CARL EDWARDS,No. 19 XFINITY Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Do you agree with NASCAR doing the second green-white-checkered attempt in Talladega?
“NASCAR, they run the show, they run the show the best that they can and I didn’t understand at the time, but they went ahead and did another green-white-checkered and that’s the way the race finished. We all got another shot at it. The way I understand it is that since we didn’t cross the start-finish line, they didn’t count that as an attempt."
Are you bothered that the 4 team might have intentionally caused the final caution?
“It appears that Kevin (Harvick) and the 4 team, they had to have a caution in order to preserve their position. They were aware of that and it appears that they caused that caution. That’s tough, to be completely frank, that makes me uncomfortable that if that’s the case that a team could do something like that – that’s calculated to alter the outcome of the most important race of the year. Things happen in the heat of battle, we’ve all done things in the heat of battle, but if that’s the case, if that’s what happened then that’s just too bad. I guess NASCAR looked at it closely and if they think there was nothing wrong there, then that’s the way we move forward. Nobody really knows."
Do you feel NASCAR should take action?
“I need to understand NASCAR’s position a little bit better. If they’re okay with that kind of thing, it does change the way we move forward I guess. I can’t imagine that they’re okay with that. They must really feel that’s unintentional and maybe it was, but it appeared – it just didn’t feel right to me watching it."
What is your personal opinion of the situation?
“My personal opinion is really not the most important thing. I can say that at the end of that race, it just didn’t feel right to me the way that went and there’s only one person that knows if it was intentional or not and that’s Kevin (Harvick) and man, I hope it wasn’t. I just have to hope for our sport, for all the hard work that everyone puts in and all that’s on the line that kind of thing number one, I could see how you could be tempted to do something like that, but I really hope that NASCAR makes sure that kind of stuff isn’t common place for sure."
Do you feel like Kevin Harvick did what he had to do to stay in the Chase?
“Obviously, doing something like that is an option to keep yourself in that position, but to me, that’s not what sports should be about. Like I said, we’ve all done things, we’ve all taken advantage of a situation – that one just didn’t sit right with me and that’s about all I can say about it."
What did you think when you watched the replay from the end of the race at Talladega?
“I went back and watched the replay and just to be honest with you guys (media), it didn’t affect me in any way and so I don’t have a dog in the fight, but I think everybody saw it. That’s not what this whole thing is about. Everybody builds the best cars they can and everybody comes and does the best they can and it’s tough to see a race end that way and there be no consequences for it."
Is there a favorite in the Chase?
“I don’t think there’s any favorite, I think that we’ve seen from this Chase that anything can happen and it’s tough. You just have to go out and race the best you can, that’s all you can do."
Does it change the dynamic at Joe Gibbs Racing having only two of you advance?
“I really believe the guys at Joe Gibbs Racing, my teammates, we have something really neat going on there. It’s really competitive, but it’s a very respectful rivalry we have in the shop and within ourselves. I really don’t think it matters if one of us is in the Chase or all four of us are, it feels like we race each other really well, it’s pretty cool."
Do you feel better about the third round of the Chase than the second round?
“This third round is way simpler than the second round in my opinion. We go to some tracks like Martinsville where a lot can happen there, but you’re really in control of things there a little bit more. Texas is Texas, that can be a really tough race track, but then you go to Phoenix where a good pit crew and a good car, driver doing the right things can make a difference and I feel like that’s a good place. This one feels a little more old school, a little more short track feel to it."
How are your chances better to win this championship versus 2011?
“I don’t feel like as a driver I’ve changed a lot since 2011, I feel like then I really understood where we were at and I got the most out of everything and I valued the opportunity and I feel the same way now. I do feel like I have cars that are very, very capable everywhere right now. I feel like we’re fast relative to the field as I’ve ever been as a driver, my pit crew is amazing, Darian (Grubb, crew chief) on the box has all the experience – there’s nobody with more heat of the battle experience than him. I’d say we’ve got as good of a shot as I’ve ever had to win the championship."
How different would this format be compared to the 2011 battle at Homestead?
“This is different, yes. Going into Homestead with Tony (Stewart) in 2011, that was a pretty good battle. We were one and two most of the race and that was really interesting. It would be fun to be through something like that with three other guys, it would be a really dynamic thing to be a part of and I know last year not as a participant, but more of a spectator in the car, it was fun to watch. It would be pretty neat to be a part of that."
How stressful was the 2011 battle?
“2011, those last few races was the most fun I’ve ever had racing just because it was like everything you did, every lap, every practice session was so important and I was engaged 100 percent, there was nothing else other than the race car in my life and that was so neat. There is anxiety and butterflies leading up to it, but once you get in a race like that and all you’re doing is racing, that’s as good as it gets."
How will Joe Gibbs Racing handle having two drivers in this round of the Chase?
“This is my first time at Joe Gibbs Racing and I haven’t seen how they will handle it, but if they handle it anything like they handle everything else, it will be great."
How does the strategy of the team change?
“I don’t think the strategy changes, we just have to do the best we can just like we do every week. The opportunities are bigger so we just have to guard against trying too hard or putting too much pressure on ourselves."
Are you looking forward to Martinsville this weekend?
“I’m really excited about Martinsville. We ran well in the spring and I’m looking forward to that one."
Has this season lived up to the expectation you had joining Joe Gibbs Racing?
“The beginning of the season, the first couple of months, we struggled and a lot of it, it definitely wasn’t matching our expectations and we got the win in the Coke 600 and everybody took a deep breath, I calmed down a lot and we’ve really grown. Our stats since then are night and day different in a better way. I feel like we’re where we hoped we would be, but it was kind of a tough road getting there."
Who besides your family would you want in Homestead if you battle for the championship this year?
“I know that for me the opportunity to go race for that championship in 2011 was really special and a lot of people – it was odd because a lot of people showed up and then after the race was over they just kind of left. Everybody was kind of anticlimactic – I got back out and there was one small banner, good job. It meant a lot to me just for people to be engaged and they were excited. I remember those few weeks leading up to the championship, everywhere I went people were really, genuinely engaged in that battle and they thought it was awesome. I think if I get that opportunity again, it would be really special to have not only my family, but the coolest thing in the world would be to have some of the guys I raced with growing up and I need to work that out. If we make it, I need to make sure some of them are down there."
Should Kevin Harvick have given up his position on the final restart?
“No, I don’t think you give up the spot, you have to stay out there and hope that things went your way. To me, if intentionally, if he (Kevin Harvick) caused that caution intentionally, then to me that’s one step too far in making things go your way. We rely on NASCAR to police that stuff and maybe that’s not what happened, it just appeared that’s what happened."
Does this ruling by NASCAR change the rules of getting into the next round of the Chase?
“I read their (NASCAR) statement and I’m not sure, if NASCAR’s position is that they believe that Kevin (Harvick) intentionally caused that caution and that’s okay, well that definitely changes the rules right? If they say they believe that he didn’t then I think we have to assume the rules are just the same. I don’t think anyone would assume that manipulating the outcome of the most important race of the year so far to your advantage is okay, I think we all assume that wasn’t okay. I guess it rests in proving whether or not. I think it would be important to clear that up. I was expecting there to be some action or penalty and there wasn’t."