EDWARDS TAKES MUSTANG TO VICTORY LANE IN 2012 NATIONWIDE SERIES DEBUT
· Carl Edwards won today’s Zippo 200 in his first NASCAR Nationwide Series start of 2012.
· The win is the ninth for Edwards in the two years Mustang has been competing in NASCAR.
· Mustang now has 16 all-time NNS victories since the start of the 2011 season.
FORD FINISHING ORDER:
1st – Carl Edwards
4th – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
11th – Michael Annett
35th – Timmy Hill
36th – Matthew Bell
CARL EDWARDS – No. 60 Subway Ford Mustang – VICTORY LANE INTERVIEW: “I can’t say thank you enough to the fans that come out and support this sport. We rode around in the infield yesterday around all the campgrounds and everybody was so nice. It seems like everybody is having a really good time out here, so I appreciate that. Subway came on board to do this race. Ford, Jack Roush, everyone gave me the opportunity to do this. Whether we won or lost I was having a lot of fun out there. Brad was driving the wheels off of his car. I missed a shift coming to the white flag – a downshift – and he got next to me and then we battled off the corner. It might have actually helped me in the end, but I had fun racing with him, racing with Kyle. I got into Logano there in turn seven one time being real aggressive and I feel bad we spun him out, but I had a really fun time and I can’t wait to race tomorrow.”
HOW INTENSE ARE THE RESTARTS HERE? “Intense with all capital letters. It’s really intense. There are so many games being played and I didn’t get the chance to start on the pole until the final restart and I was kind of trying to sense where everybody was. I didn’t really know where they were, there’s so much going on, and Brad really ran me hard down in the corner and I thought he was gonna cut back underneath, but he couldn’t get it done and I’m just very fortunate we got a win.”
HOW WILL THIS HELP FOR TOMORROW? “I won’t miss any shifts. I almost had a heart attack there in six when I missed that shift and Brad got next to me. You’ve got to stay mentally focused out here. You’ve got to be realistic about your weak points and your strong points, and it takes a long time to get by folks, but it was a lot of fun racing out there today. I really had a good time.”
RICKY STENHOUSE JR. – No. 6 Ford EcoBoost Ford Mustang – “That was fun. This EcoBoost Mustang, the guys did an awesome job giving me a great car. Billy Johnson was a huge help talking to me before the race about keeping my brakes on and watching out for the things to do. Ford sent me out to Miller Motorsports Park to do some road course testing, so it was really a big group effort. I had a lot of fun. I hope Carl has been practicing his backflip because it’s been a while since he’s done it off a Nationwide car, so hopefully he’s been practicing that. It was a cool win for Subway and EcoBoost got a top five at a road course for us, so that’s huge. I thank Nationwide Insurance, NOS, Cargill – everybody that helps us out – that was a lot of fun.”
A GOOD POINTS DAY AS WELL. “ Yeah, that’s what we wanted to do is finish ahead of those guys. We did what we wanted to do and that’s come out of here, really we were trying to come out with minimal points lost, but we ended up gaining a few I think and getting a top five on a road course. That’s huge. I owe a lot to Billy Johnson and Jamie Allison – everybody at Ford Racing – for really helping me out to try and figure out these road courses. We were comfortable here. I’m not 100 percent sure, we’ve got to get comfortable at Montreal next week, but the good thing is Billy will be racing there with us in the 60 car and he’ll have a shot at the win and if we can get another top five, that would be huge.”
CARL EDWARDS POST-RACE PRESS CONFERENCE
CARL EDWARDS – No. 60 Subway Ford Mustang – “This win means a lot. That was a lot of fun. I had a really good time racing out there. I’m really glad that Jack and Ford and Subway and everyone put this together so that I could run this car. Scott did a great job with the car. We had virtually no practice and it almost qualified on the pole and we won the race. The car ran really well. I made one pretty big mistake coming to the white flag and Brad got up beside me, but fortunately, we were able to battle and get back ahead of him. It was just a really fun race. I had a good time two runs from the end Kyle and I battled really hard. He can go deep into those braking zones, so we went after it pretty hard. That was a lot a fun. And just overall it was a really good day. The only big mistake was running into Joey there and spinning him out. I felt bad about that, but we were all racing pretty hard for position right then, but, overall, I’m just really grateful for the opportunity and I’m glad we got the win.”
