Edwards & Roush - Pocono II Friday Media Visit

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Edwards & Roush - Pocono II Friday Media Visit
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JACK ROUSH, Car Owner – No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion

“Words can’t describe how happy all of Roush Fenway is to be sitting here with Carl in this circumstance and having him agree for 2012 and beyond to extend his association with us. I consider it as a positive indication for the analysis that Carl did, a positive indication for all of the personnel and the process that we have at Roush Fenway to build our cars, to build our engines and to organize ourselves and train our pit crew and do the rest of it. Carl’s evaluation and his questions were most exhaustive and certainly the most in-depth of any that I’ve had in my 24 years and I’m glad we made it through that and he came to this determination. I appreciate the patience that my sponsors have had for the 99 car as they weren’t sure what was going to happen and they continued to wait on us, to have their discussions about what would happen. Since this is a watershed year when most of the sponsorships are up for renewal they’ve given us the time to let Carl have the time to reach his conclusion. I can’t say how much I look forward to working with Carl in the foreseeable future and our Fords to make him a champion in the Cup Series and multiple championships hopefully and to win a lot of races. Thanks, Carl.”

Carl Edwards, Roush Fenway Racing Ford
Carl Edwards, Roush Fenway Racing Ford

Photo by: Ashley Dickerson, ASP Inc.

CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion

“Thank you, Jack. I’m really excited. We’re excited to go out here and try to win this championship. I appreciate Jack and everyone at Roush Fenway Racing for giving me the time that I needed to make my decisions and to look at everything. I can’t say how much I respect Jack and everyone at Roush Fenway and the process, contrary to what a lot of you guys thought, the process went pretty well. We got along real well throughout it and there’s a lot of respect. I’m just excited to move forward. This team is in a position that we’ve never been in before. We feel that we’re fast for the right reasons and we have the opportunity to go out here and win this championship, so I’m glad it’s behind us. I’m glad to be here racing and going for the championship.”

WHAT DID IT COME DOWN TO IN THE END AND WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO STAY? “First of all, I wish I would have never confirmed that our term was up because it would have been a lot quieter. I looked at a lot of things, but, at the end of the day, our negotiations and our deals and the things that I look at competitively are private matters and I appreciate you guys respecting that.”

JACK ROUSH CONTINUED – WHERE ARE YOU WITH SPONSORS NOW AND DO YOU THINK YOU’LL BE ABLE TO KEEP FOUR CARS NEXT YEAR? “As far as the 99 car, we just opened negotiations in the last 48 hours with the existing sponsors to see what’s there. There are a couple of new sponsors, potentially, in the wings that we can attract and embrace and have them get involved. It’s a reality today that we see that given the economic circumstance and the complexity of the racing and how many people it takes behind a team, I passed out the mid-season prize money portion to all the team on Tuesday. I think we had 416 folks in Roush Fenway that were involved and I worked for about 55 minutes giving checks out and celebrating and thanking and I finally got myself down to 14 that were left and I said, ‘You know, my highwater mark in my first year with Mark was 14 people,’ so this thing is extraordinarily expensive, it’s extraordinarily complex and in today’s economic environment I think it’s beyond the means and the interest of most sponsors that would be involved to take the whole car, so we’re sorting out through the sponsors to find out who the anchor will be for the 99 and then we’ll fill in around that with the other sponsors that have got an interest. We don’t expect to have a shortage of sponsors for Carl. As we finish the 99’s program, we’ll continue with discussions to people who are committed to our programs for the cars that are left, but everything is pretty much in a state of flux. Since the negotiations are private and they are ongoing, I choose not to speculate on who would be in and who would be out and who the new players would be, but suffice it to say that there’s a list that I believe to be sufficient in terms of interest and the money that they represent that I think we’re gonna be fine with four cars.”

CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED – HOW CLOSE DID YOU COME TO DOING SOMETHING DIFFERENT? “At the end of the day we went through the process, worked really hard and this is the outcome that happened and I’m proud to be here. I’d really rather not discuss the actual process. I can say, just like I said earlier, that I learned a ton, I learned a lot through this process. I learned a lot about Roush Fenway Racing. It was amazing the things I learned. I learned a lot about Jack as a person. I learned a lot about myself and what’s important to me. I learned a lot about my competitors, about you guys in the media, and I’m really appreciative for all those folks who were patient with me and took the time, and a lot of folks, a lot of folks in here included, I talked to them about this decision and the support that I received was huge, so I really, really appreciate that from the competitors as well. At the end of the day, we were in a position right now where our cars are fast, we have chances to win almost every week, and the opportunity to go out and win this championship, to continue my partnership with Jack, to continue it with Ford, with the sponsors that we have, it’s an honor to be in this position, so I’m really happy with the way this turned out.”

