FORD FUSION WINS FIRST NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
- Carl Edwards captured the 23rd NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win of his career with today’s victory.
- The win is the 135th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series triumph for car owner Jack Roush.
- Ford Racing’s five wins this season is only one less than the entire total for 2013.
- The win is Ford’s seventh win at Sonoma Raceway and 623rd all-time series victory.
Ford Finishing Order
- 1st – Carl Edwards
- 8th – Marcos Ambrose
- 9th – Greg Biffle
- 16th – Joey Logano
- 21st – David Gilliland
- 22nd – Brad Keselowski
- 23rd – Aric Almirola
- 24th – Michael McDowell
- 31st – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
- 36th – David Ragan
CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion – VICTORY LANE INTERVIEW – “That’s a moment I’ll never forget, to be standing in victory lane and to have held off Jeff Gordon with all of the success he’s had here and in our sport. It’s just really, really special. I’m living proof that right here that whatever it is you’re doing just keep doing it and don’t ever give up because somehow things can work out. I’m just very fortunate.” IS IT MORE SPECIAL HOLDING OFF SOMEONE LIKE JEFF? “Literally, I’m a fan of this sport and I grew up watching Jeff Gordon go through those esses and watching how he drove his car, so to be able to hold him off like that means a lot. I’m glad there wasn’t one or two more laps in the race because I don’t know if it would have worked out that way, but it definitely meant a lot to have Jeff Gordon in my mirror.”
MARCOS AMBROSE – No. 9 DeWalt Ford Fusion – “It was a handful. We came here with a strategy because we had the fastest car for a couple of laps, but it would fade away really bad. We came with a really soft package and I was hanging onto it all day, too. We’re gonna keep working at this place to try and make ourselves better, but congratulations to Carl. He did a great job in the race and it’s great to see Ford back in Victory Lane.” WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS GOING INTO TODAY AFTER THE WAY YOU QUALIFIED YESTERDAY? “We fought hard and led some laps and got ourselves into position at the end. That’s all we had. I was just hanging on at the end. I burned the rear tires up and the front tires up and just didn’t have enough for them.” CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR DAY OVERALL? “I’ll take eighth. We came here with a commitment to try to look after our tires and had a package that wasn’t necessarily the fastest, but we thought might have kept our tires better than the rest. It didn’t quite work out that way. We had to hang on all day. The car was loose. The car was tight. The car was sliding around, but that’s what Sonoma is all about.” WHAT ABOUT THE TIRES TODAY? “They’re always gonna fall hard around a track like this with all this horsepower and this big track, but what we struggled with was we lost balance as well. I’d plow the front and then I’d start getting greedy trying to get more and then I burned the rear tires off and had nothing left.”
GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 3M Ford Fusion – “I thought we definitely had a top-five car, but every time the caution came out. We were coming to pit that lap and the caution was out and that just killed us all day, but that’s the way it goes.” A NICE BOUNCE BACK FROM LAST WEEK? “This is probably more about the driver than aero, but it was good to get a positive result and now we’ll see how we can do next week at Kentucky.”
CARL EDWARDS PRESS CONFERENCE
JACK ROUSH – Car Owner – “Carl was able to win today because Jimmy had him in a fast car and Carl was motivated and able, and Jimmy stopped him on lap 70 and got him good track position and it all came together. As I said on the pit box today, I remember so many times I’ve been to Sears Point, now Sonoma Raceway, but 30 years ago in 1984 I brought my SCCA Trans-Am car out here with a local driver, Greg Pickett drove it, and we won the race – the first road race that I ever entered at Sears Point and we were able to win on that occasion. It was good karma today. Carl had been good in practice. The car did not have a characteristic that was unsettling to him and they focused on forward driver and had good brakes and it all came together.”
JIMMY FENNIG, Crew Chief – “Anytime you can get a win it’s great in our business, whether it’s a road course or oval. The strategy doesn’t change with two wins now. I think we just stay with the plan we’ve been doing. We’ve been racing and trying to improve our mile-and-a-half program and we’ve been working really hard at it, but to have two wins right now and be locked in really feels good because it also adds some bonus points too. I feel good about it and it feels good to win here at Sonoma.”
CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion – “It means a lot to me – a lot. My road racing progression, it’s been a pretty long climb from when Jack let Boris come to VIR – the two-seater – and basically we ran off in the dirt a bunch all day and Boris taught me all the basics of road racing. To be able to come here and win this race 10 years later is really special, so a lot of hard work has gone into this and to be locked in the Chase is huge. Now we can focus really hard on our program for the final 10 races and the real special part to me was to stand in victory lane at Sonoma and have Jeff Gordon come and give me a hand shake as the second-place finisher means a lot. I grew up watching Jeff Gordon and specifically watching how he drove this race track and all the successes he’s had here, so that’s really super. It’s something I’ll never forget.”
