Daytona II: This Week in Ford Racing

This Week in Ford Racing June 29, 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 National Guard/Subway Taurus, has made headlines at Daytona International Speedway during each of his last two visits. A year ago, Biffle ...

This Week in Ford Racing
June 29, 2004

NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series

Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 National Guard/Subway Taurus, has made headlines at Daytona International Speedway during each of his last two visits. A year ago, Biffle registered the first win of his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series career when he captured the Pepsi 400. Last February, Biffle registered the fastest lap and sat on the pole for the Daytona 500. He spoke about his recent success at DIS, which will be hosting its second Cup event of the season on Saturday night.

GREG BIFFLE - No. 16 National Guard/Subway Taurus

GOOD THINGS HAVE HAPPENED TO YOU THE LAST TWO TIMES YOU'VE GONE TO DAYTONA. "Yeah. I'm excited about going back. We're taking the same car we sat on the pole for the Daytona 500 with. We ran really good and obviously won the Pepsi 400 last year, and the fact we're going back with a faster car than what we won with makes me feel pretty decent. We've got a good opportunity to run in the top five and contend for a win again."

DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NORMALLY GETS MOST OF THE HEADLINES WITH HIS RESTRICTOR-PLATE SUCCESS, BUT YOU'RE STARTING TO GAIN A LITTLE BIT. "Yeah, I think we're gonna be able to compete with them this weekend at Daytona. We've been doing our homework. Our engines have been getting better and better and our bodies are really good, so I think we've got a pretty good car. I could have probably finished second in the Daytona 500 with it, but ended up finishing 12th after speeding on pit road. I really feel this is the right car to win the race with this week."

HOW DIFFERENT IS QUALIFYING FOR A DRIVER VERSUS THE RACE ITSELF? "It's totally different because restrictor-plate racing is way different. They need to hand out a trophy to the team for qualifying because the car that qualifies the fastest is the fastest car. It has nothing to do with the driver and nothing to with anything other than the team has built a car faster than anybody else has. When you put them out there on the race track all together, that car is still the fastest car. That car is still gonna be one of the cars to beat. You can take that qualifying order and those are the speeds of the cars. Everybody knows that you can take the car that qualified dead last and put it in between the car that qualified first and third and he's gonna run better all day until he gets out of line. Then he's gonna go to the back because he doesn't have a good body or a good engine. But you're eliminating the aero part of it, so even if he has a bad engine he's gonna be able to keep up because he doesn't have the air to block. He's got a guy pushing air on him and a guy blocking the air, so once you're in line the cars will run typically however. So qualifying is a lot different than the race. Qualifying is truly whoever has the fastest car while racing is different."

DO YOU ENJOY RESTRICTOR-PLATE RACING OR WOULD YOU RATHER DO WITHOUT IT? "I like restrictor-plate racing. It's either one extreme or the other. It's either boring because you're all in line, or it's four-wide or three-wide and guys bumping each other or pushing you from the back. Sometimes it feels like you're about ready to be upside-down, so it's one or the other, but I really enjoy it. I like it."

ARE THERE A LOT OF DIFFERENCES RACING THAT TRACK AT NIGHT LIKE YOU WILL THIS WEEKEND VERSUS IN THE DAY FOR THE 500? "There's an extreme difference from day to night. The track stays a lot more grippy at night and I think it's a lot more fun to drive at night."

WHEN YOU WON LAST YEAR YOU SAID YOU WEREN'T SURPRISED ABOUT WINNING, BUT YOU WERE SURPRISED IT CAME AT DAYTONA. WHY? "We predominantly hadn't been that good at restrictor-plate tracks, but we got our car handling really well. We were running up front with the DEI cars and were running second, third or fourth most of the night. Fortunately, we had the right pit sequence that put us out front and that's really what we needed. We felt pretty good about running competitive and winning the race because that first race is huge. Even though we had been getting better and better at restrictor-plate tracks, our past history didn't lead me to believe that Daytona would be our first win. I just thought we'd win at a place like Richmond or Michigan or California - some place like that - before we won at a restrictor-plate track."

IT WASN'T JUST PIT STRATEGY LAST YEAR THAT WON THE RACE.  YOUR CAR WAS
FAST ALL NIGHT.  "If you look back at the tape, we were running up front
all night.  It wasn't like we were running 20th and all of a sudden we
made it on fuel.  We had a good car."

JACK ROUSH , Car Owner - No. 16 National Guard/Subway Taurus

GREG HAS HAD SUCCESS AT DAYTONA OVER THE LAST YEAR. "To be good at restrictor tracks you have to have a good car and be awful lucky and he's been lucky at the restrictor tracks more than the other guys have. Doug Richert has done a nice job with the car and Greg has good sense for the draft with the amount of experience that he has. We have a good car with a good engine. We're taking the car back with a little improvement to the engine. They're going down there with the expectation of being able to get the pole again and go race to win."

HOW HAS HE HANDLED THE SEASON SO FAR BETWEEN BUSCH AND CUP? "It's a grind. We've had more component failures that were without any indication before that have impacted both programs. In this business you have things that break. You have times when there is a string of incidents and then times where they won't break forever. So, we're just waiting it through and fixing everything that proves to be a problem. Fortunately, all of those things have had a resolution, so we're hoping those problems won't happen again and we'll go on from there."

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT GREG'S DEVELOPMENT SINCE COMING TO CUP? "Greg is able to win on any race track we go to. The problem we've had is that in building a new team around him, we didn't put him into an existing team. We built a team around Randy Goss initially and now we've made our change and we're building it around Doug Richert. Next year is the year that he could make a serious run for a championship if we keep it all together."

HE'S A PRETTY INTENSE GUY ON THE TRACK ISN'T HE? "He has an attitude that time is of the essence. Greg waited in the northwest for 10 years as Mike Skinner left and found a measure of success and Ron Hornaday left and established himself in stock-car racing back east. He was extraordinarily motivated when I did give him a chance to come back and to show what he could do as well. He's anxious to catch up on making a name for himself and that's an admirable thing."

-ford-

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Mike Skinner , Greg Biffle , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Doug Richert