JACK ROUSH CONTINUED -- HOW MANY SLEEPLESS NIGHTS DID YOU HAVE OVER THIS? “There were some sleepless nights. I think Carl and I both got a better night’s sleep on Friday than we probably had for awhile, but I want to say that if Carl had made the decision not to come back I was gonna feel really stupid for having shown him all the things – we lined up every manager and every brilliant person we’ve got among the 416 there are a lot of them that are just really superior at what they do. He had a chance to consider the breadth and the length of every person and every thought that we had on what would be good going forward and I would feel horribly exposed if he had not come back, but the thing about the cars that Carl spoke to, there has been a time in my 24 years several times when we’ve had a front suspension kinematics that was working better or we had an advantage on our engine, or we had an advantage with aero or Ford had given us a car that was smaller or had better downforce than our contemporaries, but we don’t have that right now. NASCAR’s rules and the number of inspectors that they’ve got and the number of templates that you’ve got that you have to conform with having everybody now on the same engine page, we don’t have a single thing that we’d say that is a definitive reason why we’re as competitive as we are, but the fact is we don’t have a weakness and that’s the thing that makes me feel really good about our prospects going forward is the fact that we don’t have a weakness. We don’t have anything glaring that is deficient. Every once in a while you get a piece of good news like at Daytona and the restricted races this year our cooling system with the new FR9 has proven to be better than suspected, but it’s not something that’s outside the bounds of what everybody else has got. It’s not something that I’m gonna lose when somebody else catches up. The thing that’s the biggest secret for me and the thing that gives me the most satisfaction is the fact that our thing is so strong and so deep and is so solid.”

Jack Roush
Jack Roush

Photo by: Motorsport.com / ASP Inc.

CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED – WAS IT ODD TO SEE YOURSELF AS THE CENTER OF ATTENTION? “What I did from the beginning of this is I said, ‘What would I do if money weren’t a factor and what would I do if I didn’t care what one person thought about my decision?’ A decision that’s this important to me and my family for all the hard work that I’ve put in for the path that I’ve taken, for me personally, I act as my own agent, I make my own decisions, I understand my own deals and the decision was made under those thoughts. So that’s what made this more simple for me and that’s how I came to the conclusion I came to. Whenever I’d start feeling that pressure start creeping in from the outside I’d think, ‘OK, let’s get back to the basics here. Where can I win the most championships? And what would I do if other people’s opinions weren’t a factor?’ So that helped me a ton and I think my family and Jack’s patience and Jack’s support, all of those things helped me do that. When I talked to Jack on the phone and he said, ‘Look, Carl, you do whatever you think is best for you.’ He said those words to me and that meant the world. It meant that I didn’t have that pressure to do something for any reason other than what I thought was best. That was huge.”

JACK ROUSH CONTINUED – YESTERDAY YOU SAID SOMETHING ABOUT FORD COMING IN WITH AN UNPRECEDENTED INCENTIVE AND STOCK PROGRAM FOR CARL. HOW BIG OF AN IMPACT DO YOU FEEL THAT MADE? “I really misspoke yesterday. The arrangement between Ford and Carl is one that involves his personal services agreements and the other things. I presumed from something that I was told that Kevin Kennedy had said that Ford had made a release and I spoke to some things that I didn’t have firsthand knowledge of that I believed to be true that may not be true, and it certainly wasn’t my responsibility or my prerogative to put it out there, so I don’t have anything further to say on that.”

CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED – “Let me clarify that. There was no last-minute money. The idea that some people have run with is, first of all the money numbers that I read are not correct. That’s all I’ll say about that. And if anybody who wants to publish anymore of those numbers would like to come ask me if they’re correct in person, I’ll tell you they’re not correct. And then second, the deal with Ford there was no difference in the deal at the last minute or anything. My deal with Ford is that I believe in the company. I believe in the products that they make and just like everyone else at Ford and Roush Fenway Racing, if Ford benefits, I have the potential to benefit from that success too. But there was no last-minute influx of money or anything like that. That’s a false assumption.”

JACK ROUSH CONTINUED – “I’d like to make one follow-up comment on that on the money thing. The one thing that Carl and I did not have a discussion about at any point in the negotiation or consideration was money. Money was not a factor from my side, from the Roush Fenway side, and from what I could see it was not a factor from Carl’s side. That did not weigh into the decision Carl made.”

CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED – THE CROWD AT INDY WAS PROBABLY LESS THAN HALF OF WHAT IT WAS FOUR YEARS AGO. ANY THOUGHTS ON HOW TO GET THE BRICKYARD BACK TO WHAT IT WAS? “What were fuel prices four or five years ago? I know that the people that I live around in Columbia, Missouri, they love racing. They’re more excited about NASCAR than they’ve ever been, but every fuel station I drive by gas prices are $3.55 a gallon – in Columbia, Missouri. It supposedly went up another 10 cents the other day, so when I look at Indy I look at it as you’ve got to say, ‘Is the glass half-full or half-empty?’ It looks half-full to me. The fact that we had 160,000 people or something like that – 130,000 or 135,000 – that’s a huge number of people to come out and enjoy that race. And I feel a lot of the people who didn’t come out there to the race are probably doing exactly what all of us are doing thinking, ‘Hey, what’s the best thing I can do for my family? Maybe we’ll go to another race this year.’ There’s a race down in Kentucky that had people line up for 20 miles. That’s not too far away. There’s a race there at Chicago and other races that are close, so I feel that we should be proud of the fact that 130,000-something people came to that race track. That’s how I feel about it.”

