Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion, has two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins at Darlington Raceway (2005 and 2006). He comes into this weekend ninth in the point standings and spoke about his expectations for tomorrow...
Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion, has two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins at Darlington Raceway (2005 and 2006). He comes into this weekend ninth in the point standings and spoke about his expectations for tomorrow night's race before Friday's practice session.
DO YOU LIKE DARLINGTON NOW? "Oh yeah. I think this place will always be a fun, challenging place to come. Darlington is really, really tough. I talked to a couple of drivers yesterday and they're like, 'It's tougher now than it has been,' and you think, 'How can it be tougher?' But when you run that fast that close to the wall, even before they re-paved it, it's not very forgiving. And now we're running three seconds a lap faster -- or whatever we are -- and it's less forgiving. So it's hard, it's really tough. It'll be the same old Darlington."
SHOULD THIS TRACK BE IN THE CHASE? "Oh yeah. I think a lot of the fans and drivers would rather see a place like this in the chase than a place like Talladega, where it's just throw the dice and see who ends up where and who ends up in a big wreck. This is about driving. Talladega is not about driving."
HOW DID YOUR TEST AT LOWE'S GO? "I think we learned a little bit. That track, for some reason, has been a little frustrating for me since they re-paved it. We have just been off a little bit and can't get the car to do what we need it to do. It's too loose and then in four laps it's pushing so bad that you're a half-second off the pace. Then we're able to adjust the car to get it to go fast, but then when you put tires on it you can't drive it, so that's been a frustrating point for me at Lowe's -- to get that thing driving right and as much speed as we need to have."
ARE THESE TESTS NECESSARY? "We weren't ready for that test. We really didn't need that test right then. It would have been better for us later in the year when we could be more organized and have a better test plan in place, but it is what it is."
SOME PEOPLE HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT THE 99 AND HOW ITS REAR WHEELS MIGHT BE POSITIONED DIFFERENTLY OR AT AN ANGLE TO CREATE MORE SIDEFORCE. IS THAT SOMETHING YOU HAVE TRIED? "That's kind of a setup issue on how you've got your car setup. I don't really want to get into that, but I drive my cars different. I've driven my cars a little bit different since 2005 setup-wise and it's an area that NASCAR doesn't regulate. If they don't regulate how much caster or camber we run, or what spring we run, then you're welcome to do what you'd want to do in that area. So whatever fits the driver's needs or driving style you're allowed to do."
HOW MUCH MONEY WOULD IT TAKE FOR YOU TO TRADE PLACES WITH KYLE BUSCH AND HAVE THE JUNIOR NATION ON YOUR CASE? "That's trouble, I guess. I don't know. When two guys are racing hard people are gonna make mistakes. You've just got to be careful that you're not driving over your head all the time and have a little bit of margin, but when there's five to go or 10 to go, the pressure is on to perform. I didn't see the wreck. I didn't see what happened. I don't know if Junior pinched him down. I don't know if one guy got loose. I didn't even see the replay, so it's hard for me to comment. I don't like any fans mad at me, so I try to be a positive, straight-up driver all the time. People make mistakes, though. It was kind of funny because the Junior Nation was a little bit mad at me after Talladega like, 'Why didn't you go with Junior on that last lap?' And I was like, 'I did go with him and I went from second to 11th.' We just lost our momentum and Tony ran us all over the race track, but it was funny because I got some e-mails like, 'You hate Junior. You didn't help him.' I'm like, 'I wish I wouldn't have helped him, I would have been better.' So it's kind of funny. Some fans see stuff differently and, like I said, I don't know anything about that situation so I hate to comment."
IS THERE ANY RESENTMENT ABOUT SOMETHING LIKE THAT? "Not really. If you tangle with the 34 car. I see him over there going through the scales. If you tangle with him, there are gonna be 34 car fans that think you did something wrong. It's just gonna be that way. Whether he rear-ended you and caused the wreck or not, you have diehard supporters in this business of each car. Fans are gonna always see one thing one way and, let's face it, if we're supporting our driver -- whoever that is, x, y, z driver -- no matter what the accident is, we're supporting our driver whether it was his fault or not."
WHAT ARE THE CHANCES OF A DUST UP THIS WEEK? "This place is hard. This is as hard as they get right here. There are gonna be some guys that have mistakes and accidents during the race tomorrow night and I just hope we're not one of those."
