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August 23, 2008
THE MODERATOR: We are joined by Carl Edwards, winner of the Sharpie 500. You've won three of the last four races and clinched your spot in the race. Why don't you tell us a bit about tonight.
CARL EDWARDS: It was awesome. Kyle had the fastest car on the long run all day. He did an unbelievable job. My only chance to get him was on the restarts. Bob did a really good job with the adjustments, and the car was real fast on the last restart and just got down there in the corner and got into the back of him a little bit and got by, and we ended up holding on for the win. It was really big for us. It was huge. It's awesome to win at Bristol, that's for sure.
THE MODERATOR: We are also joined by crew chief, Bob Osborne. Bob, tell us about your night atop the pit box.
BOB OSBORNE: Well, it was actually quite a struggle. We only had -- I thought we had the fastest car for the first 15 laps of every run, but after that, the 18 was definitely a lot better than us, and it would be hit or miss on how close we were; whether the 12 at some point was a little bit better than us on the long runs and so on and so forth.
You know, the situation arises, and the team took advantage of the situation it had in front of it and capitalized. It was a good night.
Q. Going to try to boil four questions down to about one. No. 1, do you feel like you endeared yourself -- were you able to hear the crowd roar when he came up and hit you on the cooldown lap, and you turned him around; did you feel like you sort of endeared yourself by taking out the bad guy in the race and then taking him out -- and then taking him out in the race and then taking him out on the cooldown lap when he tried to take you out?
CARL EDWARDS: No, no, that doesn't matter to me. The way this works is -- you know, a real smart racer explained it to me this way after he wrecked me and I was real mad. He said, "I just had to look at your rear bumper and decide if you would do to me before, and you had, and so it was a real simple decision."
Earlier in the year we had a Nationwide race and Kyle was a lot faster than me and he went ahead, and got to my back bumper and just smoked the back bumper of my car and sent me up the racetrack, and after that said, "Sorry, man, my car was just faster."
So in my mind, I had to ask myself when I went down there in the corner, should I lift and brake early and do the best I can, or should I just kind of give him a little tap and see what happens? So that's the way it went, and that's the decision I made, and you know, I'd do it again.
Q. And the other part of it, he talked about, he said, "If that's the way he wants to race, we'll race him in the Chase that way.
CARL EDWARDS: Okay. Here's the deal. That all -- that doesn't mean anything. He's raced me that way and that's the reason it went down like that. That's it.
Q. I guess what I'm asking, was this all just the heat of the moment post-race, or after tonight can people sort of expect a little bit spicier Chase than maybe they could have before this race started?
CARL EDWARDS: I don't know. I feel like we're pretty even on my side. You know, that's how I feel about it. I don't know; I'm sure it will be exciting. It's NASCAR and we all want to win really bad, that's for sure.
THE MODERATOR: We are joined by Jack Roush tonight's winning owner. Jack, why don't you tell us a little about the view from where you were.
JACK ROUSH: People asked me after MIS, the victory there, and Carl going to Pocono and going to Michigan and now he's won here, what I thought about MIS; and of course racing close to home is always a lot of fun and we've run really well there.
I'm in the company of some really, really fast people and I can tell you, having fast race cars is one thing but being in the company of really fast racers is another whole thing.
Carl had an opportunity and Bob had an opportunity to work on the car tonight. I think that NASCAR achieved what they were looking for in terms of having very equal cars. I think this is our fourth time coming back here. The shocks are pretty well understood and everybody has done the right kind of job for here, and the cars are even.
Until it came time for Carl to reach out and take a chance on using his car up, or whoever Denny Hamlin or whoever was in contention, you know, it was going to be a follow-the-leader kind of a deal, because there's an advantage to being in front and when you're behind, you just don't quite have the option you do when you're in front.
And so it came down to Carl having a little bit better car on the short run, and it looked like before the last stop, that Kyle had a little bit better car on the long run, and that -- or at least medium run to longer run. But it came down to Carl wanting it bad enough, and it was there for him and he took it.
Q. There's no way to candy-coat this question, so I'm going to ask you bluntly: Was that poor sportsmanship on the cooldown lap, and is Kyle a poor loser?
