Chicagoland: Biffle - Thursday media visit

Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion, was the first Ford driver to hold his Q&A session Thursday afternoon at Chicagoland Speedway. He addressed the assembled media in the infield media center. ASSESS YOUR TEAM SO FAR ...

Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion, was the first Ford driver to hold his Q&A session Thursday afternoon at Chicagoland Speedway. He addressed the assembled media in the infield media center.

ASSESS YOUR TEAM SO FAR THIS YEAR? "Certainly it's been up and down for us. We would have liked to have run better as of late. We had a pretty good run up until about three races ago. We have not had the best finishes -- some circumstance and some that's just where we were running -- but, overall, I'd have to say it's been decent. We're ninth in points still in the chase with a little cushion -- not much -- with some good race tracks in front of us. I think that's what we're looking forward to is some great race tracks coming up for us. But, overall, I'd say it's a satisfactory season. We've had a couple opportunities to get into Victory Lane and haven't quite gotten there yet, but we'll keep working on it."

EIGHT RACES UNTIL THE CHASE. WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO GET READY? "Really, we're working as hard as we can every week to bring the best race cars we can. We know that we have eight more races to make the chase and it's important that we have the best possible equipment that we can bring right now. We're doing lots of simulation stuff. We're doing a little bit of testing at tracks where we can go and simulate some short track scenarios that we feel we're lacking a little bit on, and we're wide open. We're racing as hard as we can. We're not taking big risks, but, at the same time, we're racing for the win."

DID GOODYEAR DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY WITH THE TIRE TEST FOR INDY THIS TIME AROUND? "Certainly they've had their hands full with that race track. A couple of issues. One is that it's no secret that this car is harder on the right-side tires, and when we go to a high-speed, flat race track like that, it's very demanding on the right-side tires. And plus the race track is diamond-ground or grooved and I think you guys have all been through that process, so that's been very difficult for Goodyear to build a tire that can withstand the loading and how abrasive that track is. They, to my knowledge, when we were there for the tire test we did, I think they've done a fantastic job picking a tire or coming up with a tire that will last and drives competitively. I ran out of gas coming down the frontstretch on a full fuel run and the tire was just about wore out, so it was a perfect matchup of the amount of fuel the car will hold and the distance it will go and still have rubber left. I think they've done a great job and I don't think we're really gonna have tire issues going back. Some teams might. The thing is when you get a tire that that's close to being perfect, it's easy to get on either side of that."

DID THEY TEST IN A DIFFERENT MANNER? "The testing procedure was different in that I think the entire field had tested Indy at one point. I think they had every car there and every team there multiple times. I think Tony Stewart tested there two or three times. I know Matt tested there at least twice and possibly three. We tested there once, so I think they wanted to get a lot of rubber. They wanted to see a lot of different race cars with different setups and different times. Let's run on the track right after it rained and see if the tire still has the durability it does on a green race track as it does when it's rubbered in. Process-wise, they did a lot more there because, obviously, of what happened."

LOOKING BACK AT THE ACCIDENT LAST WEEK. ARE THERE THINGS YOU LOOK AT FROM A SAFETY ASPECT AND AT WHAT POINT DO THESE LAST-LAP WRECKS WITH THE LEADERS BECOME A CONCERN? "You certainly always need to protect us from ourselves. We can get ourselves in trouble no matter what. You've got to always watch for that, but restrictor plate racing is its own animal and the thing is we're crashing on the straightaway and the crashes are two cars. It's not multiple cars. It's not one guy cutting one guy off. It's two cars involved in these wrecks at the ends of these races and it's the first and second place guy trying to get the trophy. There's no way to fix that, for sure. None of the other cars are involved. The restrictor plates aren't involved, it's just unfortunately what's gonna happen at the end. The thing that concerns me is just the safety aspect of the cars getting slowed down enough after there's a crash like that. He got hit multiple times. Some thought of mine was, 'Are people slowing down or are they trying to still race to the line to get their finishing position?' I've got a concern with that because he got hit by the 9 and then got hit by other cars. He got hit by a car that was behind me on the race track pretty hard, which tells me that maybe that guy wasn't slowing down as quick as he could have been. So that's one concern. When we have these wrecks at the end of the race, how quickly does the caution come out and are we racing back the line? Mark Martin and Kevin Harvick raced all the way back when the third and fourth-place cars wrecked -- or third and fourth, I was running fourth and Kyle was third and Matt was right there. So that's probably my biggest concern is safety -- a guy getting hit two or three or four or five times. And, of course, staying out of the fence was the key this time."

ARE YOU GUYS BEING MORE DANGEROUS OUT THERE BECAUSE YOU FEEL SAFER AND FEEL INVINCIBLE? "I can tell you one thing, you can get hurt in these cars. It hurts when you crash at 175 miles an hour. I think there are some guys pushing that envelope thinking that somebody is gonna give. They're playing chicken. When one guy is moving over to block, you've got three choices. One, let up on the gas. Two, move over and let him run you up the race track, or, three, spin him out. Guys are testing that to see what they guy is gonna do. When you can see the checkered flag from here to there, it's tough to just rollover and play dead, but, at the same time, you don't want to get turned around on the frontstretch in front of the whole field. But you can get hurt in these cars and it does hurt when you crash in these things."

NASCAR IS TRYING TO IMPROVE ITS GREEN EFFORTS. JACK ROUSH IS INVOLVED IN GREEN VEHICLES. DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT SORT OF THING AS A RACER? "I know it's obvious we're racing, but we're continuing to work on getting better fuel mileage and performance out of our cars, and I think we do things personally to try and make an effort at being more environmentally friendly. I recently ordered a Hybrid car -- the Fusion -- as a shop car and for people to come to town. I've got running around to do. Last week I'm in the process right now of doing a study of putting solar panels on my building in Mooresville to convert it to be a greener building, so I think there are lots of things we can do to be better about it, but, certainly, racing is an element where I'm sure there are ways to improve and I think we do a pretty good job at it now, but I'm sure there are ways we can improve that and that's why NASCAR has people on that staff."

IS THAT YOUR RACE SHOP? "It's my personal shop in Mooresville."

-credit: ford racing

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Tony Stewart , Greg Biffle , Mark Martin