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April 6, 2008
FORT WORTH, TEXAS
Q. Talk about your run today.
KYLE BUSCH: It was terrible, had a good race car, good enough that we could run in the top five and we were battling it all over the place. Fighting on one side or the other we couldn't get it exactly right.
So a frustrating day in that part; when you get behind last car and you can't pass them because the damage at that time racetrack and the car, that's frustrating. We were just lucky to get a third place today. And we have good race cars, the guys do a good job of putting them together and we had one run there and felt like we had a winning race car there and the track changed and the tires changed and we could never get that feel back.
Q. No microphone.
KYLE BUSCH: Well, we didn't wreck, so that's okay. We battled the car all day long and couldn't really ever get it right. Was it fun to drive? No. Did it survive the day? Yes. So was it a good day . . .
Q. Talk do you feel like you were stronger than the 99 on the restart, and how did that translate over the course of the entire race?
KYLE BUSCH: He just didn't have any forward bite on restart, might be just whatever they were doing. Their car was sideways through all the corners, and that's not just loose, that's just how their car is, when you get it going down the straightaways and that's probably the product of a bad restart.
I got into it about every restart, I squeaked by the outside but just kept pushing and didn't want to wreck them and get the car messed up.
As far as him going on into my run, the car was just turning. It would go from tight to loose to loose to everything.
I knew the 99 was holding back and not showing everything he had, he probably could have led 344 or however many laps there were today; he didn't show his full hand and he knew he was good. The 48 was pretty good, but you know, I figured during the race that the 99 was holding back
Q. Given the way the car was running today and given the handling problems you were having, at some point during the race did you have a mind-set that, hey, I'm going to try to finish as high as I can, even if it's third place and that's what you have to live with?
KYLE BUSCH: That's what I drove for in the race. If there's a shot to go for second, then we would have taken it, but there at the end it was just survival and holding guys off behind. It wasn't going to be going forward at all because we were so tight and if we had a different race car, probably would have tried a little bit harder. It wasn't working today.
Q. (No microphone).
KYLE BUSCH: It went good. Obviously got a win and a third place finish, my best place finish in a Cup car, and so I have to evaluate the weekend as a positive
And now going into Phoenix, a place where I tend to run well and I'm pretty excited about that and decided to take a couple days off.
Q. Is this the kind of racing that we're stuck with seeing
KYLE BUSCH: I am not answering that question. Go to NASCAR to answer that question..
Q. I think you said on Thursday or Friday that you expected Carl Edwards to be a huge favorite coming in, and because he's been so dominant on mile-and-a-half tracks; obviously you said he could have led 34 laps today, any crack in that invincibility right now, and is he just far and away the best mile-and-a-half car?
KYLE BUSCH: I think Jimmie was a lot better today than we had seen him all year long. So he had a good car, but nothing was good as the 99. And at the beginning part of the race, we were racing as good as we were up front; and we were leading some; he was leading had some, and the 99 was just kind of hanging out back there. I still think he obviously had the best car. So go back to our shop and try to make ourselves a little bit better and now we don't have to just catch the 99, now we have to catch the 48.
THE MODERATOR: Now we are joined by the 48, Jimmie Johnson, tell us about your run.
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Real proud of all the effort that's gone into our intermediate track program really showed today and it was pretty eventful. Ran up front, led a little bit and I think clean air was really, really important.
And I was really shocked today in how bad the cars drove in traffic. In the past, our stuff had bigger bumps and I was really fortunate to catch people and the guy in front of you -- I really think the cars should not be so aero-dependent. They are safer and doing a lot of things the right way, but they really need to look at making changes so that the cars have a little more downforce; so when you get into low downforce situations, there's more grip on the car.
Q. The restarts -- (no microphone).
JIMMIE JOHNSON: On the restart, I was with him. I felt like, gosh, maybe try the outside through one and two, but with all -- going down through the cautions before, I knew that was a bad decision, and got away from me a little bit and just kind of ran from there on out. Once you get up to speed, the car just depends on the aerodynamics.
Q. I know you're not the engineer, just the driver, but what sort of things are you thinking -- and if you have more downforce, doesn't that effect -- doesn't that make them more dependent
JIMMIE JOHNSON: No, I think we were just -- it's never going to change. Need to make the cars not so aero-dependent, and it's going to help the guys go back in traffic. And we've always had aero problems -- (inaudible) -- is a great thing, but I'd love to see NASCAR talk to some team engineers and their guys get together and say, all right, what's the logical step that's not going to cost millions and millions of dollars to get more front downforce in the car so you didn't get so tight in traffic, because we went rear drift from time to time with the aero balance and you can adjust the wing balance there, but the cars need more front downforce.
