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NASCAR Nextel Cup
September 23, 2007

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CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion (finished 1st) – “We unloaded on Friday, the Office Depot Ford Fusion was fast. I wish we could’ve started the race right then, it was so good. I’m just really proud of Bob and the guys and all the work they’ve been doing back at the shop and making these cars go quick, and when we unload, because everyone knows how tough it is to drive around here with a car that’s not fast. So, just had a good time – the only trouble we had during the day was the throttle pedal was hanging up early but we came in and fixed that, I think on lap 190 or somewhere in there, and from then on the car was just great. We just fought back and had a great battle with Matt. Hated to see him lose an engine. He easily would’ve been first or second today, and then there at the end battling with Mark. Those restarts were a real stresser, but kind of just decided to have fun with it. And Greg was pretty fast at the end, had tires; I did not need another restart, I was pretty excited that it went green.”

BOB OSBORNE – crew chief, No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion – “We made a decision there, second-to-last stop to stay out, and a lot of the guys chose to come in and that kind of put a big scare into us, having to stop under a green flag, and a lot of the guys got to run 15 to 20 laps longer, so that was pretty shaky for us, I felt. But, we got the cautions to go our way, and at the end of the race I had no intentions of asking Carl to pit – even though we had conversations about it, I was trying to mislead there. I think Carl did a great job and it was just a little tense at the end with all the red flags and cautions.”

JACK ROUSH – owner, No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion – “I’m thinking, as I watched this race unfold, what my impression of the Car of Tomorrow was and how apprehensive I was early in the year with the way we had trouble getting up to speed. We got behind testing, didn’t do as much testing as some others had, that was my fault because I didn’t commission the test. So, we started off with the Car of Tomorrow in a great weakness for us, and the car of today being something that we thought would ride us through, and my biggest concern now is whether the cars of today, we maybe haven’t given as much attention to as we might have throughout the year, are going to let us down in the Chase. I’ve always got to be looking for something that is wrong. I really have a lot of trouble with the fact that we broke that engine in Matt’s car tonight, because unless everybody else has a problem, that is going to be one of things that will be hard to overcome throughout the remaining races. The Car of Tomorrow, for us, is certainly coming of age, and I look forward to those races, Phoenix and Martinsville, I don’t know if we have another one beyond that – oh, and not looking forward to Talladega with it because I understand the drivers don’t see very well out the back. But there’s going to be a lot of twists and turns in what remains, but for today we’re going to celebrate the fact that we had great cars, the Roush Fenway Ford Fusions were certainly heard from today, and we look forward to what the rest of the Chase is going to bring.”

EDWARDS, continued – THIS IS YOUR THIRD VICTORY OF THE YEAR AND JACK ROUSH’S 100TH IN THE CUP SERIES. “I didn’t realize it was your 100th win.”

ROUSH, continued – “I didn’t, either. The track owner here that passed away last year, Melvin Joseph, was a Ford man all the way and he really enjoyed celebrating every time we won here – it feels like we won eight or 10 times at Dover, Delaware, for him. This is where he’d have wanted us to win our 100th win, and he wanted a Ford win, I’m sure.”

EDWARDS, continued – “It’s an honor, and I’m just glad we did it.”

WHAT ABOUT BEING ONLY THREE POINTS OUT OF THE LEAD? “I think this Chase is turning into what people predicted, the depth is such that I think you’re going to have to win races. We’re two races in and guys had bad luck and all that stuff, to have the top seven guys within 30-something points – is that right? – that’s insane. I think it’s going to be an extremely tough Chase. You’re going to have to have win races to be leading the points at the end. And, I wouldn’t have said that before it started, really, looking at the past Chases, but this one’s for sure that way.”

YOU SEEMED TO BE IN THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME. DID YOU HAVE ANY PROBLEMS WITH ANYTHING? “I was always the guy who – Bob can tell you this – I’m a pretty big micro-manager and I like to know everything that’s going on. And I used to do everything on my own race cars – weld everything up and check everything, and now I just pretty much leave it up to Bob. I’m realizing the value of having a good team and being able to lean on them to make decision. It gets to the point now in this sport, I feel where if the car’s doing something, really my job – as much as I’d like to tell Bob what do do – my job is to tell him what it’s doing and to have faith that he’ll fix it and do the right thing. So, I’ve been kind of relying on him more lately and I think that’s been working out. I never worried about anything, really. I just left it up to Bob.”

