘No, we’re four laps short, just go real hard and we’ll pit.’  Then he came back again and said, ‘We’ll conserve.’  So just by all that I kind of knew that he wasn’t too sure about it, but I’m really glad it worked out.  It’s unreal.  It’s a great day.  The fans are awesome.  My guys are awesome.  We’re closing ground on Jimmie, that’s cool.” 

GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 3M Ford Fusion (Finished 5th) – THOUGHTS ON THE DAY.  “It turned into a fuel mileage race and it’s unfortunate.  We had a pretty good car at the end and so did the 26, but fuel mileage won this thing and that was kind of unusual.  I can’t quite figure out how my teammate can go eight laps more than I can, either, so we’ll just have to go back and do our homework and see what he’s got that we don’t have underneath the hood, I guess.” 

 JACK SPOKE TO YOU RIGHT AWAY SO HE MUST HAVE KNOWN YOU WOULD BE QUESTIONING IT.  “If they were the same, they would have got the same mileage.  So if they’re the same, you get the same mileage.  If they’re not the same, you don’t get the same mileage, so I don’t know what is different.  They may have the same jetting and what-not, but, in any event, I’m not complaining.  We got a top five here and gained points on the 48.  The 99 is gambling.  If the 99 would have run out, we would have gained on everybody, so we’re pretty excited about that.”

JAMIE MCMURRAY – No. 26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion (3rd) – “Larry just made a great call to put two tires on with 70 laps to go and we ran that out and put two more tires on, but some of those guys were able to make it on fuel, but, overall, that was cool to get the lead that way and it’s pretty exciting to have the possibility to win, so the guys did a really good job in the pits all night.  Larry and Derek made really good adjustments, so these 500 mile races are really long and it’s pretty easy to screw your car up when you have 500 miles, so they did a nice job tonight.” 

HOW DIFFERENT IS THE CAR IN FRONT VS. TRAFFIC?  “When you get out front it’s like you have a different car.  Honestly, I ran second or third and you think that’s far enough up front, but once you get to the front it’s just incredible the grip that the car has.” 

WHY IS ROUSH SO GOOD HERE?  “We work really hard on the mile-and-a-half stuff, but I think that this fits all of the drivers.  Carl, Greg, Matt, David – everybody likes mile-and-a-halfs and they’ve always run well at these.  I think more than anything it’s just because all the drives enjoy coming to these tracks.”

DAVID RAGAN – No. 6 AAA Ford Fusion (Finished 11th) – “We started off average and Jimmy and the AAA team made good pit stops, made good calls in the pits, and I felt like we had a top seven or eight car there at the end.  It looks like we just got beat on fuel mileage.  We elected to take two tires there at the end and some of those other guys short-pitted and it looked like the got the good stuff out of their tires before we could pit.  It’s just circumstances.  We had a top-10 car and didn’t quite get it, but when you have these crazy deals with people staying out and not pitting, that happens sometimes.” 

THE RACE WAS MILD UNTIL THE END.  “That just shows you how important track position is.  Carl and the 18 got back midpack and it was real tough for them to move up.  You saw Jamie and the 07 and a couple of those guys take just two tires and were able to stay up front, so track position, like always was important, but I’m proud of our AAA team.  We didn’t start off great, but we had a pretty good piece to race with and didn’t quite get the finish we deserved.” 

JAMIE MCMURRAY PRESS CONFERENCE – “At the beginning of the race, you’re kind of just logging laps, but I was a little bit worried in happy hour because the car didn’t drive very good.  It seemed to have good speed, but it didn’t drive as good as it did at Charlotte and Atlanta and we ran really well at those tracks, but when the race started it just didn’t have a lot of grip and searched around a little bit and found a groove that worked for me and just kind of rode it out.  I think we had probably the second-best car at the beginning.  Carl was really fast at the start of the race and he was able to get through lap traffic a little bit better also.” 

YOU TOOK TWO TIRES ON THE LAST STOP.  DO YOU EVER THINK ABOUT HELPING YOUR TEAMMATE LIKE CARL IN THAT INSTANCE?  “I think if you’re racing for 10th it’s different.  When you’re racing for a win it’s hard to win at this level and you certainly wouldn’t do anything to hurt those guys, but nobody in this sport is gonna give up a win to help somebody gain three or five points, whatever it would be.  So, no.” 

WHAT DID YOU THINK ABOUT THE DECISION TO PIT AT THE END?  “I don’t figure fuel mileage.  I think that he just did a wonderful job with calling for the two tires with 70 laps to go or however many there were and I asked him what lap we were gonna pit and he said with 12 to go and in my head I thought, ‘Twelve laps to go, it’s hard to save 12 laps of fuel.’  Guys just don’t do that, so I didn’t really think that anybody was gonna be able to make it and then for your teammate to make it and you not – but I talked to the engineer right after the race and he was like, ‘It just wasn’t even close to us,’ and he kind of told me the mileage I’d have to get and the mileage we were getting and we just didn’t really have that choice.” 

