Edwards and Biffle reflect on effects of Daytona postpoment

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Ford Racing press release

Rain forced postponement of the 54th Daytona 500 to Monday at noon. Ford drivers Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards, who hold the front row positions, spoke about having to wait another day for the Great American Race.

Greg Biffle, Roush Fenway Racing Ford
Greg Biffle, Roush Fenway Racing Ford

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 3M Ford Fusion

WHAT’S THIS LIKE HAVING TO WAIT ANOTHER DAY? “I don’t know. I just tweeted that I guess I’m gonna have to win the first Monday Daytona 500. As you can tell, I’m still in my uniform because I was optimistic that this weather was gonna get out of here and we were gonna get this thing going, but I’ll just have to save my energy for tomorrow. I got all of the hard work done today. I did all the hospitality and that stuff, so I’m ready to go. I just can’t wait. I guess I’ll have to wait until 12 o’clock tomorrow and take that green flag. I’m just excited. I’m still on the front row. Hopefully, the weather is better tomorrow. I know a lot of race fans are disappointed and a lot of people at home on TV, but we just hope they tune in tomorrow. It’ll be a great race.”

IS IT MORE FRUSTRATING KNOWING YOU’VE GOT A GREAT CAR THAT CAN WIN THIS RACE? “That does make it even more frustrating, knowing that we have a good car, starting on the front row of the Daytona 500 and I feel like we can win this race. There’s just so much anxiety. I’ve watched all the programming leading up to this with all the interviews and then to just put it on hold makes it tough for a driver because there’s all kinds of adrenaline, and then you have to try to sleep tonight. It’s still a big race, so you try to stay hydrated for tomorrow.”

THE FORECAST ISN’T GREAT FOR MONDAY EITHER. AND THEN YOU HAVE TO GET OUT TO PHOENIX FOR THE NEXT RACE. WHAT KIND OF POSITION IS NASCAR IN? “This is a tough situation and this is something that we don’t ever wish on any sport or any person is to have inclement weather because our activities are outside. It can always happen. It can snow. It can rain. It can freeze. Anything can happen, but, unfortunately, we’re just gonna have to hurry up and wait. It’s like watching paint dry because you look out the window and it’s still raining, but we’ve waited until Tuesday before – not for the Daytona 500 – but I have a good feeling we’ll have a good enough window tomorrow to get it in.”

THE RAIN WILL WASH THE RUBBER OFF. HOW WILL THE TRACK CHANGE? “I think this race track, because of the grip and the downforce the race cars have, I think that you won’t see a big difference with the track rubbering up. The speeds will be a little bit faster because the track will be green, but I think for that first run the track is gonna get some rubber on it. NASCAR will probably do a competition caution just to make sure that everything is going OK – probably lap 30 or 25 – so I think it’ll be OK. It’ll just be fast at 12 when we start, but then it’ll be the same game after the first pit stop.”

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CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Fastenal Ford Fusion

Carl Edwards, Roush Fenway Racing Ford
Carl Edwards, Roush Fenway Racing Ford

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

YOU ARE AN ATHLETE WITH A LOT OF FOCUS, HOW DOES THIS RAIN POSTPONEMENT WORK FROM YOUR POINT OF VIEW? “Well, this is one of the toughest things for us drivers and you guys are living it as well. You planned on getting this race in and writing the stories and covering the event. When you put that off for another day, for all of us it is now who can really stay focused. That is not just the drivers; it is the pit crews, crew chiefs and everyone, including the officials. I think we will be just fine. Someone told me this was the first time it was postponed. A couple years ago I remember it was late or something. I think that is a pretty good record for NASCAR. They have been living right to have 53 of these and never have one of them postponed. That is pretty spectacular. We will come race tomorrow and I think everyone is really excited about this race. All the drivers I have spoken with and all the fans. This is going to be a very good Daytona 500 and I think NASCAR is doing the right thing in not dragging this out. Everybody knows we will be racing tomorrow during the day, it will be a good event and hopefully the weather will hold off and we aren’t in the same position tomorrow.”

HOW WILL THE MOISTURE ON THE TRACK TODAY IMPACT THINGS AND DOES THIS MESS UP YOUR SCHEDULE FOR THE WEEK? “No, I am pretty open. I didn’t have anything scheduled for tomorrow so this is fine. I did break the awning on my motor home. I left it out in the rain and this has cost me a little bit. We will just hang out. What does the weather look like tomorrow? (Told of more rain). “What are you guys going to do? Eat? Sounds like I have to take Covitz back to Kansas City now, so that will be tough. I heard the jet dryers going out there. They are doing everything they can. There are so many people out there and I have so many friends out there debating on if they should drive back to their hotels or not. At least now everyone can go back and have a little fun tonight. I am sure there will be a lot of people out running around Daytona Beach waiting for this race tomorrow. Nothing big for me though. I hope it is a really big day tomorrow. Let me put it this way, if I did have any plans I would go ahead and put them on hold for the Daytona 500.”

