Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion, met with media at Sonoma after the first practice session Friday afternoon where he was the 13th fastest.
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR PRACTICE OUT THERE TODAY. “We went testing a little bit and Marcos Ambrose has been helping our team, him and his crew chief Todd (Parrott) and we are working hard on trying to make sure we picked the right setup and get a good qualifying run and want to get our first road course win in the Cup series together. Bob and I, that is what we want to do this weekend. We feel like we have been fast at these road courses. We have been on the pole once at Watkins Glen and we have had some good runs but we are just trying to have a good solid weekend and practice went pretty well. We have Aflac on board and they have been a great partner and have a lot of folks out here this weekend. We have people out here visiting and enjoying the area. It is a lot of fun to come here and hopefully we have a good qualifying run.”
GUYS HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT PAYBACK AT THIS TRACK AND RAMPED UP AGGRESSION. WHAT DO YOU THINK? “There are a lot of opportunities here to not just pay somebody back but to make mistakes and bump into people and be overly aggressive. I have run into other people and run into the walls and tire barriers and axle hopped here, pretty much everything. Most of the time it is the best strategy, for me it has been best to race as hard as I can and give everyone as much respect as I can and try to get a good solid finish. Last year I think we saw one of the most aggressive races I have seen here. That could definitely be what happens again on Sunday. My plan is to be as aggressive as I can without ruining somebody’s day. That is the plan.
IS THAT FUN OR IS IT AGGRAVATING? “I like racing here a lot. I really like the green flag runs, the longer runs when you can start working a guy over and march through the field finding peoples weak spots and racing that way. The restarts here can be pretty difficult. They can be really crazy if you are in the middle of the pack and surrounded by guys that aren’t racing for the same things you are racing for. This is their event to go shine and sometimes you can get really run over by some of those guys. You have to do a really good job at this race of standing your ground and treating everybody the way you want to be treated and the key is to stay up front. Those guys up front race really hard here but it seems like the top five or six guys you have a good respectful race. Either way, we can do it either way. We can run up in the front or fight all day in the back. Whatever we end up with I can assure you we are giving our best effort at this track. This is, I think, a bottleneck for the Chase. If you come out of here with a good solid run, there can be some guys that don’t have a good run and you can shake the points up.”
WHAT IS YOUR VIEWPOINT ON THE INCIDENT LAST YEAR WITH BIFFLE AND BORIS SAID AND DO YOU THINK THINGS GET A LITTLE DANGEROUS? “I don’t know what happened. I didn’t see what happened there and can’t recall. This is racing. There are just more corners you know? It seems when you get more corners you get more opportunities for people to take advantage of people in those corners. At these road races it is hard to get away and every once in awhile you will have a situation where a couple guys beat on each other hard for a couple laps and get madder and madder. That is racing. We go out here racing and at the end of the day if people aren’t happy with each other I would hope they work it out however they have to. I don’t think there is too much emotion in our sport at all. I think our sport has a good mix of respectful competition and guys that aren’t afraid to say they don’t appreciate what happened. It seems to be entertaining because we are talking a lot about it. I think we are okay. I think it is good.”