Q. We noticed prior to the final restart, you were staying down there as long as you could; fuel concerns?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Not really. I just didn't want to take a chance. We had plenty of gas, but the way those pickups are and the way the cable drive system works, Denny Hamlin in Bristol had plenty of gas in the tank with the restart, and there was air in the line, and we had -- I guess in Charlotte, changed last year and we've seen it happen a few times. So being that close to the front, I wouldn't take any chances making sure that we had plenty of gas.
Q. One thing, when people hear the drivers talk about the car, they say, well, you know, it's in their hands a little bit more now; that's one argument that keeps coming up. Is that the case, or is that just something that is a nice way of saying these cars are so difficult so handle that they are too hard to drive?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: The cars are more important now than in set up than before. This is on the bigger tracks. On the shorter tracks, the aero at Bristol, Martinsville, but the bigger tracks, you can't hide the aero deficiencies the car has, and that's just how it is.
I guess you can turn it back on yourself. Did you enjoy the race today? That's the ultimate judge of it. We are all afraid to run side-by-side, you can only get so close to the guy in front of and you we just sit there in the same spot and ride because you can't go anywhere.
Q. Yesterday in the Nationwide race there was a noticeable lack of side-by-side racing, and Clint Bowyer described the day as boring; would that term be applied to today's race from your perspective?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: No, I didn't see yesterday's race. Today's race, I didn't see a lot of side-by-side racing, and the test lap cars we stuck behind them and watched the other race.
It didn't seem like there was a lot of side-by-side. I'm not sure what the overall race looked like
Q. A little bit off the beaten path but Jeff obviously struggled today, said he was frustrated, but one thing he said, he took a little heart from the fact that you went through the same thing in Vegas and were able to come back, can you just talk about the process you went through after that?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: We really just spent a lot of time testing and we had to -- so confusing with this car because with the bump stops and other tools that we had to work with the car, you're not really sure where you need to be setup-wise, and what to do with what; and in time we'll get better with it and I think we have made some gains.
If you look at what we did from Vegas to Atlanta, we made huge gains. We tested a lot and picked up another step. So we are going right way, but I'm still a little nervous
So watching the 24 being so strong as he is had a start the season, now he's falling off and had a bad day; so you're only an adjustment or two away from being junk with this car.
And that's the hard thing to sort out and where we were frustrated and so we decided to go to the track and start over, no pressure, no pressure of the race weekend, no one around and just re-baseline, work on the car, let me feel things, let Chad understand what adjustments are working and just a matter of working through it and it worked well for us.
Q. (No microphone).
JIMMIE JOHNSON: They have worked very hard to get some advantages with the car, so I think they are whole package right now is really strong.
I had the chance to follow them a lot today and look at him and watch his car; and he's certainly lacking grip from time to time, and I can see his car get tight. I can see it getting soft at turns and just in general, his car was a little more efficient through the corner than mine. So I think we are just a step off in grip, overall grip, where we were eight or ten steps off before, so we closed up a lot. I think another couple weeks will really be a factor in the mile-and-a-half.
CARL EDWARDS: Once you got in the car, it was really good in clean air, and the end, that restart, might not look exciting to people watching, but it's really exciting to me to see the race car and move up. It's my first trip here with was Tony Roper (ph), and that was the weekend he got killed here and he's a great guy and it always means a lot to come back here and to run well, and to win this race is a very special thing.
THE MODERATOR: We are joined by today's winning crew chief, Chris Andrews. Tell us about your view from the top of the box today.
CHRIS ANDREWS: My view was more exciting on the last restart than a lot of people because it was fun to watch. What you saw today speaks a lot for Bob Osborne and Robby Rieser and the team they put together on the 99 and the strengths of the organization to come here and run as well; and Bob, wish you were here to enjoy this.
THE MODERATOR: Also joined by Jack Roush. Jack tell us about your view of the race today?
JACK ROUSH: Well, Bob office person should take solace in the fact that even though he's on injured reserve now, it took two of the best guys in the business to replace them, and don't get behind, right.
It was a great show of strength by Carl. He's really good, he's brave beyond reason and at the best racetracks like this, and he communicates as well as anybody has in my time with the engineering people that we've got. Chris Andrews, of course, is our engineering manager, and Bob Osborne is mechanical engineer, as well as the crew chief.
So anyway, we have a lot of engineering content in the cars where we have very specific information, and Carl doesn't stand on principle for what he might think necessarily and listens and interacts with the engineers and interacts with many things on the setup.
Carl has done a great job working with the tools that we have given him, and of course, closing the deal today. I can imagine it was really hairy having the 48, wanting it was bad as Carl did, and probably knowing the only shot he had was getting him early because he had not been able to run with him for the second half of the race.
If Carl ran early in the restart, it was going to be game over unless something broke in the car which was going to be my responsibility.
Q. Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch were complaining about how bad the car is, and you can't run side-by-side; is that the guys complaining that didn't win, or is the car really bad?