IS THERE ANOTHER TEAM OR ORGANIZATION YOU WATCH BESIDES THE 99? "I think anybody can see that the Gibbs organization has really stepped their program up. Last year, Hendrick's obviously really impressed us and those are the guys the Roush Fenway group are chasing and trying to catch, and I think that baton has kind of shifted. We've got a hold of half of it at Roush Fenway. We've got a hold of half of it because we're running good, but we're not quite there. I think if you look through the garage you can see that the 18, the 20 and the 11 are consistently running really good. We're all so close. Childress' cars are all right there, all in the top 10."
PEOPLE AREN'T MENTIONING CHILDRESS AS MUCH AS GIBBS. WHY? "Yeah and that's just because they've been more consistent than anything, like us. People haven't been jumping up and down about the 16, but we ran in the top 10 at Richmond the whole night and finished 13th. It's not something to make a bunch of noise about, but we were there all night and Childress was the same way. I was as fast or faster than the 07 at times and he ends up winning the race, so being in the right place at the right time is what this business is about. But it's obvious that the 11 was by far the fastest car -- period. So that's what everybody remembers is that guy."
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU CAN DO TO HELP THE 17 OR HAS IT JUST BEEN BAD LUCK? "We do everything we can do as an organization at Roush Fenway -- all the crew chiefs and drivers and engineers -- we do everything we can do to help all the teams. Everybody gets the same information, the same technology, the same cars, the same parts, the same everything. They've had a couple of mechanical issues where they had too much camber, I think. I don't know that for a fact, but they blew out a couple of tires. They have fast race cars and didn't get a chance. They finished 40th, so you kind of right them off because they weren't competitive. Well, they were competitive but they had a tire issue -- self-induced, I think. But we try to help everybody and I know what it's like. I've been there. It looks like my year last year -- the 17 does."
WERE YOU ASKED TO BE IN THE BURNOUT COMPETITION? "No. It would probably be fun, but I'll enjoy watching it."
WHO DOES THE BEST BURNOUT? "I don't know. It's fun to do burnouts. I think I do a pretty good burnout, but it's a matter of the tire holding together, too. These cars have so much power and control that it's easy to do a burnout, but what happens is, obviously, the tire will come apart and tear the quarterpanels off the car, so NASCAR doesn't like that when you're in post-race inspection and the quarterpanels are ripped off it, so you've got to be kind of careful."
WHAT'S THE SECRET TO IT? "Probably not too much wheel speed. You can tell how much load the engine has on it. There are all kinds of things you can do and you can tell when they start getting slippery and the back tires are getting hot. It's fun to drive the car down the race track, especially if it has a little bit of banking on it. The car will want to just sit there and go sideways down the track, so it's fun to do them. Hopefully, I'll get the chance to do one tomorrow night."
YOU'VE DONE A COUPLE HERE ALREADY. DOES THIS RE-PAVING JOB TAKE AWAY ANY ADVANTAGE YOU MAY HAVE HAD? "It definitely changes the dynamic of this track 100 percent. Before, it was about car control and throttle control, and it's still about that, but it's kind of different. I don't know how to explain it because the tire doesn't wear out much, much faster, so there's a lot of things that have changed about it, but it's still gonna be the same thing."
SO YOU FEEL JUST AS CONFIDENT TOMORROW NIGHT? "Yeah. I've got a good handling car right now. Yesterday in practice it handled well and we were in the top 10 in speeds, so I feel pretty comfortable about tomorrow night."
ANY PROGRESS IN YOUR CONTRACT TALKS? "No, I haven't even worked on it. I haven't done anything on it the last couple of weeks."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT DAVID RAGAN'S PROGRESS? "He's had a lot of progress. He's done a good job. David has really come a long ways and it's good to see because some of his information helps us. We're looking at what he's doing and what he's doing to his race cars and seeing him improve."
DID ANY OF YOUR PEOPLE MEET WITH ROUSH THIS WEEK? "I don't know anything about that. I haven't talked to anybody, really. This week was sort of off the radar for me because we tested and did all that, so this is a busy week and so is next week with the Nationwide testing. I haven't really been paying attention to any of that stuff. I've been worrying about the race car right now."
-credit: ford racing