CARL EDWARDS: No, Kyle is not a poor loser. He's mad, and I can completely empathize with his anger. I probably would have done the exact same thing. So that's the way I feel about that.
Q. JD Gibbs came up to you in the garage area; what did he say to you and how did that conversation go?
CARL EDWARDS: He just a minute explained to me, "You reap what you sow," which I believe and I explained to him that that's why that happened that way and that's it. I have a lot of respect for him and the organization. They do a really good job, and I really look up to them, so that's that.
Q. Disregarding that last little nudge there towards the end of the race there, did you find throughout the rest of the race that you had to kind of give guys a little nudge and remind them that you were there the whole time, because guys were racing you pretty hard; Montoya raced you hard, a lot of guys did.
CARL EDWARDS: Kenny Wallace said it the best; the way the track is, people can terrorize you. They can just make it so hard on you because the outside groove is fast, so you try to get by people, and if you move up, you just can't get by them. There were a couple times in the race where I had to give people a little nudge just to let them know I was there for but the most part everybody did a really good job.
Q. Do you find it sometimes ironic that the reason there's 165,000 seats here is because of exactly what happened tonight and then when it happens, people ask you if it's the right thing to do?
CARL EDWARDS: Listen, if I could have passed him without running into him, that's what I would have done, and that's not the best way to do. If I was a fan and I could only pick one race to go to, this one would be hard to overlook. It's pretty exciting.
Q. Forget about Kyle, something different about. The race itself: Last week you said at Michigan, your goal was to win these three races going into the Chase on a winning note. You've won one; can you do the next two again?
CARL EDWARDS: If Kyle is not behind me, probably. We might end up with some wadded up race cars. (Laughter)
Yeah, we feel good about California for sure. But man, you know, these people are picking it up. Tonight you saw the Gibbs organization definitely very strong. Hendrick was real strong tonight. I think that the next two races will be -- they will be wild, because really, there's more and more guys who don't have a lot to lose, so people will be able to race pretty hard. You know, it's been a great season so far and I don't think the excitement level is going to go down.
Q. Good, bad, neutral, whatever, this everybody took just in stride; yeah, you move people here is what happened, like with Jeff Gordon and Rusty Wallace. All of that said, just neutrally speaking, could you describe the winning move?
CARL EDWARDS: It's just -- I got a good run. My car was really fast on the short run. We went down in the corner and he slowed down a little earlier than I thought he was going to. I tried to kind of get down underneath him and he dove pretty straight for the corner and I kind of just bumped him just a little bit.
Then we went down the back straightaway, and he did just what any racer would do: He bumped me the same way, but I had already kind of committed to the top, so it ended up, it didn't hurt us as bad. So that's the way it went.
Q. Outside of everything with Kyle, how was the racing at Bristol; Car of Tomorrow; how was it for you?
CARL EDWARDS: I don't know. I don't know if I like this better than the old. I like them both, you know, and they both have -- the way the track was before and the way the track is now.
I think the fans see more true racing on this surface, rather than give-and-take and nudging people out of the way for every position. So I think this is better. I think you're going to see exciting races here for a long time to come.
It is hard to pass, extremely hard to pass, but the track is small enough that there is always something going on.
Q. You got summoned to the NASCAR caller afterward; you expecting to have to chat with officials, too?
CARL EDWARDS: I don't know. I probably will.
Q. I hate to play "he said, she said" here, but Kyle said that you had run into him at Milwaukee and a few other times before.
CARL EDWARDS: I think he was alluding to me running into Clint Bowyer, which is true, I did. You know, that was a little different deal.
What was your question exactly?
Q. That was it. Is there a history there? Is this not the first time you bumped?
CARL EDWARDS: The history is I remember him running into me real hard at Richmond. That's the history I remember. So that's that.
Q. Of 500 laps, 499 of them led by you and the 18; is that kind of how the season is shaping up? Do you expect it's going to be you versus him in the Chase?
