ROUSH SAYS EDWARDS READY FOR CUP TITLE RUN
Date: Tue Aug 05, 2008 8:12 pm
Topic: DRIVER AND TEAM NEWS
Part of the benefit -- or the burden, depending on your perspective -- of having Carl Edwards win a Sprint Cup race is getting to hear his car owner, the irrepressible Jack Roush, expound on the state of things.
And Sunday, following Edwards' victory at Pocono, was no different.
In a world where the only certainty is that things will be uncertain, it is a certainty that the eminently quotable Roush will be responsible for a few more trees -- bound for the newsprint mill -- being felled or more than a few buckets of digital ink being spilled.
And that's even more of a case this season, which has been a roller coaster for Roush:
Edwards has four victories but he'll only get credit for three, thanks to his Las Vegas cheating penalty, when the field is set for the final 10-race playoff.
No other Roush Fenway driver has won and only one of Roush's four other cars -- Greg Biffle -- is in the top 12 in points, the cutoff for participation in the playoff. Perennial contender and 2003 champion Matt Kenseth is 11 points out in 13th.
Thus Roush hasn't gotten a lot of face time. When he had the opportunity on Sunday, he took full advantage, firing away on:
The tire fiasco at Indianapolis: "I give my thanks to everybody in the media for not calling me about the race we had at Indianapolis, which was just a debacle. That was just a horrible race. I don't know what I would have said if somebody called me last week, but I'm sure I would be apologizing for it today."
On Edwards' ability to win the Sprint Cup: "I'll say this and he may slap me, and he can if he wants, but he wasn't ready to win a championship, I think, until this year. I think this year he can go head-to-head with Jimmie Johnson or Tony Stewart or with anybody else . . . and I think he can close the deal. The championship ultimately winds up normally being determined by how well you do when things go bad."
On Kenseth's frustrating season: "The 17 has got a lot of speed, and Matt and Chip are doing a nice job. I just hope that the races in front of them and the way they unfold won't end up leaving them on the outside."
On his behavior during tense strategy moments on Edwards' pit box: "I was there actually interfering with (crew chief) Bob (Osborne) a little bit. I was a little anxious that if he (Edwards) went out and got himself a 7-, 8-, 9-second lead and a caution came, or a green-white-checkered . . . he might not have enough tire left as well as enough gas. I was concerned . . . and some of that manifested itself into some anxiety that I introduced that was probably unnecessary."
On the confidence on Edwards' team: "The confidence will manifest itself in better pit stops than you'll have if everybody is frustrated and dragging around. They'll come together and Bob will be able to get more energy out of them and be able to channel the energy in very positive ways."
On the strategy-fueled discord between Edwards and Osborne: "I wasn't aware about the shouting match, but the crew chief is empowered in our world to make the final decision. He's the captain of the ship. The driver knows more about what's going on right in front of him as it relates to who has gone down pit road and who didn't go, but Bob made a courageous call. . . . He still needs to make that decision. Whatever he feels is right is what we need to do. That's his job."
No pressure there.
Then again, working for Roush is an exercise in constant pressure. Pressure to perform, pressure to win races and championships. Not everyone can deal with the pressure and Roush's relentless pursuit of perfection, Kurt Busch being the prime example.
But Edwards is thriving and now the ultimate challenge -- winning the championship -- is staring him squarely in the face. And Roush being Roush, he took the opportunity to remind Edwards of his expectations.
"Carl and Bob are in the same place with the best of the best," Roush said. "And unless you've got that maturity of wisdom and presence and experience gives you that -- within the organization and having a lot of speed in the car -- being able to win a lot of races is not gonna do it because when things go bad, you're gonna disintegrate. And Carl's gonna be ready to do that this year, and I'm real confident." - floridatoday.com