JACK ROUSH CONTINUED – THOUGHTS ON WINNING WITH CARL AND MARK MARTIN. “We’ve really enjoyed our success road racing. Mark Martin was a good road racer and, of course, the Trans-Am and the SCCA programs we’ve had – the IMSA programs we had before that that took us to this race track – was always a lot of fun to do that. There’s an expectation on my part. I come out here and I tell the guys you have to get a lot of toe-out to get this thing to turn and you need lots of toe-in in the back to get the forward bite, and there are certain things about the race track that are unique and they apply to all the cars that we’ve had here over the years. But it was good to watch Carl. I know Ford Motor Company has helped us with their test in Utah and made that available to us (Miller Motorsports Park). Carl was out there, so there was a lot of effort that went into getting Carl to the point where he could do what he needs to do and trying to get the car what it needs to do. The brakes did a nice job today. Brakes are really important here.”
CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED – DID YOU FEEL IT WAS JUST A MATTER OF TIME BEFORE THIS HAPPENED HERE? “Not really because every year is different. You come out here and there are always people who figure something out. There’s so much time between these races that it leaves a lot of room for innovation and improvement, so you never really know what to expect. But after practice on Friday I got out of the car to walk to the hauler and I told Richie, the car chief, ‘I think we’re gonna win this thing.’ The car was driving pretty well and we seemed to have pretty good lap times, but halfway through the race I did not think we were gonna win it. We were not doing well. I was driving my heart out and I wasn’t going anywhere, but Jimmy made the right adjustments. He made the right call to get us out front and then he reminded me to leave nothing out there and to drive as hard as I could and that was what I needed.”
WERE YOU WONDERING HOW YOU WERE GOING TO KEEP JEFF BEHIND YOU? “We were really good in the braking zones, so I felt pretty good about that. How close did he get here in turn 11? Three feet? I kind of felt he’d be right there. What I did was I made a couple of mistakes that final lap. My tires were really worn out. I was having a hard time getting the car to turn and if I didn’t do everything perfectly he would really close on me, and I didn’t do everything perfectly. So the biggest thing is I just wanted to get down here to 11, get stopped, get turned without getting hit and I figured if I could do that it would be OK. But, yeah, I’m glad it was 110-lap race and not 111. It would have been a tough last lap if we had to go one more.”
DOES THIS GIVE THE TEAM SOME CONFIDENCE AFTER LAST WEEK’S RACE AT MICHIGAN? “These two guys sitting next to me they give everything they’ve got all the time and even though we’re not obviously running as well as we want at the bigger tracks, like Jack said, we prepared for this race the very best we could and we’ll prepare for Kentucky the best we can. So we’ve got to go out and take advantage of the places where we run well and this year it’s been the short tracks and the road course it looks like we’ve got that program going pretty well, so from my perspective what I see as a driver is just everybody working very hard and we get the results on the days when we can, but I hope it picks up the organization a little bit – this win – from last week because that was really the low point of the season, in my opinion.”
THERE IS A LOT OF STUFF SWIRLING ABOUT YOUR PLANS FOR NEXT YEAR BUT THIS TEAM SEEMS TO BE ABLE TO FOCUS ON THE RACES. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT HOW YOU GUYS ARE ABLE TO DO THAT? “I think you guys worry about that more than we do. We come out here and race every week and the mission is to win the championship, so for me it’s really simple. I just have to give the best I can every week and that’s it.”
JIMMY FENNIG CONTINUED – CAN YOU TALK ABOUT STICKING TO YOUR PLAN TODAY? “Early on we got beat up. We got beat by it. We had a plan to start with. We worked on a plan with Carl, Jack, the engineers and we talked about it yesterday and we talked about it this morning about doing a two-stop race. And kind of what happens is you have to stick to your plan going in, but even at the beginning the yellow came out and we got trapped out there and that hurt us quite a bit. But what we did at the end there, we were gonna be pitting on lap 71 and we figured we would come a lap early because we know if we need to stretch it – because we worked on fuel mileage with Carl on Friday in practice – so we came one lap early and fortunately the yellow came out as soon as we were done with our pit stop, so we stuck with our plan. We were getting beat up out there, but at the end result it worked out to our favor.”
DID YOU THINK WITH ALL THE CAUTIONS AT THE END YOU MIGHT HAVE TO DEVIATE FROM THAT PLAN? “At the end there once we pitted on lap 70 and got tires the cautions were coming out and I didn’t think where we were – we were in the front – even people like the 88 got tires and he was coming up too, but once you get going so far the tires start balancing back out, and plus he was far enough behind where he’s got to abuse his stuff up pretty good. We kind of held to our plan and just stayed right with it.”