CARL EDWARDS: Let me state my position really clearly since you asked. A lot of people, I've heard people say that the races are boring, and people always want something to complain about; and if it's too hard to drive you don't get enough side-by-side racing.
Fact is, these are the 43 best drivers in the world, the cars have 900 horsepower, drive 200 miles an hour, and the track and tires are slippery and that's a spectacle, and that's what it's supposed to be.
It's not supposed to be easy for everyone and not supposed to be driving down the interstate; and I'm tired of hearing people complain the media make up stories about how terrible it is and stuff. This is auto racing. There are going to be people that are faster and days we won't be able to keep up because the car is too hard to drive and somebody is going to win. That's racing.
Me, personally, I didn't have a problem with the car in Atlanta. I think that as long as the tires don't blow out, they are fine. So same for everyone and just makes it more exciting to win and it means more.
Q. Wondering if you could talk about the different dynamic with Chris on top of the pit box, and you had Robby on top of the pit box, just how is it different, especially in crunch time towards the end of these races when you've got a different relationship going on with the guy that's most important in the pit stall?
CARL EDWARDS: It is difficult, just not because of -- simply it's difficult just because I'm so used to Bob. I can tell by the way Bob says something, or he can tell by the way I ask something kind of what we're getting at, and that only comes over time.
So Chris does an unbelievable job, and robby is, everyone knows how great Robby. So he couldn't be any better at it. It's just that personal interaction takes a lot of time to build where you can say a couple syllables and know what someone is thinking. It is difficult, and we had a couple small issues where we didn't communicate well, and then that's cost us so we are working on that and it's been a good exercise.
Q. Did you try to talk them into changing the engine before the race?
CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, every time we've blown -- the last three engines we've had, failed, and I felt like cost us three wins.
So I'm hypersensitive to anything with the engine, and they were in nice enough to tell me when anything is going on because I've freaked out so much on them.
So this morning Chris wanted to break the news to me that there's a little bit of possibly an issue yesterday, and so kind of had to talk me off of the emotional ledge; that's how one of the guys put it. It's the truth. We had a meeting and told me, hey, you have to trust me and trust us and that's what we did and it worked out.
Q. One thing that's come up this week is the lack of testing. Can you tell us about the impact that had, especially with the change in weather and track conditions; and along with that, at what point in the race did you think you got your car where you wanted it?
CARL EDWARDS: Personally, I don't know if -- I don't think we should go testing, just makes it harder on the guys and costs more money of the as long as everyone operates under the same rules we are all in the same place you know what I mean. That's my position on that.
Our car, I didn't feel like at any point in the race it was spectacular, you know what I mean. I had to fight with it all day. It was really difficult, and it was just kind of a lesser of evils, or however you put that, and we kind of found something that worked and that's what we stuck with.
Q. Ever since this track is opened, you've had cars running very well here, and 10, 11 years running, you've had strong cars, do you consider this track to be your own home-field advantage, and why are you so much better here?
JACK ROUSH: Robby and Chris Andrews, of course, and Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle have always done well at these trace tracks, so there is an expectation and there is a notebook to go from, and there is a process that the guys have worked out than does most places, if I understood, I would have applied to Lauson and Martinsville, and the guys struggled and it just flows for us; starting with Jim Burton, who won the first race here. Texas has been really good to us, and I really enjoy the Fort Worth area, and half the fans that probably otherwise would not have a chance to see a NASCAR race.
Q. Did Robby go to victory lane with you guys, and Jack, are you concerned that he's really going to get the urge to come back?
JACK ROUSH: Robby, and you can quote me on this, he's a conflicted individual. (Laughter)
He would like to change the tires; he would like to hang the bunny; he would like to drive the car, which he has done; he would like to crew-chief the car, and he would like to manage the program. You can't do all those things. There's conflicts there. I don't know why he didn't come to victory circle today with us, I guess he felt he would let Chris Andrews and Carl have the limelight
To move off to Doug's program and when that happened, we had the opening that was okay, and said, you go work for somebody else, or you're going to be the boss and so he made the decision to step off.
The other thing that's there, there is a chance that Carl may have had enough of him today, because he had attempted to call Matt under the most stressful of circumstances, and I'm not sure that that doesn't rankle Carl some.
Q. On a couple restarts he was pushing you to turn one, can you kind of describe how your car was behaving on the restart?
CARL EDWARDS: Not very well when he pushes me.
Q. And how much of the restart that happened prior to the race going into that last one were you thinking about what you could do to really get away from the 48?
CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, the restarts are very important, obviously more towards the end of the race.
I just personally tried to be very conservative on the restarts, because it seems like that's when a lot of the wrecks happen.