YOUR TEAM HAS RUN WELL LATELY.  “Really since Dover.  We led at the beginning of the race and got involved in a wreck.  Our cars have been top 10 cars about every race and we ran in the top five like two of the last three and we’re really not doing anything different.  It just seems like we’re able to make better adjustments to the cars and really we unloaded here and we were horrible, and they came in and sat in the garage for about 10 minutes and they made a couple of adjustments and I pulled back out and I’m like, ‘It drives great.’  You just don’t get to have that very often.  Typically, if you don’t unload well it’s hard to get your car right, but our SIM program that we have at Roush Fenway, it’s incredible how they can make our cars drive as well as they can, giving us like a starting setup.  So, I don’t know, it certainly is nice to be able to run this way at the end of the year because I feel the guys that run well towards the end of the season are able to start next year running that same way, so, hopefully, we can get through Phoenix and Homestead.  Those are two tracks that I really enjoy.” 

CARL EDWARDS PRESS CONFERENCE CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion – “I never had Bob yell at me for going too fast, but he did tonight.  I was just so nervous that we were missing something.  I thought there was no way we could go this slow, save this much fuel, and still be leading this race, so they did a really great job.  That was cool.  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 and it was still very cool to win the thing.”

BOB OSBORNE, Crew Chief – No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion – “I don’t know really what to say, but when the caution came out we had to make that pit stop and we knew that we were gonna be short.  We went to the drawing board, so to speak, and calculated all the line lengths and how much fuel can our car actually pick up and we were pretty comfortable mid-run there that we would be OK if Carl did his normal great job of saving fuel and he did and we were able to make it, so it was a good end to a bad situation.”

JACK ROUSH, Car Owner – No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion – “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 and knew that the 99 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, but that 99 car really stepped up and delivered better fuel mileage, whether it was something that 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 the step.  I questioned the legitimacy of the data I was seeing and I went down and found Mike Messick, my number one tuner – he supervises all the engine tuners on all the teams – and he confirmed with me that it looked like we were gonna be a mile-and-a-half short and 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 and Bob and Carl worked it out between them.  We’ve seen situation where, if the driver is willing to not go as fast as he might, stop using the brakes and has got track position to give up, you can save several laps on a tank of gas and 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.  It’s different for big tracks and short tracks, flat tracks and banked tracks.  The fact is we don’t have enough experience with it to really have an ironclad formulas for how much you can save, but it was a mile-and-a-half short and Carl was the man.  He did it.  Bob had the faith in him and he pulled it off.”

BOB OSBORNE CONTINUED – WOULD YOU HAVE TAKEN THAT GAMBLE IF YOU WERE LEADING THE POINTS OR CLOSER THAN YOU WERE GOING INTO THE RACE?  “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 was the last lead-lap car at the finish, but I’m not really concerned about that.  We want to obviously finish first and that’s what we’re shooting for right now and it was just a risk that I thought was worth taking.”

CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED – DO YOU FEEL VINDICATED FOR SAYING THE CHASE WASN’T OVER?  “I would if I really cared what everybody else thought, but I’m learning to not really care because it really doesn’t matter.  It’s a good question.  I feel good about it.  I feel satisfied that we did take a chunk out of that lead and Jack and I talked about it and I think it average out to where if we won them all and he finished ninth these last three races, we could beat him.”

JACK ROUSH CONTINUED – “He had to finish ninth or better to beat us, but I haven’t done the math on this, it should have moved him down in the top five, which you have to do somewhere close to the top five for the next two races, which he certainly is capable of and based on the way he’s raced most of the year, it’s what you’d expect, but sometimes momentum is a wonderful thing.  I know I’ve heard Carl say he doesn’t believe in momentum, but I’ve seen it and it’s pretty real for me.  Right now, the 99 and Carl and the Ford Fusion and Bob have got this momentum.  If it causes a misstep and they wind up second-guessing themselves on a change or if they wind up pushing it on their strategy some, it could make the difference.”

CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED – “I didn’t expect to be able to close that many points on Jimmie without him having some sort of catastrophic problem, so I think that’s a good shot in the arm for all of our guys and all the guys who have been working so hard at the shop and here at the race track – that we can go out and perform well enough to win this thing.  That’s cool.” 

HOW WOULD YOU RATE THIS GAMBLE TO THE ONE AT KANSAS?  “Kansas was way more fun.  That was pretty neat.  That was leaving your foot on the throttle and this one was taking it off, but a win is a win.  It’s cool to be surrounded by guys who 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 in 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.” 

