Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 Jackson Hewitt Ford Fusion, is second in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings heading into Sunday's Food City 500. Biffle held a Q&A session in the Bristol infield media center prior to...
Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 Jackson Hewitt Ford Fusion, is second in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings heading into Sunday's Food City 500. Biffle held a Q&A session in the Bristol infield media center prior to Friday's practice to discuss various issues.
WHAT ABOUT THIS WEEKEND? "I'm certainly excited about this weekend. This race track has always been one of my favorites to come to. It's fast and the racing has changed a lot. The last race here the track configuration has changed, but it still the same old Bristol -- keep your nose clean, run good, qualify decent. It's a fun place to come. Darlington was something special, to be able to go back there with it re-paved and do what we did down there with the tire test."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT DARLINGTON AND HOW IT WENT? "Exactly what I suspected was gonna happen when they said last year they're gonna re-pave Darlington happened. I think we all knew it, but it's extremely fast. To fast for that size of race track, and it's just the combination and the same thing we've faced everywhere we've gone with a re-pave -- Charlotte, Vegas -- reconfiguration and all that. It's just extremely, extremely fast because of our cars today and how much grip that we've been able to get out of our cars and tires and how much power we make now. We went 200 miles an hour into turn three at Darlington -- 200 miles an hour, a 1.3-mile track, a 28-flat lap time and I could go faster than that probably. But that's two-and-a-half seconds faster than we were going. It's just astronomically fast. You just won't be able to race at that speed and, on top of that, the tire wouldn't survive that kind of loading. We're putting so much load on the tire, that the tire couldn't handle that. So Goodyear backed up on tires and went on the other side, where it was too hard. Jeff Gordon and I couldn't really drive the car. It was just not enough grip, so we came back in and they found a middle ground that we think is gonna be decent, but we know it's gonna take a couple of races there to get that race track to take its course again. Goodyear is going back to the drawing board. We had a left-side tire that was maybe a little too fast still, I'm not sure, and then they had a tire that was too hard. So they're gonna split that middle ground and we're gonna go back just to double-check it. That was kind of all of our suggestions to do that and I think they were really receptive to that. Let's face it, they don't want us complaining about the tire being too hard, yet it can't come apart. There's a middle ground there. We've backed Goodyear in a corner and said, 'You've got to control how fast we go, a tire that has a lot of grip and a tire that doesn't come apart.' That's a tough order for them to come up with all of those items at once."
DO YOU THINK THIS NEW CAR LENDS ITSELF TO THE MORE SKILLED DRIVERS? "Yes and no. That particular weekend I think it did (at Atlanta). It led its hand to guys that have car control and guys that could manage the minimum amount of grip. I made an adjustment to my car that just woke it up midway through the race. I got the lucky dog because I wasn't running as good and I made one adjustment and, bang, my car woke up and off I went and then I had something I could compete with. The car has to be really close and then the driver has to be able to control that car. He can't be afraid of lifting off the gas and that car kind of setting a little bit sideways and having to turn to the right and drive it down in the corner at those kind of speeds. You just have to be used to that and I'm kind of used to that. I like to drive a loose car where the car doesn't have a lot of grip, so it did lend itself to that. I was catching Kyle there at the end, but I missed my mark a couple of times and got off base, and then Tony ran me back down a little bit there. Momentum was so much that if you screwed up a little bit, it was hard to get your momentum back. Just one screw up and they were on top of you again. I was hoping it would be the other way around. I thought, 'I'm not gonna make any mistakes. I think Kyle is gonna feel the pressure and I might be able to run him down,' but, anyway, it was a good race for us."
HAVE YOU NOTICED ANY DIFFERENCE IN DAVID RAGAN THIS YEAR? "He's definitely doing a great job. I raced with him at California and I raced with him a little bit at Las Vegas and he's done a tremendous amount from last year to this year. I think he's doing a good job and I think he's gonna be competing in the top 15. I think he's gonna sustain himself in there."
WHAT ABOUT KYLE BUSCH AND THE MOVES HE MAKES ON THE TRACK. DOES ANYONE MAKE BOLDER MOVES THAN HIM? "I think racing on the apron at Atlanta was probably near the top of the list, but the tire didn't have a lot of grip so you could drive down there because you were going slow. But, yeah, he's putting it on the line. You're gonna win some and lose some, but he's definitely aggressive. I used to drive like that in the Truck Series and won rookie of the year and a championship there and had more wins than anybody one season, so it'll pay off but it'll bite you sometimes, too."
ANY MEMORIES OF DALE JARRETT? "Tons of them. I think DJ is probably one of the most respected drivers out there for competitiveness and courtesy. When you see him coming in the mirror and he's faster than you, you just get up out of the way and let him go and he does the same for you. He falls along the lines of the Mark Martins and Rusty Wallaces and all the guys that have been at this level."
YOU MENTIONED THE SPEED AT DARLINGTON. IS IT GETTING TO A POINT WHERE IT'S ALMOST MISSION IMPOSSIBLE FOR GOODYEAR UNTIL WE SLOW THE CAR DOWN? "Yes, you could. You certainly could because you can only do so much with one part of the car. If we keep making more power and more power and more power over time -- or whatever the case is -- and we're kind of limited on downforce now more and more and more, there comes a point where Goodyear can only do so much. If they put a tire on the car that Jeff Gordon and I liked, the thing blistered in 15 laps. It feels great. We love to drive it. We want to race like that, but we can't. Now the question becomes, 'If the car went a second-a-lap slower, could we race that tire?' Sure we could. So it's finding that middle ground. They definitely have some work cut out for them."
WHAT'S THE FEELING LIKE DURING DRIVER INTRO'S HERE? "This is a place like no other because the grandstands are so steep and the fans are so close. Normally, like last week, you don't get the feel of the fans because they're back a ways and it's not as steep. Here, it's like they're right on top of you and it's pretty exciting to see the people and the noise they can make. Being in this small of an area is pretty neat."
-credit: ford racing