JACK ROUSH, Car Owner – No. 60 Subway Ford Mustang – “This was the first time Carl felt like it was worthwhile for him to run a Nationwide car this year – running the two practices Nationwide and Cup was really hard on him and hard on Kate, I think, for what he would carry home at night. So, anyway, this was a rare opportunity we had to have Carl in a Nationwide car. This is Scott Graves’ first role as crew chief as far as I know. You weren’t a crew chief someplace else? No, so he has a perfect win success record as a crew chief. It’s a testament to the work the guys do in the shop that they were able to generate another potential winning car out of the inventory of parts that they had and to be able to present it on the race track with almost no practice and being on the front row in competition for the pole, and then of course with Carl’s enthusiasm and his ability he was able to pull it off.”
SCOTT GRAVES, Crew Chief – No. 60 Subway Ford Mustang – “This was obviously a great opportunity. A few weeks ago when it was brought up to me that I could do this I jumped on the chance to work here with Carl. I had worked with him last year in Nationwide and had a really successful year with him there and to do this was a great opportunity and I’m glad it worked out the way it did.”
CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED – WHAT ABOUT THE PASS FOR THE LEAD ON THAT ONE RESTART? “We went down into turn one, I was having a little trouble on my restarts, so I decided – if anything – I was gonna be a little too aggressive down there into turn one and Brad gave me enough room on the exit to run beside him. He didn’t run me off the race track, which was really nice, and I was just able to hang on the outside of him and get around him in that first ess, so that was a lot of fun. That was a good start. The starts here are very difficult because you drive down into that first turn and it’s downhill. Everyone is fighting for the bottom. You’re all going through the gears and it’s probably hard watching to realize that none of us don’t have any practice going into turn one at that speed. We’re used to going in at race pace, so you have to really pick your braking points very carefully and that one worked out really well.”
JACK ROUSH CONTINUED – IS IT NICE TO FINALLY WIN A NATIONWIDE RACE HERE? “Yeah, this is great to finally win here at Watkins Glen. We always enjoyed bringing our road race cars here and of course we’ve had some success with our Cup cars, and I think we had a stretch with Mark Martin where we won two or three years in a row, but it was great. I had not realized until somebody asked me in Victory Circle if we had won here before and I said, ‘I don’t believe we did.’ But it’s a great place to come. We enjoy the race track. I wish we had more road races. I’m not saying that I’d trade going to MIS for a road race, but I’d like to have an opportunity to come here twice a year.”
CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED – WHAT WAS THE KEY RACING KYLE AND JOEY, HOLDING THE BOTTOM LINE? AND ON THE RESTART WILL IT BE ANY DIFFERENT NEXT YEAR WHEN YOU HAVE THE SAME ENGINES? “I don’t think the engines were the issue on the restarts, it’s just who can keep from spinning the tires and who is willing to go hard enough down to the corner and then once you get to the corner, if you’ve got the tires cleaned off sometimes it just works out for one guy and not the other guy. And earlier in the race it was just really hard racing. There was a lot of blocking going on and having to move people out of the way and all that stuff, but then I think once we got all of that out of our system the next run we had a good, clean race and that was, I think, the right way to do it so I’m glad Kyle and I were able to go back and race like that and ended on a good note. But as far as Joey, I was just doing everything I could to get the position in turn seven and I got up beside of him and I expected him to know that I was there and I don’t think he knew I was there and he turned down for the bottom. I hate it that he spun around. I’m sure it hurt his day, but we were just racing as hard as we could there.”
WERE YOU EXPECTING HIM TO TURN YOU IF HE GOT TO YOUR BUMPER LATER IN THE RACE? “I don’t know. I have to talk to him about it. Hopefully he understands that there was no bad intention, I was just sticking my nose in there doing the best I could. I was passed there earlier in the race and that’s one where if you come off of the corner previous to that slow, you really have to expect the guy to put the car in that position and that’s what happened there. I don’t know if he knew I was there or not.”
