NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and Busch Series driver Carl Edwards visited with Alabama media today during a visit to Birmingham and shared his excitement about the much-anticipated new surface at Talladega Superspeedway, the track's inaugural Talladega 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race set for Saturday, Oct. 7, and of course, the Sunday, Oct. 8 UAW-Ford 500.
Edwards made stops at multiple Birmingham radio stations and appeared on live television this morning before joining print and television media for a luncheon and more interviews at Carrabba's Italian Grill.
Select quotes from interviews today follow:
Q: What comes to mind when I say "Talladega Superspeedway" to you?
A: There's something in the atmosphere when you go to Talladega Superspeedway. It's like no other track on the circuit, because you just know all the people sitting in the grandstands are real, true, race fans. You can just feel it.
Q: What are your thoughts on the new pavement at Talladega Superspeedway and the track's inaugural NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race (Talladega 250 on Saturday, Oct. 7)?
I think the new pavement is going to be exciting. That is a huge surface there; I can't imagine all the work they put into paving it. You already race so close there, just by the nature of the rules and everything. If it is smoother and has more grip and all that, it will just make it even closer, if that is possible. I don't know all the variables but I will be curious to see how it works out.
It's the biggest racetrack on the circuit, so I think it is like, the largest paving undertaking in the history of auto racing. Then they have cranes, holding up pavers and all sorts of crazy stuff. Then they are going to run the truck series first. All the NASCAR guys that don't generally go out and watch the race, they will be up there watching this race. Then we get to go out and race on Sunday. It is going to be a blast.
Q: Have you got a truck ride for Talladega yet?
A: I don't have a truck ride yet. I didn't realize Busch cars aren't racing that weekend. It would be kind of neat if I could talk Jack (Roush) or somebody into letting me drive one of those trucks. Those F-150's run really well. Mark ran well at Daytona. It would be fun.
The truck series is neat for a bunch of reasons. The way the rules package is set up, they race really competitively. There are a lot of different drivers in that series as well. There are guys that are trying to prove themselves, there are new guys and old guys; it's going to be exciting.
Q: Is there still lingering tension between you and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. after the incident in this past weekend's NASCAR Busch Series race?
A: I'm gonna get on him like a spider monkey! (laughs) Isn't that what the kid says in 'Talladega Nights?'
No . . . Dale Jr. is cool; he's a great guy. He does a lot of good things for the sport. He's a great driver. We talked on Sunday and it's all water under the bridge for me and we'll just go on and go racing.
Q: Are you getting anxious about the Chase?
A: It is what it is and all I can do is my best. I work really hard to be the best driver that I can be and either we make the Chase or we don't. It is not going to affect anything that I do. The only thing that could be good about not making it is it allows you try a bunch of things for next year in the next 10 races so you can gear up for a real strong start.