An interview with: CARL EDWARDS GREG BIFFLE THE MODERATOR: We're now joined in the infield media center by today's second place finisher, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford, Carl Edwards. Carl, tell us about your run. CARL EDWARDS: ...
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: We're now joined in the infield media center by today's second place finisher, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford, Carl Edwards. Carl, tell us about your run.
CARL EDWARDS: Darn 18 car, you know, got us again.
You know, I felt like we were strong, at least as strong as anyone, and probably the best car for a lot of the race. In that last run, we got off pit road just a little bit slow, then the car was not quite as fast for the first half of that last run as it needed to be.
Very frustrating to finish second with that good of a racecar. But we battled all day. That's what we ended up with.
THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for Carl.
Q: Carl, first of all, congratulations on being the only driver to make a green flag pass for the lead.
CARL EDWARDS: Thanks. I feel like I passed a lot of damn cars today. A lot.
Q: Kyle said he had the third best car out there. How does the third best car win by five seconds?
CARL EDWARDS: I think Kyle is being modest. That last run I believe his car was the best car. I think over the day, our car was the best on average. We just didn't put it all together. We weren't fast enough at the end.
One of the ways a fast car can get slowed down is pit stops. That happened to us today. I'm behind my guys a hundred percent. They work hard. We just got to get better there. That's our weakest point right now with our team. That was what we struggled with most of the day.
I don't know if that was the deciding factor in our not winning the race, you know.
THE MODERATOR: We're also joined by today's third place finisher, Greg Biffle.
Greg, tell us about your run.
GREG BIFFLE: Pretty good run for us. You know, early in the race we had an alternator issue. The voltage dropped. The car was missing at the end of the straightaway. Carl started catching us and catching us and catching us. I wasn't sure what the problem was. I was switching boxes, doing all kinds of things. I thought it might have been the engine. Then it started missing real bad.
I moved up because I thought it was going to break. I didn't want to screw Carl up because I knew he had a fast car. I moved up and let Carl go by. Shortly after that, I figured out what it was and got it switched back and started going again.
You know, it's just the guy out front has such an advantage. I couldn't run him down. I could run the same lap times as him. In fact, I caught him a little bit. Our cars were so equal. I think it was really whoever was in front of who seemed to be the difference.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q: Carl, you and Greg had the big first half to two thirds of the race, and when Kyle got around you, you had trouble keeping up. Did you tighten up or loosen up?
CARL EDWARDS: We had our car, we could get it one way a little loose, then it would be a little tight. We were around a perfect racecar most of the day. It wasn't one thing. We weren't struggling with one thing, you know.
Q: Greg, this is three events in a row where you got a top five, including the All Star Race. What's going on with your team right now, although I'm sure you'd like to move it up one or two spots?
GREG BIFFLE: Yeah, you know, our team has been building really, really fast racecars, really good cars. We've been super fast about everywhere. You look at Darlington. Darlington, we were on the pole. Darlington we led a tremendous amount of the race. We had a really fast car. Then we came to Charlotte, had two good cars. Came here, set on the pole, had a great car for the whole race.
I really feel like we've sort of turned the corner and are super competitive. Now we just have to get all the gremlins out of there that keep us from finishing good every week. We were fortunate enough the alternator didn't cause us to lose any spots today. We didn't have to change a battery or anything like that. We were able to switch to the second battery and finish the race with no problems, other than we had to shut fans off. That can make you a little tighter.
Overall we're just happy to get the finishes. We've been running good, had fast cars, we just didn't have the finishes.
Q: How difficult was that on you?
GREG BIFFLE: Pretty difficult on me. Thank God it wasn't hotter than it was today. I got an awful pain in my stomach from, you know, just not having any oxygen inside the car. I had my helmet I opened my visor, thought it was going to be no problem. I opened my visor. There's dirt, dust, rubber flying around, stuff going in my eyes. So I shut my visor back down. If anybody's ever had a helmet on with a visor down, we have a chin flap, it seals it off, there's just no air in there to breathe. So I panted inside that thing for 300 laps. Just wore me out.
Q: For much of the day, there seemed to be a pattern that when Kyle Busch was ahead, it seemed like a short term thing. Carl, you would often track him down. You took the lead once on a green, but at least get close. The last time, in particular, when he got out of the pits, you two pitted together, then he pitted afterwards. Came out maybe two seconds ahead. Before you knew it, it was six seconds. The obvious thing that you think about, first of all, is aero push. Secondly, there's always some suspicion that he had it all day and then used it or was his car stronger or was your car weaker? How do you think that shook out?
CARL EDWARDS: There was a lot to it. The bottom line is he picked up about, I don't know, a couple seconds on us, got out there. The other thing is we made an adjustment. For some reason, I'm not sure, I think my car has a bump stop that failed or something like that. But my car felt pretty terrible there for the first 30, 40 laps of that last run, got to build that big lead.
I don't think he was saving it. Every time I passed him, he was working as hard as a guy could work in that car. I could see it. I think it all just worked out in the best case for him, worst case for us, you know.
