Biffle talks about speeds at Michigan after he sets fastest lap

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Ford Racing

Greg Biffle ripped off the fastest lap time in final practice, running at 204.708 mph. Biffle spoke about the speeds after his practice session.

Greg Biffle, Roush Fenway Racing Ford
Greg Biffle, Roush Fenway Racing Ford

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

THAT WAS PRETTY WICKED FAST. “Yeah, these guys have the car right for me. We didn’t start out that good but we sure ended up good. That is a lot of confidence for us going into tomorrow and Sunday.”

IS THERE A POSSIBILITY THAT QUALIFYING SPEEDS TOMORROW COULD BE FASTER? “Yeah, I would bet you that we get into the 34’s maybe. I don’t know, we will see. That was a 35.17 and I think I have a little left in the tank.”

YESTERDAY YOU WERE SAYING YOU THOUGHT IT WAS GETTING CLOSE TO THAT DANGER ZONE. “I thought it was, but not yet. I keep creeping up on it. I did a 40, then a 30 and now a 17. Tomorrow is when it really counts though.”

ARE YOU COMFORTABLE OUT THERE RUNNING 203 AND 204 MPH? “I don’t know what the speed is. All I know is the lap time is 34.17 but I don’t know what that speed was average. It has to be about 220 mph on the straightaway. Probably 220. Maybe we have the data, I don’t know. Well, we do because we have the engine telemetry. We have RPM’s so we can compute miles per hour. If it doesn’t capture it we can compute it pretty easily.”

YOU STILL FEEL COMFORTABLE IN THE CAR? “Yeah, I mean to be perfectly honest with you, the car drives fairly good in qualifying trim. It is a little more skatey in race trim. It slides a little here and there but in Q trim it is taped up and the thing is down on the earth and it feels pretty good.”

THAT WAS QUITE A LAP OUT THERE. “Yeah, it was closer to 205 than 204 huh. Can we round it up? Obviously if qualifying tomorrow was earlier in the day and it was a little cooler out I am sure we would break into the 34 second bracket. I don’t know what that equivalence is to in miles per hour; I am not that quick at math. I am quick at math, but not that kind of math. 35.17 is seconds faster than I thought we would go here. To be perfectly honest with you I wish I could tell you that I was holding my breath and on edge but it must be a lot of adrenaline because I don’t remember. I am trying to think of my lift points on the pedal and things like that. You get so in the moment. We scuffed in so many sets of tires and now I have to think about how I did it because I have to do it again tomorrow. That lap, the car was just really stuck to the ground really well. It actually wasn’t that hard to drive. It actually is a little harder to drive on low air and new tires in race trim than it is on that qualifying lap. They did a pretty good job with the race track. It seems like the seams on this track are a little more pronounced than the other repaves we have seen. Hopefully that doesn’t spell trouble in two years, three years, four years or whatever. You know how the cars drive when you cross those seams, it plays havoc with them. There is a lot of grip and a lot of fun right now.”

STICKERS OR SCUFFS? AND CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WHAT YOUR TIRES LOOKED LIKE TODAY? “We scuffed our tires in and my first Q run was on stickers and I ran 35.34 on stickers. Stickers were pretty fast and we went a little bit faster on scuffs. I wouldn’t say that the scuffs made the extra speed. We adjusted on the car. I would say the stickers were just as fast, in my opinion. We set up to do scuffs just because and we didn’t find a penalty in it. If there is no downside then we will go ahead and scuff the tires. It seems like these new tires always run a little better after they get a heat cycle on them. We scuff five sets for the race and then scuffed our qualifying set for tomorrow.”

CONVENTIONAL WISDOM WAS THAT TIMES WOULD SLOW DOWN TODAY. WHY IS THAT NOT THE CASE? “That is a good question. As the track takes rubber in – to be perfectly honest with you after our first practice today going into our second I knew we would do all qualifying and I went back to my motor home and I am soaking wet and I took off my suit and hung it up and let it dry out and I hope you guys can’t smell me – I put it back on and came back to do qualifying and I thought it was going to be a disaster because I thought the track would be slick and we would be sliding all over. I thought we would be frustrated going into tomorrow not knowing what to expect with track conditions. That was totally not the case. I am right with you. It caught me off guard how fast the track was and how much grip it has right now. Quite frankly, maybe the heat – it is pretty damn hot out there – maybe the heat is actually providing a certain amount of that grip. That could be. Normally it works in reverse. It could be the surface and the tire combination.”

DO YOU EXPECT 196 OR 197 TO BE THE RACE PACE ON SUNDAY? “I expect the race pace to be about three-quarters of a second slower than that speed right there. Maybe half a second slower. Back in the field it will slow up. The guys out front, I think will be able to run I feel pretty confident that I would be able to run what I have been doing in race trim right now in clean air.”

WHAT KIND OF A RACE WILL WE SEE? “Depending on the temperature, nobody has done a complete fuel run, obviously tire testing is tire testing. If it is really hot tomorrow and the cars still keep as much grip as they’ve got now, we could see some tire issues possibly. I certainly don’t want to set off a panic but that could happen. We don’t know that. The track still has a ton of grip and like we were just talking about, I thought it would slow down by now. If, quite frankly, going into Sunday’s race it is 90 degrees outside and no clouds and we are running those kind of speeds at the end of a fuel run there could be trouble or there couldn’t be trouble.”

WHAT ABOUT DRIVERS RESPECTING THAT SPEED AND BEING CAUTIOUS AND CAREFUL? “I think guys are going to race around each other with a reasonable amount of respect. I wouldn’t say caution but respect. We are still going to be right there. I caught Kevin (Harvick) in the middle of the corner down here and my car drove good right up behind him. I think they are going to drive pretty good around other cars.”

IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU ARE MORE COMFORTABLE THAN YOU WERE YESTERDAY. ARE YOU CLOSER TO THAT LINE YOU TALKED ABOUT YESTERDAY? “To be perfectly honest with you I feel like the race pace is going to slow down some. The track really isn’t a lot faster today in race trim than it was yesterday. Just qualifying trim we are seeing faster speeds so that doesn’t alarm me. When we are out there by ourselves and you run a qualifying lap, that is expected to go off without a hitch. I am not really worried about the speeds qualifying. When you get in a pack of cars and you are running 220, that might be a little testing the limits. When you are by yourself it is not really a concern. I think the race pace isn’t any faster today than what I saw yesterday. I was running 36.30’s in race trim yesterday and the same today. I feel that is going to slow down some in the race. I think we are well within where we were yesterday, just qualifying is faster today.”

COULD THE GROUP SPEED GO UP IF YOU ARE DRAFTING? “That is a good question. So what you will see is potentially you could see higher in a pack straightaway speeds but we still have to slow down the same amount for the corner. Actually, if you are behind another car or behind four or five cars, you are going to have to slow down a hell of a lot more for the corner because you are going to get aero tight behind the guy. You are going to have an aero disadvantage. You will probably be faster on the straightaway but slower in the corner and slower to re-accelerate down the next straightaway. Basically what you will see is probably ultimately it won’t end up being faster but as fast as you are going now and then slower in the corners. That is typically what you will end up with because you can’t go around the corner tucked up behind the guy. Now, if you could do that without your car sliding up the track, then potentially a car could push another car and go faster. That typically on a down force race track where the car needs that to stick behind that guy instead of having 36- degree banking to make it stick.”

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Tags biffle, ford, roush