Edwards and Roush Comment on Meeting with Keselowski, Penske and NASCAR
Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion, and car owner Jack Roush participated in a meeting with NASCAR officials and Penske Racing owner Roger Penske and driver Brad Keselowski. Both Roush and Edwards commented on the meeting during Nationwide Series qualifying on Saturday.
CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion – HOW DID THINGS GO IN THE MEETING? “Everything went really well. I think the biggest thing coming out of that meeting is that now, I think, Brad and I understand one another a little better. I think we’re gonna be able to just go forward and go racing, and that’s what this is all about. It was really cool to be able to talk with Jack and Roger and Brad all at once. We laughed. We cried. In the end, I think it’s gonna be good.” WHAT HAS THIS WEEK BEEN LIKE FOR YOU? “This last week was really good, actually, for me. I got to spend a lot of time at home, but I guess this is just part of life and part of the way things go, especially with the way the media works. Sometimes people don’t understand everything that’s going on. It’s interesting, I’ll say that.” WHAT DON’T PEOPLE UNDERSTAND? “Well, for instance, with what happened at Atlanta. It’s very hard for people to understand that the result is far different from the intent. Things can be presented in a lot of ways, but I guess that’s just part of it. What’s most interesting to me is that sometimes it’s about selling ad time or newspapers and it’s not about explaining the story.” YOU HAVE SORT OF BEEN PORTRAYED AS AN ANGRY GUY WHO GETS UPSET. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT? “I addressed that a little bit yesterday. I think some people would like that to be the case, but let me put it this way – it’s real easy to stand back and throw stones at someone and make little chirps and say things that make you feel better about yourself, but, in the end, what I said yesterday holds true. The people who know me know that I’m a very fair person. I guess if my biggest fault is standing up for myself, I’ll take it. They can fault me all day for that.”
JACK ROUSH, Owner – No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion – WHAT WAS TALKED ABOUT INSIDE? “The ultimate responsibility that we all have – that NASCAR has, the owners have and the drivers have – to keep everybody safe in this business. It’s a sport that needs to be contentious, but it needs to be safe too and we’ve got to be careful to respect that line.” DO YOU FEEL THIS IS BEHIND BOTH DRIVERS? “Carl and Brad both said things that would indicate that they’re willing to put it behind them and let bygones be bygones, to give one another racing room, and that’s what’s needed. They need to give one another a little extra room for awhile.” DO YOU AND ROGER SEE EYE TO EYE ON THIS? “Oh, yeah. Roger and I are on the same page.” WHAT DID YOU SAY TO CARL REGARDING THIS SITUATION? “I told him I did not condone what he did, but I did understand it.” DO YOU THINK BRAD AND CARL SEE EYE TO EYE? “No, but I think that they will give one another enough respect that we won’t see another occurrence like that. I think Carl is not likely to have incidental contact with Brad and cause a wreck, and I think Brad is not like to have incidental contact with Carl and cause a wreck in the foreseeable future.” WHAT ABOUT CARL AND KEVIN HARVICK? “I don’t know about that. I didn’t read the things that they said about one another and I’ve had no contact with either one.”
Bob Jenkins, owner of Front Row Motorsports, has had four races to assess his three-car operation, featuring Travis Kvapil, David Gilliland and Kevin Conway. Jenkins spoke about the season to date and the commitment he’s made to NASCAR.
BOB JENKINS, Owner – Front Row Motorsports – WHAT’S YOUR IMPRESSION OF HOW THINGS HAVE GONE SO FAR? “I’ll get the negative out of the way first, but it’s tough getting everybody on the same page. Sometimes we still tend to fall into operating as three separate teams and we’re now just really starting to learn how to pull together and learn from each other. Five races into it, we’re starting to figure out that maybe there are some synergies that we haven’t tapped into, and for a team the size of ours, it’s critical that we do it. But we’re learning how to do that. For example, one day this week we had a car at Talladega testing, we had another one on the seven-post, and another one headed to the wind tunnel. At the end of the day, hopefully, all three of those crew chiefs get together and debrief and talk about what they learned and how it can be transferred to the other cars. That’s been the biggest challenge.
“The pleasant part of it is that the two veteran drivers on our team have done well. We’ve had some mechanical issues, but on any given week they’ve done what we thought they would do. Kevin, as a rookie, has really exceeded my expectations because, for the most part, he’s driven smart and he’s stayed out of people’s way. He’s learning and as I watch him each race, as the race progresses his lap times become more and more consistent and typically by the end he’s been able to run with a pack of cars. That’s our goal for him is just to learn, so when we go back the second time around, he can be more confident and other drivers will have more confidence in him so he can be a little racier then.”
DO YOU FEEL YOUR PROGRESS WILL BE BY LEAPS AND BOUNDS OR SMALL STEPS? “I still think it’s small steps. On any given day, I think the 38 can have a good run. They’re great guys and they’ve got a bunch of talent. The 34 team has been together longer and I think over time we’re gonna see more consistent performance out of them. We’ve had some decent runs with the 38, but we’ve also had some opportunities to improve. My goal is for both of those teams to race up there in the top 25. There was a time last year when we were caught up in the drama of trying to stay a top 35 team, but that’s last year. This year, our focus is to really move beyond that and compete against some guys more in the middle of the pack and not so much concern ourselves with how we hang on to a top 35 spot.”
IT’S ONLY BEEN FOUR RACES, BUT ARE YOU HAVING ANY SECOND THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS THREE-TEAM OPERATION OR ARE YOU ALL IN AT THIS POINT? “I’m all in. I really never have looked back. I was telling my guys last night that I couldn’t be happier with the driver lineup we have. As I saw other drivers get signed or do something else last year, I was so thankful that the two guys I really wanted to drive for me were still available. I know that sounds a little trite, but it’s just the truth. As I’ve done this over the last six years, I’ve watched guys and I’ve watched their attitudes; I’ve watched the way they drive; and I’ve watched their consistency, and I think Doug Yates had it right when he had Travis and David in his cars. To be able to reunite them and get them together on our team has been big for us.”