Continued from part 1 Q: All the stuff Jack talked about, the complicated things, attention on the Chase, the stuff it takes to be a Cup driver these days. When you get down to the end of the race like that, you're racing two guys you know...
Continued from part 1
Q: All the stuff Jack talked about, the complicated things, attention on the Chase, the stuff it takes to be a Cup driver these days. When you get down to the end of the race like that, you're racing two guys you know and enjoy being around, does that sort of get it back to why you got in this to start with? It's a lot of pressure, but that must be what it's all about. That's got to be a blast for you.
GREG BIFFLE: Yeah, I mean, I can't tell you how proud I am or excited that I was to be racing Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards for the win. Man, we were going at it. And that's Friday, Saturday night short track racing where you came from. It's a lot of fun. Get in there and beat and bang a little bit. That's just what we love to do.
But there's so much on the line right now. It takes a lot of mindset, it takes a lot of concentration behind the wheel. It takes a lot of execution to not make mistakes at this level. You can't make mistakes today and come out.
But, you know, we got to beat the 99 car. He's been right on our bumper every week. We got to start stretching it out. Somehow he's just right there and won't go away.
Q: Jack, as close as those three cars were, is it kind of a testament to where you guys have advanced with the COT, that if you have three equal cars with relatively equal talented drivers, we can see the kind of racing that the fans deserve?
JACK ROUSH: The Car of Tomorrow, Greg and I were just talking about that here behind Greg Erwin as he was answering a question. You know, I was surprised to find that the two Gregs don't plan to take the car that they won Dover with to another race this year. They don't need it, with the dozen or so cars in our mainstream that we use. They're all similar enough; they've got confidence in one being the same as the next. They don't need to go back and hurry to get that car back in shape.
That really bodes well for the closeness of competition. Once you get to the point as an organization, you understand how to make the bump stops work, you understand how to make the shock absorbers work with the benefit of the computers, we're able to replicate the car and get any number of cars that work the same.
The thing that winds up being the difference that the crew chief and drivers have to focus on is what they think the racetrack's gonna do and what they think their tolerance is to have the thing loose on one end of the fuel run and tight on the other if it's going to make a swing. So realizing that the guys have got the ultimate responsibility and the prerogative to do what they want, they come back and make the changes to say, All right, we believe this shock is best, we think this is the best package for the cooling in the car, these are the best brakes, now what are we going to do for the last bit of wedge and for the cross weight, the nose weight, the other things that would determine how it would work through a tire run. That's the thing that guys really race with.
In a way, you know, when we used to have the previous car we had, the crew chiefs would make a decision to cut the nose off to make a big aerodynamic change in the car, and you really didn't have maybe the number of cars that you had the confidence in that you could go from one to the next. You would have to literally turn a car around for the next week if the racetracks were similar and you felt that you didn't have another one that was similar, which was generally the case.
But the Car of Tomorrow is working well. It bodes well for having close competition. We're now able I think again to see what the drivers and the crew chiefs can do with one another when they don't handicap themselves by going the wrong direction.
Q: Greg, can you talk about the past two weeks, having such success in a season where you haven't necessarily been where you have been in the past? Can you talk about what you're doing mentally to keep yourself prepared for these races, going into Kansas where you won last year?
GREG BIFFLE: I just think about it a lot. I think about how I replay the race in my mind. I think about how I want my racecar to drive. Greg and I talk about what we got coming up. I think about the races I've won in the past, the races I've lost, the championships I have lost in the past, what I need to do to be better as a driver in order to beat, you know, the 18, the 99, and the 48, 24, 17, everybody in the Chase. I got to figure out a way to beat those guys. That's really what I've been thinking about.
I feel like I can physically, mentally drive the car as good as those guys can. I just need to get it that good. And it's up to me. You know, it's up to me to do that. I've kind of refocused myself on making sure that I've got it right and not making mistakes on the racetrack or pit road or anything.
Q: Greg, Jack was talking about the technical aspects, the difference. It struck me this was a very, very different race from the first race at this track. When you finished third, afterwards you said, When everybody has the same car, you can't pass. Kyle Busch, who won it, pretty much said that the only reason he won, he said he didn't have the best car, but it was because he was ahead. Sitting in the driver's compartment, why was the racing so much better here today?
GREG BIFFLE: I think the racing was so much better because the guys figured out how to use the racetrack better. You know, we were able to use the top and the bottom. We got our cars loose enough where if you drive up behind the guy, it gets that guy loose, and he ultimately has to move up the racetrack. That makes better racing.
Then you get cars that are faster than others, it's easier to pass. My car, when it fired off when the green dropped, I wasn't that good. Matt was hauling butt. I couldn't run with him. But then 20 laps later, 25 laps later, my car come around, then I could race with him. That's what I did, you know, when it came time.