CARL EDWARDS: Boy, you know, I don't know. I guess it remains to be seen. It's like I said last week; if there's only one guy I have to race, that's awesome. But I have a feeling, you know, Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle and Jeff Gordon and Tony and all those people are real good at their jobs, and I think they are probably all going to be very tough.
I notice the feel good thing. That was funny.
Q. Maybe I'll do another one this week. This is for Carl and Jack, as well. Is this thing with Kyle sort of exactly what NASCAR needs, and is this the beginning of maybe a great rivalry?
CARL EDWARDS: I don't know. You know, if we're always racing around one another and we bump into each other occasionally, it will probably be pretty fun for the fans, you know, so I don't know. I'm just glad to be fast enough that we are up there racing like that right now. So you never know.
JACK ROUSH: It's going to make a lot of real interesting commentary from the fans on the talk shows that Claire B. and a lot of the folks will really be enjoying that.
But the great rivalries have been celebrated, the first time that NASCAR had a race that was recorded live, I don't remember the year, but I remember it was the Daytona 500 and Yarborough and the Allison brothers got hairballed down the back stretch when things went bad to their mutual dissatisfaction.
The rivalries have been something that have attracted interest and generated the positive and the negative feeling of the fans, and I think this has been a year when there really has not been any rivalries. Dale, and Walter, had his rivalries in his time, and of course Rusty had his. This may be starting the new era.
You know, we don't need to have rivalries to make the racing interesting for the racers. We are happy to race clean and to celebrate a victory and to not have a lot of discussion about it. We'll try to put this all behind us by middle of next week before we go off to Fontana, but this will be talked about for a long time on the talk shows.
Q. Yes, it will. And I'm wondering what you think about rivalries in sports in general and in NASCAR; but Carl, also want to say -- that you were relentless and that you almost had to be relentless to win this Chase.
CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, you know, for me, I'm to the point, and I'm content with how I race and how I am and for me. It's just go out there and do the best I can and accomplish the most I can.
And rivalries are just fine. It's fun to watch. You know, I know as a fan of other sports, it's always neat when there's something going on, some story behind the scenes. But for me this doesn't change anything. We just have to go to California and win, and you know, you just kind of have to keep that in the back of your mind.
What was the other question?
Q. I'm talking about being relentless to win --
CARL EDWARDS: All of the guys up front. Myself and everybody that's running, everybody that runs well at this level, you know, Kyle is the guy that exemplifies it; he just drives the wheels off things. I think that you have to be that way. And sometimes, you know, sometimes you have to do things, like what happened tonight, but everybody does it. I'm sure it will be done to me and this will be used against me, but that's the way it is.
Q. You sort of touched on this when you talked about what JD said, the whole you reap what you sow and the whole back and forth, and I guess the question that we'll bandy about this week is: At what point does the paybacking stop? At what point does it even out? And are you a little bit concerned that this has basically opened up a whole other can of worms you're going to have to deal with going forward?
CARL EDWARDS: We'll see what happens. I'm honestly not too worried about it. I feel like I was extremely justified to do what I did, I needed to do it, and that's the way it went. Let's make it real clear: I'm not apologizing for it, and that's it. I feel like this is -- the score's even and it just cost him more than it cost me at the time, and that's the way it is.
Q. I think you got asked this in victory lane, but just for the record, you're still not a believer in momentum?
CARL EDWARDS: No, I'm not. I'm not. (Laughter).
Q. We talk so much about data, getting information and that kind of thing; going into this race as a driver, do you think about things like the last five races, the guy who has led the most laps has not won and now it's six in a row; do you think about that when you're out on the car?
CARL EDWARDS: No. The sample size isn't large enough to come up with a reasonably accurate statistic, you know what I mean? There's not enough, maybe over a hundred or two hundred races you could getting something. These races are so chaotic, so many things going on, you really can't predict based off of statistics. I hear that all the time, you hear a statistic, that a guy won the race from the farthest back anyone has ever done it. You know, I think there's so many things that change in the sport, I think it's hard to say things are always going to be a certain way.
THE MODERATOR: Carl, thank you.
CARL EDWARDS: Thanks, guys, I appreciate it.
End of FastScripts