Q: Greg, another week, another strong run, but also another mechanical issue. After you came out of the pits that last time, came over the radio, said you wanted to have a talk with Jack. What's going on there? What's so frustrating? How do you solve these problems?
GREG BIFFLE: Well, Carl and I both kind of had the same issue. We had some difficulty with lap traffic. I was frustrated. The thing is, it's a delicate situation. It's a really delicate situation to talk about. You can't say, Just get out of my way, you can't race, although that's what Tony Stewart a lot of times does. He doesn't put up with the guys not getting out of his way when he's got a faster racecar, and he'll let you know it.
This car is so difficult. You know, when you get 10, 15 car lengths from a guy, it just stops, and you can't get any closer. It's not like you can get up and push air on his bumper and try to get him out of the way. So Carl and I both spent about, you know, 10 laps, 8 laps behind one of our teammate's cars and lost a tremendous amount of track position. That's where he lost all of his track position, to the 18 car. I saw it happen. Then the same thing happened to me. I was on Carl's bumper. When I got by him, Carl was almost a straightaway ahead of me almost a straightaway. Second place finish is out the window. There was no way I was going to catch Carl.
At the same time that guy is racing for, you know, his sponsor, his team, his guys, Ford, and deserves every right to be out on the racetrack and run as hard as he can, as well as everybody else. But there's certain circumstances that you look at, we look at. There's no cars around him. He's not racing side by side with somebody like the 26 and 31. They're race for the Lucky Dog. They were going at it balls out, racing each other hard. I don't expect 'em to move over, you know.
But when there's a guy by himself running along, you know, holds you up for 10 laps, that's unacceptable.
Q: Greg, it raises the question of, what's wrong with the chrome horn? Are you afraid it's going to damage the car or get you penalized?
GREG BIFFLE: You can't get there. You can't catch 'em. You can't get close enough to put the bumper on them because the car's so aero tight, it's so big. It punches such a big hole in the air. You just can't get to the guy's bumper. Jack his tires off the ground, send him in the fence backwards. I'd have done in it a second, I just couldn't get there. When I did get there, he just moved over.
But it's tough, you know. I would have. There's no doubt. I would have used it, you know, all of it. But that's the frustrating thing, you know. These guys, they may not know it, you know, or they may know it, they're catching other cars, but when you catch a car and he's four car lengths ahead of you, you're just parked. Your car just stops like something's broken, you know, and you can't get any closer. You try the high line, the low line, dive in the corner, get a run at him. You try to do anything you can do to get within a car length of him to say, Hey, I'm here, give me a break, then they normally will. Sometimes you get stalled out that four car lengths back. I was behind the 21 car. There were cars in front of him. Didn't expect him to move out of the way. But I was behind him for 15, 17 laps. Couldn't pass him. Couldn't pass him and the guys in front of him.
That's how NASCAR and everybody wanted these cars to be, really close together. Everybody's got the same car. When everybody has the same car, you can't pass.
Q: Is it just that you can't make any headway or is the front end going away, or a combination of both?
GREG BIFFLE: Both. The car just slides. You go down in the corner, the front end slides up the racetrack. Won't grab ahold. Go to the gas, it will be a little loose, start sliding the nose. You have to come off the gas, up the corner, or it's going to hit the fence. They drive away from you. You spend two more laps getting back as close as you can to them. It's really tough. That's all it is.
Everybody's got the same problems. There's no doubt. But when they're your teammates, we need to work, you know, closer together on issues like that.
Q: Is this why we are seeing races regularly where the guy in the lead can jump out to such a huge lead because clean air is king right now?
GREG BIFFLE: Yes, yes. Clean air is king. When I was in front of Carl, I saw Carl five car lengths back, and Kyle Busch save that story for another day. They can't get any closer. They're three, four car lengths back. They cannot get any closer. Can't get any closer. And I slowed down a little bit off of one of those starts to try and let Kyle Busch get closer to my car. And he stayed three car lengths back, you know. He just couldn't drive up on me.
Q: Greg, I'm going to throw you a curve ball of a question. You want to win a race. You're competitive. But when you see a guy get that far ahead of you, do you almost admire him that he's able to do that and you're not?
GREG BIFFLE: Yeah, I mean, probably same thing he was thinking at the beginning of the race when he couldn't see me any more. The car's right right now. He kept adjusting on his car, adjusting on his car. At the end, he got his car right and was able to drive off and manipulate traffic better than us. That's really the key. Whoever could get through traffic could just murder you. At the beginning of the race, I could just mow traffic down. I could get through them like my car would cut to the bottom, I could get through them really fast. I could tell other guys had problems with that.
Then from about two thirds of the race on, I had trouble with traffic and Carl could get by the guys and I was stuck. I was kind of racing Carl first, and then Kyle second. But, yeah, they were able to get by the traffic much faster than I was. I just too tight. I was too loose in one run, tightened it up. That just killed me for the end. I should have known the track was tightening and putting more rubber down. Just a mistake on my part.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Greg.