JACK ROUSH CONTINUED – “My comments on that as it relates to Indy is I think it’s a low-water mark. Indy has gone through the initial bubble like Kentucky has gone through of having it be something that’s new and fresh and has its novel attraction. Indy has been there. The brickyard has been there long enough now that the novel attraction is over and I think as our economy turns and as people get more comfortable with their job situation and have more money that they’re willing to spend on entertainment, I think that will return to a higher figure. Whether it gets to be 400,000-500,000 paid admissions I’m not sure it’ll ever achieve that, but certainly I think 130,000 is a low-water mark.”

CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED – CAN YOU SHED ANY LIGHT ON THIS LAST WEEK THAT CONVINCED YOU IT WAS THE RIGHT TIME AND RIGHT DECISION FOR YOU? “Not really. I think for the reasons that we talked about overall. I just decided this is the right place for me and if I would have made that decision three months ago, I might have had more second thoughts, I might have felt not as sure about it, so, to me, the fact that I had the time that I had and I had the opportunities, and Jack being as open as he was and showing me things that were going on. Ford, with the way they treated me through the process and showed me things that were gonna happen in the future, all of that was a risk on their part because they didn’t have to show me those things, but it took time for me to come to that conclusion. There wasn’t one thing at the end that changed my mind or made my decision different.”

Carl Edwards, Roush Fenway Racing Ford
Carl Edwards, Roush Fenway Racing Ford

Photo by: Ashley Dickerson, ASP Inc.

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE PEOPLE FROM FORD WHO DID REACH OUT TO YOU? THEY’VE SHOWN LOYALTY TO THE WOOD BROTHERS AND JACK. HOW MUCH DID LOYALTY WEIGH INTO YOUR DECISION? “That’s part of what I said earlier about the way I made the decision. I made the decision taking money out of the equation and what people would think out of the equation. Now, the fact that Ford has such a presence and they have for so many years, that’s huge. But, to me, this was really about where could I be the most successful? Where could I perform the best? That’s what this was about.”

WHAT ABOUT FORD’S REPUTATION AS A COMPANY? “The way that Ford has run their business and the things that they’ve done the last five years, I think everyone worldwide can look at that and say, ‘That’s amazing.’ I mean, they sacrificed when it was time to sacrifice. They made the hard decisions when they had to and they’re reaping the benefits now. They’re doing very well. I believe everybody in the company that I’ve spoken with firmly believes in doing things the right way and that’s something that is very important to me. I’m very proud to represent them, so I’m very glad that I’ll be driving a Ford next year.”

JACK ROUSH CONTINUED – “The thing about Ford as it relates to a team owner like myself is to have the confidence that you’ve got a partner that is going to be with you. The Ford Motor Company was founded and the support from the banks and the financial institutions that backed Henry Ford followed the success that he had in a race at St. Clair Shores, Michigan in 1901. So that success and the fact that they’ve continued to market their products down through the decades with racing – back in the thirties my dad drove a Model T in the fairgrounds and drove through a guardrail fence. He told me that I should not think about driving one of these cars because I might get a splinter in my posterior, but Ford has been there for the people that have had a motorsports interest and they’ve used it to market their cars and to advance their technologies for 100 years, and they’re gonna be there for Carl and I for as long as we want to race.”

CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED – DID YOU NOTICE ANY ISSUES AT THE SHOP WITH THE GUYS ON YOUR CREW AS FAR AS THEIR EMOTION? “I think everybody is really excited, I think all of us are. I know I am and Jack is and I spent a little bit of time with the guys talking with them about it today and everybody feels the same way as best as I can tell that , ‘Hey, man, that was getting kind of stressful. I’m really glad we’re moving beyond that.’ I think everybody kind of has that same feeling, so that’s good.”

JACK ROUSH CONTINUED – “And I don’t often agree with Jeff Gordon on very much, but the fact (Carl starts laughing) – well on some things, on the important things I agree with Jeff, but we don’t see our manufacturer affiliations the same, but, at any rate, when Jeff commented and I think he comments were directed that if Carl did make his decision to leave that it would almost certainly be a distraction to his championship efforts this year, I don’t think that anybody that’s involved in this business would not see that as not a likelihood and we’re able to put that behind us now and there was no damage done to the negotiations because he’s still leading the points and we’ve got six opportunities to win races between now and the Chase.”

CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED – “I’m really proud of the fact that we went through all of this and we’re leading the points, we haven’t missed a beat and we’re able to keep digging. I’m proud of that.”

By: ford racing

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