So it's just a matter of waiting for the right time. You know, these cars, obviously, at the end, I was faster than the 17. You know, when I got by him, I was kind of able to drive off, kind of stretch it out. It just goes to show you, at that particular point, when I was racing him for position, how much faster my car was, you know. But at the start of the race, or that run, he was much faster because he drove away from me.
These cars are sensitive to track temperature, tire wear. I think that's why we saw a better race. It's just, you know, guys had different setups and their cars were running up and down the racetrack.
Q: Jack, can you tell us where you were sitting with 25 laps to go? Did you move from one pit box to the other? When did you decide to stay at Biffle's for good?
JACK ROUSH: I got off the 16 box one time when I made a mid race trip to the bathroom. Except for that, I was right there. I picked it between stops where I was pretty sure nothing was going to happen for that moment.
I've got so many different places I can go. I need to go set up shop so I can have my own little command center, you know, for me. Of course, since I had the 6 car for so long, and that was Mark Martin's pit, I always stayed there. Then, of course, when Mark retired, we put the mantle of being the elder senior guy on Greg. I moved in with him.
So I will move off the 16 pit box when it's clear that one of the other cars is going to win just because I can show the right amount of support for what they're doing. Except for that, my home is the 16's pit box, and I was there all day.
Q: Jack, I talked to Greg and Carl about this in recent weeks. I want your opinion. Not so much data, algorithms, but strictly emotion. How much does 2005 still gnaw at you? If things continue to go the way they're going right now, could this be vindication, if you will?
JACK ROUSH: Well, it might be all that. The thing I remember most about 2005 is how much trouble I got in for stinking up there show by putting all five cars in the 10 car Chase, and the fact we weren't able to close the deal just added embarrassment to the problem we created.
NASCAR wants the racing close. We want to race close. I took great joy out of what happened in 2003. Wasn't sure that we'd ever win a championship. Then we won again in 2004. Five cars in the Chase in 2005. We missed it. We couldn't be expected to win three championships in a row at least I couldn't have expected that.
I don't have any sense of great frustration about 2005. I'm just anxious to take care of business and not miss an opportunity here in 2008.
Q: Greg, do you feel as strong as you did in the year you won six races, 2005?
GREG BIFFLE: Actually, I feel stronger now. I feel like we're in a better position now. I don't know if it has anything to do with it, but simply for the fact that we won five of the first 15 races of the season in 2005, and then we were pretty good. Actually, we were just kind of so so through the middle part of the year, leading up to the start of the Chase. Then we were pretty decent in the Chase.
Now we've worked hard this season to get our cars and team where they need to be. I guess if you want to use the term "peak at the right time," I feel like we have worked very hard all season, and now our hard work is starting to show up. What we worked so hard for is to get a great pit crew, great racecar, great engines. We've been able to wheel the car into Victory Lane.
But I feel better right now. I feel a lot better now about this championship than I did in 2005.
Q: You had said last week you're going to have to drive the perfect race. That's what you're focusing on every single race. How close to perfect do you think this race was? Then look at the points that just came out. What do you think when you look at it?
GREG BIFFLE: Well, I did drive a perfect race today. But what I didn't do is I didn't get my car perfect yesterday. Could have made it a little easier on myself today. But I missed it a little bit yesterday. But I was still able to win today. That sounds kind of weird. But, I mean, it's not by much.
I just got the car started out too loose. I was just kind of behind all day. I never really got a chance to get it where I wanted it. I was hanging on.
The points are frustrating. The points are so frustrating because, you know, you would think winning a couple races that you could gain on it. But the reality is that Carl Edwards and the 48 have been right there, you know. We all know that it's a matter of not making mistakes, not how good you're going to run in these next eight races.
Q: Greg, you got out of these two races as good as you could have hoped. Certainly you talked about Loudon was not one of your better tracks. As you look ahead, five of the next eight on mile and a half's. How significant is that for you? How much does that play into your hand? Or just the idea that Martinsville is still looming out there, is that a big concern as you look ahead?
GREG BIFFLE: Man, I cannot wait to go to Martinsville. I cannot wait. After the way we ran at Loudon, I've got a spot sweeped out in that corner for that grandfather clock in my office. I got a spot for it.
These next mile and a half racetracks, I feel confident that there isn't one of them that we can't win at. We're capable of winning at all of them. We're just going to have to execute like we have been. We have to get the car right on Saturday. I'm going to have to not make mistakes to get our car in Victory Lane.
There's gonna be faster cars than ours in those mile and a half races. But we're going to do our damnedest to be there and not make mistakes and try and win a couple of 'em.
But I'm not worried whether we can win at any of those tracks. We just, you know, need to get the best finish we can and not make a mistake.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thank you. Congratulations.