ANY STRESS AS YOU GET CLOSER IN NATIONWIDE AND CUP?  “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 and I can race as hard as I want and it’s cool.  Yesterday, we picked up a few points on Clint and today we picked up a lot of points on Jimmie, so it’s neat.  It’s fun.  I’ve been part of championship efforts back racing in dirt cars and stuff, and it’s wild.  I watched the Formula One race today and that was spectacular drama there and I just hope that we can get this thing close enough to make it that much fun at Homestead.”

BOB OSBORNE CONTINUED – CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE NERVE IT TOOK TO MAKE THAT CALL?  “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.’  So 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, so 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 and learn from them and move on.”

CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED – “I think the way our relationship is – mine and Jack’s and mine and Bob’s and all of our crew guys, especially at this point in the season – we’re all in this together.  If I do something and make a mistake that costs us something like at Talladega, my guys don’t get down on me.  Having guys like Jack and Bob and 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 would have run out of fuel.  I know he wants to win just as bad or more badly than I do.” 

WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS WHEN THE 38 AND 42 WRECKED?  “The way the world seems to work is that everything happens for a reason and 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, so I think if he hadn’t wrecked whoever he wrecked, it might have been different.  From the outside, I think that a lot of times people see it as, ‘Oh, hey, some guy made a mistake.  He’s not even racing for a championship or whatever,’ but let me tell you something, David Gilliland is a great race car driver.  He’s racing just as hard or harder than a lot of the guys out here because he’s racing for a sponsorship and for a ride, so I believe, and this is where you have to be careful, about pointing fingers and saying negative things about guys because we all make mistakes, every single one of us, so definitely, personally, I’m not mad at David Gilliland and I think he’s a good guy.”

JACK ROUSH CONTINUED – “He certainly gave back some points that helped us with our electrical problem that we had at Charlotte.  We’d love to throw away a deeper finish.  We gave up more points than that twice, obviously, or we still wouldn’t be 100 points behind.  I’ve found 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’ll decide to come down pit road when they shouldn’t and the 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 realized the benefit of our electrical problem when it occurred.  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 and Kurt Busch in 2004.  If the luck hadn’t been with us on both of those occasions, we wouldn’t have won either one of those championships, so I don’t deny Jimmie Johnson a championship for having been fortunate and not being caught up in David Gilliland’s wreck or not being caught up in Carl’s wreck at Talladega, or not having a bad part in his car.  We’ll just wait and see what happens and when it goes against you, you’ve got to suck it up and resolve to keep the faith and keep going, and when it works in your favor, you God Bless Texas.”

CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED – HOW MUCH CONFIDENCE DO YOU HAVE WITH TWO TO GO?  “Those are two really great race tracks for us.  I love them both.  Phoenix is, I think, one of the most fun race tracks we go to.  A driver can really make a difference there and sometimes it comes down to calls by crew chiefs and stuff like that, so I really feel like that race track 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 I still feel the same way.  I think we’re in a good spot right now.  I don’t know who said it, but sometimes it’s easier playing catchup because you have a little fun with it.” 

CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED -- DID FOUR TIRES YESTERDAY INFLUENCE YOUR DECISION TO DO THAT WITH 70 TO GO TODAY?  AND WHAT PREVENTED YOU FROM COMING BACK THROUGH THE FIELD AFTER THAT?  “I don’t know exactly what Bob was balancing there – two tires or four tires – but if our stop would have been about 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 a lapped car is on the inside, every position you give up is really two positions because the lapped cars were fast tonight on the inside, so I think what hurt us there is these cars are a little tougher to drive than Nationwide cars.  The field is a little more stratified.  In the Nationwide Series the cars just have more of a difference between them and in this series it’s very close, so it’s hard when you’re back there in real dirty air following 10 cars to make something happen, so I was a little bit surprised at how tough it was, but that’s what you have to expect in this series.” 

HOW HARD IS IT NOT TO MASH THE THROTTLE AND TO SAVE FUEL?  “It’s strange because when I put the firesuit on and get in the race car and we’re racing, you go as hard as you possibly can.  Everything in me is trying to figure out how to go faster all the time, so it sounds kind of silly to say, but it really is difficult to figure out how to slow down sometimes.  Bob was yelling my lap times out on the radio and 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’ve got a 12-second lead,’ and I’m thinking, ‘OK.  Are you sure you want me to go slow?’  It’s like I needed someone to write it on a card and stick it in front of me because it shouldn’t be that hard.  I’m sure looking from the outside up there screaming, ‘Why is he still going so fast,’ but it really is kind of difficult, at the end of a race like that especially because I just want to know.  I need to be sure, so it’s hard.  I just was worried that they were like missing a car or something.  It was like, ‘Second place can’t be 12 seconds back.  There must be some other car that’s just not showing up on the scoreboard.’  You just start thinking all these things and it’s tough.”