ROUSH, continued – WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON WHAT THE CAR OF TOMORROW HAS DONE IN MAKING THE RACES MORE ENTERTAINING FOR FANS? DO YOU THINK IT’S DONE THAT? “I’m certainly really happy with the Car of Tomorrow today, based on the way our cars worked. We started off with a tremendous deficit at Bristol and then we agonized with that when we went to Richmond, and when we went to Phoenix early on. Early on we certainly didn’t have the information we needed to be able to use it. In the meantime, we took stock of what we were going to face in the championship run, and practiced and tested and did simulations in the shop to be able to get the data that other teams had before we did, to be able to figure out what to do. I’m real happy with it now. The idea that we’re able to have cars as closely organized – the cars, all the manufacturer’s cars are very little variance in the sheet metal and the signatures of the car. So, if I can figure it out, if Bob and Chris Andrews and Max Jones and Chip Bolin can figure out what the car needs and what it’s going to respond to, we’ve got no problem replicating the car. That was not the case for the car of today. I’m not the person to say if that makes great racing and more exciting racing or not. It is going to be the case that as we go to Talladega the cars are going to be closer, I think, then they’ve ever been, and I don’t know whether that’s going to be the kind of show that we’ll be celebrating later or not. As far the safety innovations, we’re real happy to feel like the drivers are safer in the Car of Tomorrow than they have been in the hodge-podge of safety features that we had in the car of today, previously. Again, whether the racing is going to be more exciting to the fans and will keep people riveted to the TV and keep them on their feet at the grandstands, somebody else will have to editorialize from that. I’m just going to do the best I can as Carl and Bob and the rest of us.”

OSBORNE, continued – WHY DO YOU THINK THERE WERE SO FEW CARS ON THE LEAD LAP AT THE END? “The first race at the end of the race there were only 13 cars on the lead lap. I believe the fact that we had a lot of long, well, a couple, long runs and right now there’s a lot of disparity in performance from one car to the next. So, when there’s a handful of cars that are really quick, it shows up a great deal.”

EDWARDS, continued – WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS BEFORE YOUR ORGANIZATION STARTED TESTING THE CAR OF TOMORROW? “I can’t speak for Jack, but I think most of us, we kind of waited because we weren’t sure what exactly what rules package we were going to race. I was kind of in denial; I didn’t think we were going to race these cars as much as we’re getting ready to and we are right now. So I think we all just kind of waited around, which probably wasn’t the right thing to do for the short term, but we didn’t waste any resources on testing before we had to, and it was pretty painful. When we went to Richmond that first time, I remember thinking, ‘We’re out to lunch.’ I’ll never forget watching Denny Hamlin go by me, and I thought, ‘We’ve got a lot of work to do. His car is extremely fast.’ But since then it’s turned around, it’s been great. But, initially, yeah, I remember we went to Max Jones’ office and all the drivers showed up and we said, ‘We’ve got to do something,’ and I think everybody responded great. It’s been a great effort.”

ROUSH, continued – “The stated intention of the tire lease program and the designated tests that NASCAR scheduled was to have everybody on limited tests, on the same tests, to limit the costs that went for the tests and have everybody learn about the Car of Tomorrow together. The reality of it was that NASCAR didn’t manage to close the barn door and didn’t manage to limit the teams from testing, and the teams that had hoarded Goodyear tires from last year and the teams that had initially acquired tires from other manufacturers and went outside the box, they had data that was useful that we didn’t have. As we realized what the state was, we had to do an about face, and I was in some denial as well, with Carl. Of course, initially, we weren’t supposed to be 100 percent on the Car of Tomorrow in 2008 – that’s been a mid-year decision that was made. But we looked at getting up to speed with it, and it’s going to be interesting. We’re going to learn about it as we go. We went to Bristol and then went to Richmond and then went to Phoenix, and we were out to lunch. It was really clear that I had been asleep at the switch. So we had to turn the switch on. Dan Davis and Ford Motor Company gave us technical help, and we got to work, with the idea that we weren’t going to be ready the next time we went to a race, we concentrated on the road races first and got ready for that, had reasonable outings at Sears Point and Watkins Glen, and then got together and finished up the race-track testing that would be useful as we started the Chase.”

