Going into practice, Carl Edwards felt confident in his team and the car that they have brought down for the Daytona 500.
"Our cars were really fast, so it was fun to come into the gates and see all of those Fords up there. I think we’re gonna have a good car," Edwards commented before practice.
The driver of the No. 99 Fastenal Ford backed up those words as he was in the top five in the first session speed charts. Though it should mark no surprise as Edwards timed fourth quickest in Sunday's time trials and will start his Gatorade Duel in the second position.
"Nobody was more surprised than us," Edwards said of his qualifying effort. "That was really nice. A lot of times in this sport you can work really hard. Everybody always works hard. You hear that, ‘Hey, we’re making our cars faster,’ but it’s nice to see that pay off like it did on Sunday."
With being locked in the show by speed, Edwards says they have to make sure to keep the car safe.
"Saturday night (Sprint Unlimited) was crazy and I think it reminded everyone that we do have to use our heads a little bit so that we don’t tear up these race cars and that’s our concern," he commented. "We’re not so much worried about being in the show as we are about tearing up a really good race car."
Edwards added that right now, as a driver, he fighting a balance as starting second in his Duel and being near the front causes him to want to be aggressive and go for the win.
"There is a lot on the line in this event," he continued. "There are people that are going to be really, really trying hard and whenever you see that at these restrictor plates you get the chance for chaos and we have to balance what we want with how much risk we’re going to take.”
Beyond Daytona, Edwards feels that his team has a good package as the guys have been working hard to be fast everywhere.
"Right now we’re working on how to be fast at Phoenix, at Vegas," he said. "We’ve been testing. My guys left here, went back to the shop, worked all day, went testing all day, they’re back here today. They’re really pushing and we hope we’ll see the same results from the work now at Phoenix and Vegas. You just never know. It’s a moving target.”