NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Carl Edwards, who broke a 70-race winless streak with his win at Phoenix International Raceway last Sunday, was actually worried about hitting his trademark backflip following his win.
“I was actually very worried at Phoenix because I hadn't done a back flip for a long time, and when I was standing up on the window I actually slipped a little bit,” admitted Edwards in a recent NASCAR teleconference. “I don't know if they showed that on TV or not, but I thought, man, don't fall down when you do this because you're really going to look stupid. Yeah, it seems to be easier to do the louder the crowd is, so if the crowd is cheering really hard, it's usually something pretty simple to do.”
Something else that has been simple for Edwards to do: gelling with new crew chief Jimmy Fennig, who comes to Edwards from Matt Kenseth. “The first time I sat down with Jimmy Fennig when Jack (Roush) told us that we were going to work together last year, and it was before the Homestead race last season,” remembers Edwards. “Matt Kenseth was the driver of Jimmy's race car at that time, and I went into his office at the shop, which was right next to the surface plate where they do the final scaling and everything of the race cars, and we talked a little bit about the upcoming season. We talked about each other's families and we kind of just shared kind of our way of doing things and our way of looking at racing, and I said, hey, let's go look at the race car, and we walked out there, and I started to look around at the race car that he was preparing for Matt Kenseth to go to Homestead, and I was like, oh, hey, that's really neat, that's really neat, and I started looking under the hood a little bit to poke around, and he said, okay, okay, that's enough. I said, what do you mean? He said, we're still racing against you this weekend. This isn't your race car. I was like, seriously? He said, yeah, let's go look at something else.”
Edwards like Fennig’s approach toward the No. 99 Ford Fusion team at Roush-Fenway Racing. “He doesn't come to me and say this is the best way to do it, he just says this is how I'd like to do it,” said Edwards. “This is what I want to do, this is how I do it, and can you do it, and it's all been stuff that I think is really good. As we run some more of these races I think we'll – like anything, we'll grow and we'll change things, but I was really, really pleased at Phoenix with how we worked together, how he managed the information exchange throughout the weekend and how he managed the time. So I think it's going to be very good.”
Edwards wasn’t expecting things to come together as fast as they did with Fennig, but he was looking forward to Las Vegas this weekend. “I know this is probably wrong to admit, but I didn't really have Phoenix marked on the calendar as the one that we were going to go win the first race,” explained Edwards. “I was looking at Vegas as the race that would be the really good one. So I'm really excited about Vegas, and after seeing the pit crew perform at Phoenix, I feel like I'm going to Vegas to win this thing this weekend. We tested very well at Charlotte. We'll know tomorrow really where we stack up, and if it's anything like Charlotte, I think we're going to be real tough at Vegas. I think we are going to be good. I have a real high expectation there. I hope we can meet it.”
The Sprint Cup Series qualifies for the Kobalt Tools 500 on Friday at 3:40 p.m. PT, with the race going green on Sunday at noon PT. Follow this weekend’s action at www.nascar.com.
Quotes in this piece provided by NASCAR.
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