EDWARDS, continued – CAN YOU ELABORATE ON YOUR PREVIOUS COMMENT ABOUT HAVING TO WIN RACES TO WIN THIS CHASE? AND WHY ARE THE POINTS SO CLOSE RIGHT NOW? “I don’t know the exact reason, but it just seems like you show up at the race track, and it seems to me just in the short time I’ve been here that this race compared to the first time I came to Dover, it seems like the competition is getting closer and closer and there’s less time split between running first and the guy running 10th. It’s just small little things make a big difference. And I think the Chase has worked out this year, I don’t know if it’s because they included 12 drivers or whatever, but it just seems that there are a lot of guys that extremely fast and running very well. I think that folks are used to the format right now. Everyone has seen it happen and watched how guys have won it. I think everybody’s points racing very well. People aren’t making mistakes. Yeah, we’re only two races in, but I just can’t pick a guy out of the Chase that can’t win the thing, so that’s why I think it’s going to be tough, and it’s showing.”

ROUSH, continued – “The chatter that I’m hearing on the radio, more than the years previous that I’ve been involved with the Chase, the people that aren’t in the Chase are reportedly giving the people that are in the Chase more racing room than in the past. I think that everybody is maturing and it’s going to make for a really good program.”

EDWARDS, continued – ON GETTING THROUGH THIS RACE, A CHASE RACE, UNSCATHED, COMPARED TO THE REST OF THE FIELD. “It’s huge. This place has great potential for disaster. I think everybody saw those wrecks. I saw the replay on the big screen of that one, into turn three, that’s huge. When we came in and fixed the throttle and went back to 24th, or whatever position we went back to, they threw the green flag, I was running, I think, 38th or 40th or something on the race track, and it looked like a mess. It looked like Russian roulette, to me, for a while. I do feel great that we got out of here. There’s just so many things that could happen. There’s no room for error at this race track. So, to start the Chase off with a 12th and win, that’s about as good as we could’ve hoped for. That’s good. I’m proud of it.”

YOU GAINED 60 POINTS ON THE LEAD TODAY. AND, HOW ARE YOU APPROACHING THE CHASE THIS YEAR AS OPPOSED TO 2005? “Two years ago, at New Hampshire, we couldn’t go in and think we were going to win races. I was learning a lot, as a team were not as mature as we are now, so it is a little different – our perspective, my perspective is, for sure. I look at it completely differently now. I look at it it, go out at gain points, we can win the championship, don’t make mistakes, where in 2005 I thought pretty much, ‘The [heck] with it. I’m just going to go race as hard as I can and see what happens.’ So, it’s different in that way, but w did make a 60-point jump today. I believe Jeff Gordon was leading before the day started; today, as long as I can remember, this race was the biggest disparity in speed between Jeff Gordon and myself, with us being faster. So, I don’t think you’ll see too many days like that where guys are much faster than the point leader. I think Jeff and Tony and myself, between the three or four of us that are tied for the lead, I think one of us is going to run really well and that’s why I think you’re going to have to win races to pick up on these guys. I think we got a little bit lucky with that points jump today.”

HOW DIFFICULT WILL BE NOT TO MAKE MISTAKES AND BE PERFECT FOR THE REST OF THE CHASE? “It is very hard not to make mistakes. In the Busch race yesterday I took a gamble, passing a lapped car and got wrecked, and everybody said, ‘Don’t worry. It’s their fault.’ But you’ve got to learn not to put yourself in those positions. It wasn’t Kurt Busch’s fault last week that he had something wrong with his carburetor. It wasn’t his fault this week that he had a flat tire, I heard he had a flat tire and that’s why he wrecked. So, that wasn’t Kurt Busch making mistakes, it was just things that happened. So, my dad told me from Day 1, ‘There’s a thousand ways to lose a race, and you can only control some of them,’ so you just have to control what you can control. You can’t lose because of one of those things you could control, and if one of those things happen, you just have to accept that – just realizing your performance is all you can do. You can’t dwell. Matt Kenseth had an engine blow up today. That is not Matt Kenseth’s fault, you know? Those are tough to swallow, but you just have to move on.”

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