Joe Gibbs Racing driver Carl Edwards was made available to the media at Texas Motor Speedway:
CARL EDWARDS, No. 19 Sport Clips Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Do you feel good about your chances this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway?
“Yeah, we’ve got a really fast race car. We had a fast car in the spring and had a lot of fun, but now the goal is simple, just go out and win the race. So, we need to qualify well. I feel like the pit stall will help us the whole night, the whole day and hopefully we’re fast in race trim. The neat thing about the track right now is I don’t know if it’s just my memory or what but it feels like it’s actually aged a little bit more. It feels like the cars are moving around a little more. It’s going to be a neat race.”
Do you have any concerns about Kyle Busch having a tire problem earlier today?
“What happened exactly? I don’t know exactly what happened. I saw the video of it. It looks like he got loose, hit the fence but it is possible that something was going down for sure. I don’t know. I don’t know if that was just out there on the track first thing – if the car was the wrong height or they ran something over, I don’t know yet. I haven’t got the rundown of it.”
How do you guys balance trying to be good teammates and trying to win and move forward in the Chase?
“I’ve got great teammates. All of us have worked really, really well all year at raising each other’s level of performance so we’ll just continue to work as hard as we can like we’ve been doing but then we race each other really hard at the race track too. We’re all competitors. Once the green flag drops we all know how to race each other, but I don’t think anything obviously will change at least for the next few races.”
Can you go out with the same setup on your race car that you had earlier this year at Texas?
“The key word was in principle – two words. In principle yes you can use your notes but man this sport things happen so quickly and things evolve quickly and you can’t really lean on too much but it gives you a good starting point.”
What did Joe Gibbs talk to you about after last week’s race?
“There’s really nothing extra, nothing special this week, just basically the same type of meetings we usually have. Like I said earlier, all of us, we all know that we benefit from one another and we just keep working together the way we have and we want a JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) Toyota to win the championship. That was really cool to be a very small part of that last year just to be around it. So, that’s our goal.”
Do you feel like you should’ve won both Texas and Phoenix races earlier this year and how does that play into your preparation the next two weeks?
“So, yeah, as soon as we had the tire trouble at Martinsville the first thing I thought of was how fortunate we are to be going to Phoenix and Texas because just what you said, I feel like we had an opportunity to win both of those races and we had speed at both of the tracks and obviously we could’ve won both of them if things had gone a little differently. So, yeah, these are two great tracks to go to when you have to win for us and practice was fast. So, hopefully it just keeps rolling along like that.”
Can you talk about your strategy of having to win at this point?
“It’s not a position you want to be in 30 something points down, but yet it does make things very simple. There’s only one direction to go and that’s forward and like you said, win, so that’s what we’ve got to do. And, really it’s time to get to it. If we want to win the championship we have to win Homestead anyway so it’s good to get in this mode. If we can get it done the next two races it’s only going to help us at Homestead so I think in that respect it’s good.”
Do you believe in your heart that sticking together like glue could actually hold you and your teammates back?
“So, if you go back and watch throughout the year we race each other hard. There’s teamwork as much as you can have teamwork but we’re competitors. We race each other very hard. Now in that you’re going to have times where people are frustrated, that’s part of it. What we have though as a group is something that I think is really special. I can tell you that my three teammates have made me a better race car driver the last two years. I’m grateful for that. And, when we have issues we get right to it and we resolve it. I would do anything for my teammates and I feel like they’d do the same for me. Yeah, we get frustrated with each other but you get frustrated with everybody out on the race track so I think we’re pretty good.”
Do you think anything held your teammates back from being better against Jimmie Johnson last week?
“I know there was frustration after the race, but that was the only good thing about having that tire problem is that I didn’t get caught up in any of that – if there was something good out of it. So, I didn’t see first-hand what happened. I haven’t gone back and watched the video yet but knowing the discussions afterward everybody had a different perspective but everybody understood one another and they really got over it very quickly. It wasn’t a big deal.”
How much has racing at Texas Motor Speedway changed since the last time you won here eight years ago?
“In 2008, in this sport, I mean that’s ancient history. So, those stats don’t really mean anything. The thing that we come here and that I am excited about is just how we ran in the spring. Really, past a race or two ago it doesn’t mean much at a place like this. There are so many things that happen. The track ages, with different tires, I mean I’m driving for a different team, everything is different. So, yeah, those stats – people bring that up every once in a while, ‘Oh, you’re great at Texas.’ But, that was I don’t know how many years ago. It doesn’t really matter. What really matters is what we’ve done lately and fortunately that’s been pretty good so that’s what we’ll look at.”
Do you approach the final three races differently with this Chase format compared to the others in the past?
“I think you approach the races differently because of the format, but you don’t do it until something changes. For instance, our case, we didn’t plan on having that tire problem at Martinsville. So, now, yes we have a different approach. We’re going to lay it out there. We have to win if we’re within reach of the victory on Sunday or next Sunday. From that respect, yes it changes but you’re initial approach to this style format is no different. You go out there and you get every point you can and you race smart. When something goes bad you’ve got to step it up and so that’s where the opportunity is in this format. If it weren’t for the format the way it is with three races left this far behind I don’t think we’d have a shot at it but we do.”
Can you expand on what was the greatest thing you’ve learned since joining Joe Gibbs Racing?
“Without getting into particulars about the driving or whatever just to be able to sit at the table with Matt (Kenseth), Kyle (Busch) and Denny (Hamlin) during our meetings and to – as much as open and honest as all of them are, kind of the format that Coach (Gibbs) has is just really cool. It’s opened my eyes to some different things. Different things that I maybe wasn’t paying attention to as a driver that I should’ve been and it’s been really cool. I guess something specific other than just the whole team atmosphere and the teamwork. I mean, amongst competitors, especially fierce competitors like all of us that’s very rare and I think it’s something that we’ve just got to hold onto and keep using because it’s working.”
How would you describe the four Joe Gibbs Racing drivers together speaking in a room?
“I think we’re all about as different as four drivers can be and it actually helps and is really good. And, like I was saying, it’s a unique situation that I think is really special. I know it benefits me and I think as a group it benefits all of us the way we’ve been doing things. Yeah, we’re going to have days where we’re frustrated and we don’t get along, but we tidy that stuff up real quickly.”