Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion, is ninth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings heading into this weekend's Coca-Cola 600. Biffle held a Q&A session on Thursday at Lowe's Motor Speedway to discuss Sunday's race. HOW DO...
Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion, is ninth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings heading into this weekend's Coca-Cola 600. Biffle held a Q&A session on Thursday at Lowe's Motor Speedway to discuss Sunday's race.
HOW DO YOU PHYSICALLY PREPARE FOR THIS RACE? "There are only a limited amount of things we can do. One, we can try to get as hydrated as we can on Saturday for Sunday's race, and that's still really important because that's where most of the fatigue comes from is being dehydrated. You get a headache and you're low on energy and all those things when you get dehydrated, so the most important thing is to stay hydrated. Second, leading up to that, you have to be in the best shape you can and those kinds of things to be ready to go 600 miles. There are a lot of things you need to do ahead of time to get ready for this."
WHAT ABOUT MENTALLY? "Mentally, you try not to psych yourself out too much about being 600 miles instead of 500. You almost think of it as just a race. We know it's a little bit longer, so it's more like pacing yourself. Instead of jogging around the block one time, I'm gonna jog around the block two or three -- so maybe the first couple take it easy -- and that's part of the mental process. It's a long event, pace ourselves and don't burn up too much energy or concentration in the first part of that thing."
WHAT DID YOU THINK ABOUT THE DOUBLE-FILE RESTARTS IN THE ALL-STAR RACE? "There's been a lot made of that double-file restart and the thing about it is there was a million dollars on the line, no points and nobody cared, and there was 10 laps to go. We put a lot into that double-file restart, that particular one that we saw, because people were going crazy. That's gonna happen when there are no points on the line and it's a million bucks. For the most part, I don't know that it'll make it a whole bunch more exciting on a regular race, we'll have to wait and see. I'm either way. I like the way the restarts are now. If they elect to go to the double-file restart, I'm great with that, too."
IS THIS RACE TOO LONG? "I don't think so. We need a 600-mile race in our schedule, one time a year. Just like we have the Daytona 500, we have the Brickyard, we have a 600-mile race and I think it's important to keep that history in our sport."
WHAT IF THE FANS FEEL THAT IT'S TOO LONG OR HAVE A SHORT ATTENTION SPAN FOR A RACE LIKE THIS? "All of our attention spans are too short, I can tell you that -- mine is. The thing about it is you've got to be prepared for 600 miles, you really do, and that's part of it. I think fans know when they're buying the ticket it says Coca-Cola 600 on it for a reason and they elect to come and see this event because it's 600 miles."
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU CAN TAKE FROM LAST WEEK? "I think you can learn a lot from last week. Unfortunately, we didn't get to run the whole race, but there are things we can learn from last week that will definitely apply to this week."
WHAT IS YOUR APPROACH ON GOING FROM DAY TO NIGHT? "That is the hardest thing about this race is going from during the day to night. This track changes dramatically. The setup -- even the bump stops and shocks and things we want to use during the day are different than at night -- so we have to set the car up for what we feel it's gonna be like at night and suffer a little bit through the daytime and the heat. If it's cooler outside, then it doesn't matter as much, but if it's hot and sunny, and then it starts cooling into the night, that's a big transition for us."
SO IS THE GOAL TO STAY ON THE LEAD LAP DURING THE DAY? "Yeah. The goal in the daytime is A, stay on the lead lap and B, we hope to run better than that, but position yourself for having a fast car at the end of the night."
WHY IS THE 99 NOT AS STRONG? "We wonder that as well within the organization. I don't think it's just the 99, I think it's all of us -- we're not quite as strong as we were last year. We said, 'Oh well, it's just the short tracks,' and then at Darlington I was OK, but everybody else was mediocre. In the All-Star Race, we were all sort of mediocre. Matt was up there, but he had track position. I don't think any of us were really stellar and it's starting to concern me that we're off a little bit and we need to close that gap on our competition. We need to keep working hard on these cars and that's what it's about. We're always working hard and trying to learn and that's all it is, it's a revolving door. One week it's this team, one week it's that team, one week it's that team, so we just want to try and stay in the loop."
ARE YOU SURPRISED JEREMY MAYFIELD HIRED AN ATTORNEY AND THIS HAS TURNED INTO SUCH A SOAP OPERA? "Well, I suppose so. The harsh reality of it is when a test comes back positive, there's not a lot of bickering about it. It's black and white. If you get a speeding ticket and you were going 75, you can get an attorney, but I don't know. I don't know all the details. I trust NASCAR and the medical people and the testing agency that they have backup tests that they truly verify -- that they've made the right decision. I really stand by that. I trust them in the fact that they've made the right decisions. I'm sure they've done everything in their power to make sure that the tests are accurate and what they found was a not-approved substance, and I don't know what else there is to fight about."
HOW BLACK AND WHITE CAN IT BE IF DRIVERS DON'T SPECIFICALLY KNOW WHAT KIND OF CHEMICALS MIGHT FAIL THEM? "We know that all recreational drugs are out. We all know that and we all know that we can't go drive an over-the-road tractor. We can't have a CDL. A guy can't drive this transporter right here with any recreational drugs in his system whatsoever. Now, I'm sure NASCAR is reasonable in the fact -- and they've said this all along -- the reason why they don't want to put out a list is because anytime there's a rule, we try and figure out a way around it -- in the race car. If there was a listed thing that people may try and figure out a way around it. I think that they're very fair about if you have a true medical condition and you go to them and ask for approval it's either yes or no. Yes, you can take the pain medication they've prescribed you for your ribs. No, you can't. It's that simple. So I don't expect to get out the list and go, 'OK, I can take this. Go ahead and prescribe me that.' The doctor prescribed me this and I went and said, 'Is this OK to take?' That's not an unreasonable process. I mean, do they need to make a list -- 'No marijuana. No cocaine.' We don't need to make a list like that. I don't feel it's necessary. It pretty much goes without saying. I went and asked permission to take a pain medication and they encouraged me not to take it, and I didn't take it. It's that simple. I've been through the process. I truly have. I took ibuprofen, which was the second recommendation, and that's what I took."
-credit: ford racing