So Kyle was just keeping it going there and just did a good job of pushing me square down the straightaway. And that's one thing that's neat about these cars is you can line the bumpers up and you won't wreck someone when you push them a little bit like what happens with Nationwide cars or old-style cars.
Towards the end, I knew that I had to be prepared for a restart if we had one and always tried to save my best ones for last.
Q. When you were penalized, you said this isn't going to change anything, and I'm just going to keep you -- you would have won in Atlanta, and now you did win; so is this backing up that statement that you made, these runs and these days?
CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, it's just the truth. Doesn't matter if we get penalized. We might get a 100-point penalty or something today, doesn't matter what I do, and the cars are really good.
Q. Kyle Busch said he thought you didn't show your full hand and that you could have led every lap today; could you answer that, and maybe talk about how dominant you've been on intermediate tracks this year, and might you see that your dominance might be influencing your opinion on how good the handling of the cars are?
CARL EDWARDS: What's the question exactly?
Q. Talk about how dominant you are on the mile-and-a-half tracks, and along with that, it's looking easier for you than it is for these other guys who are complaining about their cars
CARL EDWARDS: It's just my opinion when I say I like this type of racing, and the difficult tires and all that. I like it and it's my opinion and that's where I stand and I like. It's evident by how well we run. If I was running 15th, I might have different opinion, but right now we are running very well, and it's good. We work real hard, and when we run like this, it's fun. I don't know what else to say. I really have zero issue about it.
The part that I do like, that I can specifically say I love, is that I feel like at a racetrack like this, maybe it's just my car; but I feel like I can make a difference out there lap-to-lap. I can picture the car sideways here or play with the throttle here or there and change what that stopwatch says every lap. That's cool. That's what it's about. That's what I grew up doing in Missouri on the local dirt tracks is being able to make a difference by pushing those pedals and stuff.
So for me, that's fun. And like I said, that's just my opinion and other people have their opinions and they have the right to say whatever they want and it's okay.
Q. If Robby is so conflicted, and what he said is he wanted to go back to being a crew chief, how would you handle that?
JACK ROUSH: Very carefully. Just like I'd handle you.
Q. If he feels that strong about it, is there some way that you can resolve that?
JACK ROUSH: I have to talk to the team. I don't have a crew chief I'm unhappy with right now. He stepped up to the table and his chair is filled.
Q. Have you talked to Bob yet, and how often do you communicate with him, and what do you envision he was doing at the end of that race?
CARL EDWARDS: He was probably smoking about three packs of cigarettes in that race. Bob is a really good guy and I did talk to him today. And we talked a little bit about the engine thing and everything, and he's just a really, really smart guy and he's a good American and we get along really well and I'm sure he's really excited.
I know -- I know Bob wants to be at the racetrack. He even told me that. He said, hey, first weekend was like, oh, you know, it's too bad I'm not there. And at this point he's sitting there and he feels terrible and wishes he could be there, and No. 1 thing I firmly believe is that as good as we are right now and as great as Robby and Chris are, we are going to be better when we get Bob back and I can't wait to get him back. I haven't talked to him since.
Q. What Kyle Busch said about you not showing your full hand, would you agree with that? Not a lot of guys pushed you today.
CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, that's the truth. I could go a lot faster if I wanted to. (Laughter).
Q. But you had more reserve you just didn't give?
CARL EDWARDS: What do you want me to say?
Q. I want you to say you could go faster --
CARL EDWARDS: I just told you. You have good questions; I'll give you credit.
Q. How much testing of the Car of Tomorrow did you do for Roush, and did you do a bunch of it, and does that help explain why yours is a little better than the others?
CARL EDWARDS: I've done as much as they will let me no do. I think everyone realizes when it was embarrassing a couple of those races when we first went to, how far off we were; and I think everyone, all of us stepped up. Greg, I think Greg and I are going to a test somewhere where we are going to both be testing and Jamie and I have done tests together and everyone has done everything they can. And I think everyone feels the same way and I know for me personally, I see the benefit and I know that everyone else does, so we'll test all we can to be the best we can be. I don't think I've done more than the other guys.
JACK ROUSH: The testing genie is out of the bottle and we had a chance -- (indiscernible) -- and to limit the tires and do all that, and we haven't done that collectively, and as an industry we haven't done that, so the teams that can buy the most tires, the teams that can run the most people are the ones that have the most testing opportunity right now.
Q. When did you make your biggest move?
CARL EDWARDS: I don't know. There were times in the race where I thought I was watching Kyle Busch, and I thought, "Man, he's going to dominate this thing." And then there was another point where Matt Kenseth was leading, and I thought, "Man, he's got it in the bag."
So it kind of depended on the run, it depended on where you were in the run, and the car was moving around a lot. And like I said, you could really play around and stuff and be better here or there; and there's a lot of sacrifice through the corners for us and personally, we've been working on a lot of different things.
End of FastScripts