Greg Biffle and Elliott Sadler will start from the pole in their respective Gatorade 125 qualifying races Thursday afternoon. Since both drivers have starting positions locked up for Sunday's Daytona 500, they were asked to talk about their ...
Greg Biffle and Elliott Sadler will start from the pole in their respective Gatorade 125 qualifying races Thursday afternoon. Since both drivers have starting positions locked up for Sunday's Daytona 500, they were asked to talk about their approach to tomorrow's event."
GREG BIFFLE - No. 16 Jackson Hewitt/National Guard Taurus
WHAT IS YOUR MAIN GOAL TOMORROW? "My main goal tomorrow is to stay out of trouble. We're starting in the front row, so I'd like to stay out front as much as I can. Obviously, there are gonna be pit stops and other things involved, so I'm just gonna try to keep the car out front and try to keep it out of harm's way."
WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE HOW IT REACTS IN TRAFFIC? "I've pretty much done that two or three times today in practice. We're gonna have to make pit stops, so I'm probably not gonna lead the entire thing anyway. Plus, the 8 is starting outside of me and his car is really strong, so I might be back in the pack. I don't want to do that voluntarily, but I'm probably gonna end up back there at some point."
CAN YOU LEARN ANYTHING TOMORROW FOR SUNDAY? "Yeah, definitely. There are gonna be a few more cars (on Sunday), but all of them will be behind us starting the 500. There are gonna be 43 cars instead of half that, but I think I'm gonna be cautious in the 125 yet aggressive. I want to see what the car is like. I got three-wide two or three different times out there today and I felt pretty comfortable with it. That's what I needed to do. It's not what I wanted to, but I did it and the car stuck under me so I'm pretty happy."
WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER CARS IN YOUR RACE TOMORROW? "I've got the 88 behind me tomorrow, so that's good but I have a lot to learn. Starting up there tomorrow in the 125 will give me some practice at it so I can see what I like. They're all fast cars. All of the top 10 cars are pretty equal, so I'm just gonna do what I think I need to do and then maybe make some adjustments for the 500."
YOUR RACE IS PRETTY STACKED. "Yeah. There are good cars everywhere down here. You can see that everyone is running fast. Tires are a big deal. The guy's car that is handling the best is the one who is gonna win."
HOW ARE THE TIRES? "The tires are perfect today. The wear is great - around 37 laps - and I'm really, really happy with the car."
WHEN DO THE TIRES DROP OFF? "They drop off fast. It got tight. It definitely got tight about 20 laps into the run, so from about lap 20 to lap 37 I was fighting the thing. I was not quite turning as good as I needed it to do, but I think everybody is fighting that. If it gets just a little bit better, I'll be happy with it."
ELLIOTT SADLER - No. 38 M&M's Taurus
"We probably don't have to take near the chances maybe some of the other guys have to take. We're gonna go and try to win the thing. I want to see how it's gonna lead and run up front, but I don't have to worry about being three-wide and just trying to race my way in. So if it gets too hairy, you might see me just be more calm and maybe just ride the high line and get a good tire check and fuel mileage check. We'll see. We're gonna try to win that thing. I mean, that's our number one goal, but our ultimate goal is to win the Daytona 500. We'll do everything we can to keep our car safe for that." TODAY WAS A STRUGGLE? "Yeah, today we didn't really run as good as we would have liked or made the progress we really wanted to make. We're still working hard on that. We're gonna make a few changes tonight and try to use some of our Bud Shootout notes and go from there."
BEN LESLIE , Crew Chief - No. 21 Motorcraft Taurus
WHAT ARE YOU SEEING AS FAR AS TIRE WEAR AND HOW WILL IT AFFECT THE RACES TOMORROW? "You're gonna be forced to go a fuel stop, which is about 35 or 36 laps, but the question is whether or not you've got cords hanging out of the right-front or not. We seem to be fairly fortunate. We haven't seen any dramatic tire wear, but everybody is seeing a lot of tire wear based off what we saw last year and in year's past. It's just the way this new tire compound is gonna be. It's gonna take a little bit of fuel mileage out of it and I think it's gonna put the racing back to where you need tires. The way things stand now, if your car is handling good, your tires will just make it to a fuel stop. If your car is not handling good, you're either gonna be forced to take a chance and hope that tire doesn't blow out because of excessive wear, or you'll have to bite the bullet and pit before you actually have to for fuel."
ARE YOU SURPRISED THEY'VE WORN THIS MUCH? IS IT A MAJOR CHANGE? "It's a pretty big change. I'm surprised. I expected it to wear more, but I didn't necessarily expect it to wear quite this much. This is what they were looking for to try and get the fuel mileage out so tires are a lot more important now."
IT'S NOT A BAD TIRE IT'S JUST DIFFERENT, RIGHT? "The tires are fine and they're doing exactly what they're supposed to do. The key is your car and how it's handling. If it's handling OK, you'll be able to make it to your fuel stop. If your car in not handling, you'll be forced to either try to chance it and make it to the fuel stop, or stay on the safer side and pit before you actually need to pit for fuel in order not to hurt the car."