BEFORE THE ONE TO GO WHEN HE GOT UP BESIDE YOU CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WHAT WAS GOING ON. DID YOU GET LOOSE BECAUSE IT LOOKED LIKE HE GOT SQUEEZED AGAINST THE WALL. “There’s six and then seven. Six would be the second-to-last corner and seven would be the last corner. Going into six I went in harder than I had been going in. I was trying to make up a little speed there, I missed that downshift and Brad got up beside me. Then we went into seven and I figured that was the race for the win, so I don’t know if I squeezed him or got loose or whatever, but that was all I had and, to me, that was just really hard racing for the win. I’d have to go look at the replay.”
HE THOUGHT YOU JUST GOT LOOSE AND HE HIT THE WALL A LITTLE BIT. “I was doing everything I could. I wasn’t sure at that point, a lot like the situation with Joey, I don’t know if the spotter’s can see down there very well. I was certain he was on the outside of me, so I hugged as close as I could to the inside and got on the gas as early as I could and did everything I could to get ahead of him. I tried to give him as much room as I could. He had raced me really clean all day and, hopefully, I did a good enough job there for him.”
WHAT DID YOU THINK TAKING THE CHECKERED FLAG? “It’s nice to win races. I’ve learned enough in this sport, Jack has let me drive his cars long enough, that I’ve learned sometimes even the best performances don’t yield a trophy. I would say today’s race is not my best performance, but we got the trophy and that is nice to win a race. We really need to win a race in the Cup Series. That would be great. I think this will help with that. It never hurts to get to Victory Lane. The backflip I was a little nervous about because I hadn’t done one of those in a while, so I had to stop and think, ‘OK, feet over the head. Look at the ground.’ I’ve been watching a lot of the Olympics, but that doesn’t really seem to help when you have to do it yourself.”
SCOTT GRAVES CONTINUED – HOW WAS IT ON THE BOX AND WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO A LOT MORE OF THIS? “Oh yeah. I was a little nervous to start, but I think as I got through the race and got comfortable with just the things you’re supposed to do as a crew chief – talking on the radio and trying to make some of the decisions – I definitely started to come into it and enjoy it a little bit more. I would absolutely love to have the chance to do this more.”
WHAT KIND OF BACKGROUND DO YOU HAVE? “I started at Roush, I’ve been there six-and-a-half years – just always on the engineering side. I started off in the Truck Series and worked my way through Nationwide. I was on the Cup side for a little while. I’ve been doing that for a while and I expressed some interest in moving up to that next step and moving forward a little bit and trying a Nationwide crew chief spot and when this opportunity came up, I was lucky enough to get that chance.”
JACK ROUSH CONTINUED – “Scott had done a really nice job for six-and-a-half years as an engineer and there are two paths we see for crew chiefs. One, is to come from the traditional build the cars, be able to provide leadership on everything mechanical. Some of the crew chiefs come that way and of course there have been engineers like Scott that have advanced to the point where they had the practical experience as well as the engineering judgments to make a compelling reason why they should be the crew chief. But Scott exemplifies what we did with Bob Osborne and with Chip Bolin and a number of the guys that have grown up in our organization, come in with ambition and ability and stay with it, work hard and learn from one another and eventually to be a crew chief.”
WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON DODGE LEAVING NEXT YEAR? “Dodge has been in and out over a period of time and my guess is one day they’ll come back again. But it was a real tough situation having their bankruptcy and their overseas investment and other things that they’ve had to balance. I know the automobile business in Europe right now is real hard and that probably preys on Fiat a lot for what they need to be doing to take care of that side of their business, but it’s not great surprise. I was 50/50 on whether I thought Dodge would stay and I think the garage was pretty much the same. Nobody knew what they would do and they’ve made a decision that they think is good for them for the short term in their business. I hope it is and look forward to them coming back one day if it suits their purpose.”
CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED – “One other thing I want to say. I didn’t thank Marcos Ambrose in Victory Lane, but he has helped a lot with our Fords and helped make them fast and I really appreciate everything he has contributed. I think we all up here know he’s somebody that we’ve leaned on for these road race cars and I think that our cars – the speed that we have today and tomorrow – is a huge reflection on Marcos and his contribution, so I officially want to say thank you.”