Roush Fenway Drivers Address The Media At Pocono Raceway

The Roush Fenway Racing team of Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle and David Ragan all conducted Q&A sessions with the media on Friday at Pocono Raceway.

Roush Fenway Drivers Address The Media At Pocono Raceway

Roush Fenway Drivers Address The Media At Pocono Raceway

The Roush Fenway Racing team of Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle and David Ragan all conducted Q&A sessions with the media on Friday at Pocono Raceway. Transcripts of all four press conferences follow:

MATT KENSETH – No. 17 Crown Royal Ford Fusion – WITH YOUR POSITION IN THE STANDINGS ARE YOU MORE INCLINED TO TAKE RISKS AND TRY FOR THE WIN BONUS THESE LAST FEW RACES? “We approach every weekend to finish the best we can. You go into each and every weekend with the thought of winning and doing everything you can to win a race, and I don’t think that really changes. I guess when you look at the last couple of weeks, like last week with the 27 winning and some of those guys in the top five with three of the guys in the top five making it on fuel, I don’t know, do you look at it gambling like that? If we had to re-do the race last week, I think I would have done it the same way that we did it because we had a real fast car. I thought we probably had the second-best car as far as performance and I thought we pitted that race and did our strategy to win the race. We can’t control when cautions come out or when they don’t come out and the circumstances worked out for those guys to be able to win, but I still don’t think we’d do it any different no matter where we were in the points, so we really go into every week with the thought of winning and we try to call the race to win. I don’t think that’s really gonna change down the stretch.” 
IT SEEMS A LOT OF THESE RACES ARE BEING DECIDED BY FUEL MILEAGE, SO DO YOU MAYBE TRY TO STRETCH IT NOW EVEN THOUGH YOU NORMALLY WOULDN’T? “It’s easy to say that after the race is over, but what if there would have been a caution with 20 to go? Then we would have had the strategy to win and they wouldn’t have, so it’s easy to say after the race. It’s like being a Monday morning quarterback. It’s easy to say that because that’s the way it turned out, but in the middle of the race you didn’t know how it was going to go. We spent most of the day up toward the front. We could actually pass pretty good for being there because we were pretty fast and thought we did all the right things to win the race. I don’t think those guys made it by much. If they would have cleaned the grass up one lap earlier, those guys might not have made it and we would have been in a position to win. You don’t know what circumstances you’re going to have, so you make decisions on the fly and make them with what you think your best chances to win is.” 
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON CARL COMING BACK? “I think whatever is best for Carl is what he should have decided to do and obviously after looking at everything he figures this is best for him. I think it’s good for the organization. Carl has been kind of the face for Roush Fenway it seems like the last few years at least, and he brings a lot of excitement and energy to the organization and, obviously, he runs really well and has a big fan and sponsor following. So I think it’s good for the team.” 
WHAT DOES IT DO FOR THE ENTHUSIASM OF ROUSH FENWAY? “That’s a little bit hard for me to answer. That would probably be a good one for Jack or Steve Newmark or Robbie, somebody that’s more involved with the whole company. As far as the 17 team, none of that has been a distraction for us, or I don’t think it directly effects how we run on the race track or anything like that. But I think for probably the 99 team and probably the engineering department, stuff like that, it’s probably a good thing because they’re not thinking about it or asking questions about it or worried about it. They can just think about winning races and championships, so it’s probably good for his group.” 
WHAT’S THE WORST TURN HERE AT POCONO? “I don’t think there’s a worst. They all present their challenges. I’d say, to me, the easiest turn used to be turn one and that, to me, is one of the more challenging turns now because it’s so rough. There’s really only one groove through there that’s very smooth at all and with the high speeds down there and down-shifting it’s really hard to hit that same groove every time and hit that corner perfect, so I think that, for me, is one of the more challenging turns.” 
SHIFTING WAS A BIG TOPIC THE FIRST TIME HERE. IS IT STILL A BIG DEAL THIS TIME AROUND? “I think it really was a fairly big deal in my eyes because there’s not a lot of attrition anymore. Tires don’t blow out very often and cars don’t break very often. There were a few guys who broke transmissions and lost third gear or had other things like that happen, so I think it was a big deal. Having the right equipment in the car, but also managing your shifts on when to shift and when not to, and how careful or aggressive to be because it seemed like the more you shifted, if you shifted in every corner it seemed like your lap time was faster, but then you also had to balance that out between making a mistake and breaking something or making sure you get closer to the end, so I think it’s a big deal. It gives something different to manage and to work on during the race.” 
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 – 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.”
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.” 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.”
GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 3M Ford Fusion – CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR POSITION NOW AND WINNING THIS RACE A YEAR AGO? “Certainly we’ve been trying hard to win a race. We’ve come close a few times and this is a place, Michigan, Bristol, Atlanta are all great tracks for us and we feel like we can win at basically any of these race tracks. We’re trying hard. We’re getting our cars driving good. That’s what we’re working on this next session and I’d love to be part of that Sprint Summer Showdown. That would be exciting for us, but just winning a race and getting in the Chase – a win doesn’t automatically lock you in, but being 13th in points, if we won a race, we would probably move up to 12th or 11th, which would put us right in that mix. We know that’s important and that’s what we try and do every week.” 
YOUR REACTION ON CARL STAYING? “I didn’t know he had re-signed. He has? OK.   This is the first I’ve heard of it. I think it’s great that he’s coming back to our company. I was a little skeptical, I suppose, whether he was going to figuring this is August already. I guess I’ve been through the whole thing and you’ve got to look at competitiveness and what other people have to offer and things like that, so he took his time and made a good decision I think. I haven’t really been at the shop, but I’m relieved because people won’t ask me about it anymore after today. That’s why I’m most relieved about it and to have him back as a teammate. He does a good job getting his car setup and helps. I think we all help each other. It’s been a big help this year. David Ragan is running much better and it really gives us another car to look at and get ideas from, so we all feed off each other. Some weekends everybody puts the 16 setup in their car and some weekends are split up and some weekends we go to the 99 setup and now we’re looking at what the 6 is doing as well, so we have a pretty good relationship within Roush of all the drivers providing something and Carl is no exception to that.” 
DO YOU FEEL MORE ANTSY NOW WITHOUT THAT VICTORY? ANY ADDED PRESSURE? “Yeah. I would have never guessed we’d be this far into the season without winning a race after the way we finished last year. We finished up really, really well. We won two races and then Carl came and won two races and we really, really had some momentum. We probably would have wins at this point in the season if it weren’t for the issues we’ve had fueling the cars and fuel mileage and things have really put a damper on our thing this year – pit stops and things like that around the fueling – so that’s been a little bit of a drag. I’m surprised that we’re 13th in points for how we’ve run this season. We’ve run really, really good, but we haven’t had the finishes to show for it and that’s better than not running very good and getting mediocre finishes and you’re hoping to figure out what’s wrong with your cars and how to make them better. We’ve got pretty dang good cars, we haven’t been able to finish because the caution comes out, we’re a lap down with 40 laps to go in the race and we’ve got to start at the tail end of the longest line. We go from running third or fourth or in the top 10 and now we’re 27th. We get back to 18th and it’s the checkered flag, so you chalk 18th up in the column and it’s not a representation of how our team has run, but that’s what has happened to us all year, except for Indy. Indy was kind of a turnaround for us, so hopefully we can continue that.” 
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT WATKINS GLEN NEXT WEEK? “That’s one of my favorite places. I like that race track, I really do. It’s a lot of fun to go and run there. I’ve had a lot of success at that track. Qualifying on the front row and I’ve won a truck race there, so it’s been a good track to us and I’m looking forward to that race track. I definitely feel like we have just as good a chance at winning there as we do at some of these other places. If we get the right track position and get up front, we have an opportunity to win even there.” 
WHEN DO YOU START LOOKING AT WHAT THE OTHER GUYS AROUND YOU IN POINTS ARE DOING AND ADJUST YOUR STRATEGY? “That’s probably more Matt’s decision than mine. I drive the car and do the best job I can. As a team, I’d say you’re looking at them now with four or five races left, but, at the same time, it’s a double-edged sword because you really try to worry about yourself to get the best finish because that’s about all you can do. If they take a leap of faith or stop an extra time or do something, I don’t know that we would follow them to try and make that gamble pay off versus just go for the best – if it’s a 13th or a 7th or a 3rd or 4th, that will get us the most points and that’s what we need. If they go off strategy or do something, I’m not so sure that we would automatically follow them, but it’s a good point for those guys to look at and I’m sure they do – to try and pay attention with what they’re doing. Maybe you get down to the very last race or one or two and maybe if you’re ahead of them you stay on that strategy to make sure they don’t beat you. If you finish 25th and they finish 26th or 23rd, you don’t care, so you follow them if you’re ahead of them. That way, you’re gonna be in the same finishing position as them, within three spots, and you’re five points ahead of them or something.” 