BOB OSBORNE CONTINUED – “Carl’s always been hard to slow down.”

JACK ROUSH CONTINUED – CAN YOU TALK ABOUT JAMIE’S RUN TONIGHT?   “On Jamie McMurray, Jamie is a good race car driver.  He’s not had the result that we hoped for this year and 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 and what I thought was gonna happen was I thought Jamie was gonna win the race with 20 laps to go and Carl was gonna have the benefit of gaining some points, but I didn’t think we’d be sitting here with Carl, I thought we’d be sitting here with Jamie tonight.  But Jamie will 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 know he was there.  That’s the main thing.”

CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED – DO YOU THINK THIS PHENOMENON OF WINNING ATLANTA AND TEXAS WILL CONTINUE?  “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 and it’s probably mostly chance, but, generally, when they’re back-to-back like that there’s not much time for things to develop or things to change in the setups.  It’s not like they’re three months apart.  What works last week will generally work the next week, but not much longer than that, so it’s probably a 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 CONTINUED – “Carl and Bob had really good performance here as they did at Atlanta and you look at that before last year and you’d say, ‘Well, you turned your car around because you had that magic car,’ but the fact is that this was two different cars that pretty much had the same performance result in terms of the way they handled in practice and the rest of it and that’s a credit to NASCAR for keeping the rules tight and not letting the crew chiefs go off and do silly things to cars that would make some of them faster than others.”

BOB OSBORNE CONTINUED – “I play with cars plenty.  I like to make them as fast as I can make them, but the cars have come a long way.  We have great body hangers, great fab shop, great engine department, great chassis department that are building us a lot of race cars that can go really fast, so we’re lucky right now.”

JACK ROUSH CONTINUED – WHY ARE YOU GUYS SO GOOD HERE?  “I spent 17 years with Mark Martin and, to my way of thinking in my time at least, he was the early king for mile-and-a-half race tracks.  He just loved race tracks with a lot of grip and standing on the gas.  If it was slippery and worn out as race tracks get and you had to drive it loose on the edge of destruction, he would do that.  So he set up a standard for the way the bodies are hung and he set up a standard for the performance that we expect from all of us, that I think we really benefit from.  But if we hadn’t have had somebody that was as good as Mark – of course the thing that Mark would have done a decade ago if somebody was a little bit messed up on their setup or their 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 the pit lane with a handful of rags because he was gonna go drive the wheels off your car and make you look bad.  But Mark really did a lot to create an expectation that I’ve passed on to Bob and everybody else at what we need to be doing at these race tracks, so we expect to go to mile-and-a-half tracks that are fast and scary and run like hell, and the guys keep that alive.”

CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED – ANY THOUGHTS ON IF YOU’RE LEARNING ANYTHING ABOUT YOURSELF IN THIS SERIES AND CHAMPIONSHIP?  “I didn’t read much this week.  I spent most of my week in the woods in Missouri hunting and I think that’s been good for me.  What I’ve learned and I’m still learning is just how to compete the best I can and the bottom line at the end of all of it is generally just keep your head up and keep going as hard as you can and you’ll get whatever you deserve.  For me, I just enjoy 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 they could run at tracks like this with cars that are this close and guys that are this good at racing, so I try to get a little enjoyment out of it and I do like it.  I hope we keep making it exciting.  I hope the next two races are real exciting.  I hope it’s good for us.  I don’t remember what your question was, but it really doesn’t matter because I probably won’t read the article.  I’ll be in the woods in my tree stand thinking about anything but Jimmie Johnson.  I call it hunting, but it’s mostly just watching because I’m terrible.  I try not to fall asleep in the tree stand.  That’s bad.”

 SO THAT WILL BE THE PLAN THIS WEEK?  “The things I really want to do is fly that airplane that I flew a little bit last week.  That was really fun.  Go hunting a little bit and spend some time with my fiancée.  That’s Monday and Tuesday.  Wednesday we go to Las Vegas for Discount Tire and do an appearance and then we’ll be in Phoenix on Wednesday night.  That’s my plan, unless Jack calls me up and tells me I need to be in the meeting.  You never know.” 

DO YOU STILL HAVE THAT COURAGE NECKLACE?  “Yeah, I’m wearing Dalton’s necklace right now.  Dalton gave me this necklace to wear last week and it worked so well and he enjoyed it, so he said I could wear it these last three races.  It’s very cool.”

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