SCR: Every lap is pretty intense.
EDWARDS: Yeah. And every mistake is amplified, you know what I mean? A perfect lap is not going to be much better than everyone else, but a bad one is really worse than most of them. So it's like you really have to be right there the whole time.
SCR: Which is more fun?
EDWARDS: That's a good question. The Cup cars are a lot more fun when you're running well. I don't know, though. It's different at different tracks. I've had a blast in the Cup cars at some of these tracks, but I really like running the Trucks at certain tracks as well. I would say on the smaller tracks the Trucks are a little more fun; on the bigger tracks I really like the cars.
SCR: Didn't I see you mixing it up a little (at Martinsville) with Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Sunday? What was that about?
EDWARDS: My car was really good right then and I passed him, and I think he was the next car to get lapped, so he spun me out.
SCR: Time for a caution?
EDWARDS: Yeah. That was really the start of a bad day for us. To be honest with you, I don't think that was right. I don't think it's right for a guy to spin somebody out. We're working pretty hard, and I hope that he comes over and apologizes to me. I would hate to have that go on, you know?
SCR: Now that you have a couple of seasons with Roush Racing under your belt, what impresses you most about the organization?
EDWARDS: Just the way they share information from team to team and from series to series. We benefit in the Truck Series from the Cup information and their engineers and stuff. It seems seamless how they can move people around within the organization. That's the biggest thing to me. And Jack's dedication to racing. He's a racer. That's pretty neat. I didn't know what to expect when I came to work here but Jack's an amazing guy. He'll jump in there. He came to a test with us one time and the first thing he does is he comes in and walks over to the car and starts taking the carburetor apart and changing stuff around in the carburetor. I thought that was pretty neat.
SCR: You anticipated my next question, which is how involved is he day to day? It sounds like he's heavily involved.
EDWARDS: It doesn't appear that there's anything he can't do on a race team. I've never seen him drive a race car, but he can do everything. I imagine he could probably drive them too.
SCR: Does he meet regularly with drivers? How much interaction is there?
EDWARDS: He's always available. He makes sure everyone has all of his phone numbers. Every time I've needed to sit down and talk with him he's just been great. I have no complaints.
SCR: Of course we're here at North Wilkesboro Speedway for a Roush Gong Show, a driver tryout, and you're an evaluator. What kind of rapport do you have with these drivers, 26 of them, local guys, who are trying out? Three years or so ago, that was Carl Edwards.
EDWARDS: Yeah, it's pretty amazing. It makes me feel very fortunate to have gotten this chance. There are so many race car drivers who are so good all across the country. There's some serious alignment of the stars to get me to this point. It makes me feel real fortunate. It's neat to see these guys. It's inspiring. It reminds me of that time in my career a few years ago when I was going at it 100 percent. Hopefully I'm helping them a little bit, but they're helping me a lot.
SCR: Let's back up a little bit. What was it like getting that call from Roush Racing? Who called you?
EDWARDS: Geoff Smith, the president of Roush Racing, called me. It's pretty amazing. I had never had trouble sleeping my whole life until they called me and told me, hey, here's the deal. I think it was on a Friday and they asked me if I wanted to do this. I said, well, sure. They said they were almost sure it's going to happen and that they would send me the contract on Monday, that they would fax it on Monday morning. Actually they faxed the contract and said to get it back to them on Monday morning and they would send a plane ticket or whatever. I didn't sleep from that point until they told me that we were going to do it. I was just so nervous. I just laid there in bed and it was pointless. I couldn't stand it.
SCR: You've obviously made the most of the situation, with six wins in two years in Trucks.
EDWARDS: Yeah. We're doing pretty well. To be honest with you, that kind of surprises me. It says a lot about the team to take a guy with my limited pavement experience and to run well. I know these kids here, whoever gets the opportunity to run in these trucks, will be getting a great opportunity. They're going to do really well.
SCR: Your success says a lot about Carl Edwards and his driving ability, too, does it not?
EDWARDS: Well, I don't know. Like I said, I'm a very fortunate guy.
SCR: What one driver in the Roush organization has been the biggest help to you? Does any particular driver stand out?
EDWARDS: Mark Martin, probably. And Jeff Burton really helped me a lot last year. I think that's because they're older guys and they don't mind giving me advice. It's pretty neat. Mark Martin has been a lot of help, but all of them have. Greg Biffle is awesome. Kurt Busch is great. Matt Kenseth is hilarious. We have fun. But I have to say that Mark Martin makes it a point to sit me down and tell me what I'm doing wrong and stuff like that, and that helps a lot.
SCR: What one competitor has been the toughest you've faced on the track, whether it's Cup, Trucks, or whatever?
EDWARDS: Good question. (Long silence.) To be honest with you, you can't really pick one guy. On a given day, some guys are just amazing. If I went down the list I could point out several, especially in the Truck Series because I've had more chances to race against those guys. Some days, certain guys definitely race harder than everyone else. I would have to say, though, in the Truck Series one of the hardest racers out there is Shane Hmiel. He's a hard racer. In the Cup Series, although I haven't had as much experience there, I would have to say Tony Stewart is probably the hardest racer over there. He races really hard.
SCR: How much of a step was it for you to move from USAC and the local tracks to the Truck Series?
EDWARDS: Oh, that was huge. It was really tough for me. The longer races, the radial tires, the heavy vehicles--that was pretty tough. I would say the toughest thing for me, though, was the short track races in those things because a lot of the guys in the upper levels, especially in the Truck Series right now, a lot of them came from short-track Late Model racing. Going to places like Memphis or Richmond or Martinsville, which is a real finesse deal where you race right around the bottom, those are tough for me. That's the hardest part, the hardest adjustment to make. That plus the longer races.
SCR: What advice would you give to the local racers out there? A lot of our readers are local guys battling every week and looking for a break like you were doing just a few years ago. What would you tell those guys?
EDWARDS: I would tell them to find a series you can race in that's economical, that fits your budget. I was a dirt racer because it's close enough to home and I could race and afford to have a competitive car. When we decided to make the step up, the Silver Crown series was the step that was most logical to me because it cost the least to run on it per race. You didn't do pit stops. You only have to buy three tires a week. So I would say to try to run a series where you can have a competitive vehicle, race the longest races you can find, at as many different tracks as you can afford to race at, and soak up as much as you can, learn as much as you can about it, and just try to make the best of every race. That's what it is in the trucks or a Cup car or whatever, at the end of the day as a driver you can't afford to make any mistakes. You have to make the most out of whatever you have. Other than that, go race anything you can as much as you can. Focus in on it, pay attention, and take it seriously because you can get better at it if you try. I just feel extremely fortunate. Every race I go to in this deal, I'm living a dream. I used to sit in my garage at home and work on that dirt car with this as my goal. I mean, I broke down one time in my garage I was so upset because I thought, man, this thing is never going to work out. I guess the message would be that it's definitely worth it for some kid out there working on his Street Stock or whatever. If you can do it, just keep doing it, and it'll work out.