IS THERE ANYTHING SPECIAL ABOUT RACING ON CONCRETE OR DO YOU SEE IT GOING AWAY FROM THE SPORT? “I don’t see it going away from the sport unless they wanted to change and not go to Martinsville as much. I’d be happy with that (joking). That’s not my best race track, but it doesn’t have anything to do with the concrete. I’ve won at Nashville. I like that race track. It was a lot of fun when they first built it. I don’t know what happened. I know it’s just Nationwide and Trucks only. I really don’t know. I thought it was a good market and thought it was in a good spot and it raced fairly well. I thought it put on good shows, so I’m not sure what all happened there, but I don’t think it has anything to do with the surface being concrete. Concrete tracks are fun to race on too.”
DAVID RAGAN – No. 6 UPS Ford Fusion – CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR POSITION? “Our mindset here at Pocono is just to capitalize on a track that’s been good to us in the past. We ran OK here in the spring. We think we’ve got a better team, a better car this weekend than we had in the spring, but I guess regarding the wild card and making the Chase, I’ll go back to what we felt like would get us in from day one and you’ve either got to be in the top 10 in points, I think you’ve got to have two wins or be in the top 12 or 13. Thirteenth may get in, but I don’t think so. I think you’ve got to be 11th or 12th in points or have two wins, so that’s what we’re working on. You can’t make it 14th in points. I don’t think you can make it 15th or 16th, so we’ve got some good tracks in front of us. We’re right there in the mix. We’d love to be sitting sixth or seventh or eighth in points right now, but we’ve had really fast cars. It’s just a matter of not making mistakes and can’t wait to get back on the race track and get going.” 
HOW DOES THE EDWARDS SIGNING AFFECT YOUR DEAL AND UPS? “I’m glad that it’s just over. Steve Newmark and Jack and our management team are working on it very diligently. They’ve also got Matt Kenseth’s car to work on finding a sponsor and then finalize the UPS program and our deal for next year, so now that Carl is signed, that can be put to rest and we can move on. I’m happy to see it. I’m glad it happened now. I wish it would have happened six weeks ago, but that was certainly the top priority of Roush over the last six weeks, in my opinion, and maybe now they can move on. All I can continue to do is what I need to do on the race track and the management at Roush will keep doing what they need to do to negotiate with UPS and look for some other sponsors as well.” 
WITH PAUL WINNING DOES IT PUT MORE PRESSURE ON YOU, AND CAN YOU SPEAK ABOUT YOUR TRIP TO WALTER REED? “I think with Paul winning, other than Paul being a good friend of mine I couldn’t be more happier to see him winning, that’s the last thing we wanted to see. We wanted to see Carl win, Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick win those races in the top five or six in points. Anybody that wins a race from 8th to 20th puts more pressure on us, so I think that when we go to Richmond 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th and probably 15th in points will all have a win, so it’s gonna be an exciting Richmond. Like I say, if you’ve got two wins, I think that’s gonna be very good or you’re gonna have to be 11th or 12th in points. It’s gonna be very exciting and I’m glad we run well at Richmond. And then Walter Reed yesterday, I’ve had some members of my family in the military over the years and they’ve never been injured to go to a hospital like that, but to see young kids – and I still feel pretty young – but to see those guys that are 19, 20 years old, 21 years old, that maybe they don’t have any limbs or they just have one arm and a prosthetic leg and they’re in pretty good spirits. They’re happy to serve our country and it makes me proud to be an American.   I would hate to know I had to pack up everything in the U.S. and go halfway across the world and fight like that and may return, if you return, so they were all just happy to be alive and you definitely get a new sense of appreciation for what those guys and girls do, so I very much enjoyed the trip and can’t thank all the NASCAR guys for making it happen. I think they really enjoy it too. There are a lot of NASCAR fans. You don’t meet one guy who doesn’t know something about NASCAR. They’re all Dale Jr. fans, but I do like going up there. They’re fun.” 
ARE YOU NOW A DENNY HAMLIN FAN AND HOPE HE GETS INTO THE TOP 10 AND DO YOU THINK THE FACT CARL RE-SIGNED VALIDATES ROUSH FENWAY AND SPONSORS MAY HAVE A MORE FAVORABLE POINT OF VIEW AND EASIER TO ATTRACT SPONSORS? “I’m not a Denny fan and I am a Denny fan, so we’ll leave it at that. I still feel like we control our own destiny in making the Chase. I don’t think you deserve to be in the Chase if you’re 16th in points with one win. If you’re 11th or 12th and you’ve got a couple wins or something, you deserve to be in there so we control our own destiny and we’ll see what happens. As far as Carl coming back, yeah, absolutely, I think it makes Roush Fenway still, in my opinion, the strongest team out there today. I think that the sponsors that Carl will attract because he is Carl and he’s been a part of our company for a few years before I got there, and it’s good to have that. I think we can build on having guys like Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle and myself, Carl, we’re all a little different, we all have different types of driving styles on and off the race track, and, yeah, having Carl there is a big asset. Obviously, I know how good of a driver Carl is. I would hate to know that I had to line up against him every week with him being on another team, and we’re good friends. He’s often got an extra seat on his airplane, so I like that. I can bum a ride every now and then when I need one, so there are a lot of good things about Carl coming back. I know that everyone at Roush Fenway likes it and I just can’t wait to move forward.”