Our Chase driver interview series continues this week with Roush Fenway Racing's Carl Edwards, who currently sits sixth in points. This week, Edwards heads to his home track – Kansas Speedway – where he says he wants to win more than anyplace else.
What's the best race you've ever driven?
CE: (Thinks for a long time) Man, I don't know. That's a tough question – because it's not always one you win. I've had some good races, but I'm still waiting for the one that clinches the championship or the Daytona 500. I haven't run a race that I'm 100 percent satisfied with or proud of, you know? I'm proud, but not 100 percent satisfied with any of them yet. I don't know if that's an OK answer.
Who is the most talented driver in NASCAR?
CE: That's a really tough question. Excluding myself? I feel like I can hold my own against any of them, but I feel like Tony Stewart or Kyle Busch – both those guys are really, really talented.
What is the best time for a fan to approach you for an autograph during a race weekend?
CE: Just whenever they see me. I'll sign it if I have the time. If I don't, just don't be offended! I sign every one that I have time to sign.
What's something fans may not know or understand about you based on what they see on TV?
CE: It's funny: I live in Columbia, Missouri, and when I meet people, it's just the same as when I meet someone (famous). You know, like I meet a lot of people, like presidents and actors and actresses and all these folks. And no matter how much you see someone on TV or what they're doing, when you meet them they're just a regular person.
So it's funny when I run into people and I'm talking to them, and they're like, "Wow! You're so much different than I thought you'd be."
And I don't wear a firesuit everywhere. People are like, "It's so weird! I didn't recognize you, you weren't wearing a firesuit!" (laughs) I get that a lot.
What's the worst track on the NASCAR circuit?
CE: Talladega! And it doesn't matter how much I say it. I've voiced loudly how much I don't like racing there for points – and you always feel bad when you say something negative about a track – but it doesn't matter what you say about that place, it's still going to be packed full of fans. (laughs)
Who is the driver you most admire outside of NASCAR?
CE: I admire Tim Ferry, the motocross (rider). He just retired. I've been around him a little bit and seen how competitive he is with guys who are way younger than him. And how nice and down-to-earth he is as a person and a father. He's someone I really look up to.
How long do you see your career lasting? Will you be driving at Mark Martin's age?
CE: If I'm competitive, yeah. This sport is the most fun thing ever when you're running well. If I'm not competitive or can't be with a competitive team, then I probably wouldn't race as long. But if I'm competitive, then there's nothing else I'd rather do.
Who wins the Sprint Cup in 2015?
CE: Wow, good question. So five years from now. (Thinks for a long time) Hmm...who do you think? SBN: Maybe Joey Logano's first title? No, it won't take him that long. I'll go with Trevor Bayne.
If you were in charge of NASCAR, what's one thing you'd change?
CE: I would make the restrictor-plate races double the money for the winner, no points. Win or nothing. Make them like the All-Star race. That would be a blast! If you had a five-lap shootout at Talladega with no cautions – only throw cautions for fire – that would be unreal!
Are there any race-day routines you have to follow?
CE: The only thing is that I always take a moment before the race starts to think about where I came from, what I'm going to try to do before the checkered flag falls and remember what my goals are. I try to get back to zero before I start – not thinking about other things.
If you were to advise a rookie on one driver he should learn from and one he shouldn't, who would those two people be?
CE: Learn from Mark Martin. And I would not learn from Jimmie Johnson – because he won't tell you a damn thing! (laughs)
Would you rather be known as a great driver or a great person?
CE: (without hesitation) Great person. For sure.