Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion, moved up one spot after Saturday night’s Bank of America 500 and finds himself fifth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings heading into this weekend’s race at Martinsville Speedway.


CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion – HOW IS MARTINSVILLE WITH THE COT AS FAR AS THE BUMP-AND-RUN GOES?  “With the way the bumpers line up, now if you bump someone, it’s really lateral, you bump them and you don’t lift the rear end of their car up, whereas before you could.  That will make it a little bit different.  I’ve been bumped with this car now at places like Bristol and stuff, where before it would lift the rear tires off and spin you out, and now you just kind of move forward.  It’ll be harder to just barely touch someone and move them out of the way.” 


WOULD YOU HAVE TO HIT THEM IN THE QUARTERPANEL TO MOVE THEM?  “If you’re trying to move somebody out of the way by bumping them, you’re just gonna have to do it a little differently.” 


THERE ARE ONLY TWO MORE COT RACES LEFT.  WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED AND HOW HAS IT PROGRESSED THIS YEAR?  “The way our COT has been running lately, I wish all of them were COT races.  We’ve been doing really well with it.  I’m really proud of my guys.  The first race at Richmond, I watched Denny Hamlin go by me one time and I was like, ‘We are in deep trouble.’  He was going about five miles an hour faster in the middle of the corner than I was, but since then I feel like we’ve had the strongest COT program lately and I wish more of the races were COT races.” 


IS IT MORE THE NAMES IN FRONT OF YOU IN THE POINTS THAT IS THE TOUGH THING OR THE POINT TOTAL YOU’RE BEHIND?  “We’re all human.  I saw Jimmie blow a tire and wreck at Homestead in 2005.  He had a terrible run of luck there in the middle of the season.  I mean, anything can happen.  I believe it was earlier this year at (Lowe’s) that Jeff got caught up in a big wreck, so if you just have a couple of those things happen, it changes the face of the whole deal.  The reason a lot of the guys from fourth to eighth or ninth — and even 10th or 11th, for that matter — the reason these guys are back there is just bad luck.  Martin Truex blowing up.  Matt being caught up in that wreck.  If Jeff and Jimmie have a little bit of that bad luck, it’s really gonna close up the field.” 


HAS ANYONE HAD TO TELL YOU TO KEEP YOUR HEAD UP?  “You can’t get us down.  We’re here to do it until the last lap at Homestead.  We’re gonna race hard for a championship, but the problem is all of these guys are doing that.  They’re all pretty good at that.  There’s a reason Jeff Gordon has won four championships and they run so well.  They minimize their mistakes and that’s all we have to do.” 


WHERE DO YOU FALL AS FAR AS YOUR FEELINGS FOR MARTINSVILLE?  “I have yet to have a great run in a Cup car at Martinsville, but I’m counting on this being the first one.  It is a fun race track when you’re running well.  We ran great there in a truck and sat on the pole once.  I like it, I just haven’t had a great run yet.”