HOW ABOUT THE TRACK SURFACE? “The only thing is that the rain will make the track a little more abrasive to start. I think NASCAR will have a competition caution and we will get to look at the tires. We didn’t see any trouble in the Gatorade race, the shootout, that is something you worry about at these places because of the speeds. If you get the camber wrong, we have had trouble at these places because too much camber heats up that outside edge of the tire sometimes even on the straightaway. I don’t think anyone will have an issue though.”

A LITTLE OFF THE WALL BUT WE HAD THE THUNDERBIRDS AND JOHN CENA IN HERE THIS MORNING AND ALL THEY COULD DO IS TALK ABOUT YOU. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THOSE RELATIONSHIPS? “The Thunderbirds are amazing. I don’t know how many of you have taken a ride with them but you should. Randy Fuller is ex Air Force and he can hook that up. They are spectacular. I am proud to say I made it through my whole flight and didn’t get sick, which I guess is a big deal. That was really cool. It was neat to see them flying around and it was cool that they still did the fly over today. It looked like they were in the bottom of the overcast. John Cena, what can I say? That is the biggest thing I am worried about in Daytona, that guy running around with nothing to do. He could tear this whole town down himself. He is a really good guy and hopefully he can stick around for the race tomorrow. I know that was a big deal for him to waive that flag and he is genuinely excited. I think that is really neat.”

WITH PHOENIX UP NEXT THAT IS TOUGH ON THE DRIVERS AND CREW RIGHT TO GET THERE? “Yeah and I was just looking at the schedule earlier today and we aren’t on track until midday Friday. If we were to put this out until Tuesday then it would be real tough but I am sure it will be fine. We have guys that can do it. I know our Phoenix stuff is ready to go and I think there might be an issue with some of the engines, especially with our FR9’s. You would have to ask Jack but I know it was tough for Doug Yates and those guys to get the amount of engines ready for these first two races, so I am sure they will be running engines back and forth and turning things over.”

WHAT ACTUALLY DID YOU DO DURING THE DELAY AND ALSO THE WEATHER IS PROMISING FOR TOMORROW NIGHT SO IF IT IS A NIGHT RACE WHAT DOES THAT CHANGE? “Well, I am assuming they would go til seven or eight o’clock and then if the weather is out of here I guess we almost certainly get it in tomorrow. I don’t know that it will change much. It will look neat. That would be neat to run the Daytona 500 under the lights. I think the fans would enjoy that. As far as what I did, it wasn’t much. I really did break the awning on my motor home and that was kind of an ordeal. We have it all tied up. Wayne, my motor home driver and I were up on the roof tying it up and pulling fuses and trying to figure that out. That was fun. I just hung out and watched a little of the coverage. I did watch the PBA U.S. Open tournament. Have you guys seen that? It was the 69th U.S. Open. Pete Weber won. I don’t know if you guys are Pete Weber fans or not but that guy is intense. Turns out his is from Missouri, so that was pretty interesting. I got into that a little big. It was inspiring. He had to throw a strike and he did on his final throw and won his fifth major title. That was pretty cool.”

ARE THE TYPES OF FINISHES WE HAVE HAD HERE THIS WEEK GOOD RACING OR IS IT JUST ENTERTAINMENT? “Well, this is a rare type of racing event. In the whole world I don’t think there is anything like Daytona and Talladega. I think NASCAR has done a very good job of making this race so that there is some driving involved and luck involved and it is hugely entertaining. They have kept the speeds down just below the really scary speeds. I don’t know how to describe it. I am truly torn about this type of racing. When the Nationwide race started yesterday it really bothered me to not be in the race. I wanted to be out there. By the time it was over and I was watching the finish I thought it was okay. It was neat to watch but I was glad I wasn’t out there. In the space of one race I had awfully mixed emotions about how much I liked this stuff. This place can chew you up and spit you out. It can be a really frustrating day or it could be the biggest day of your career. It all depends on how it turns out. I would say for most everybody it is kind of love-hate. It is really great when it goes well and really frustrating when it doesn’t.”

DO YOU MISS SOME OF THE PAGEANTRY WHEN YOU HAVE TO POSTPONE ON RACE DAY? “I don’t know. I think anytime you have to wait to race later it has a different atmosphere but we got to go out there and take part in the driver intros and got to go to the drivers meeting and see the celebrities and everyone. That stuff is neat. It is neat to see that much interest in our sport and I think it tells you a lot about how big the Daytona 500 is. Whenever you have these races and wait to the next day and walk up to the car they feel a little different. It feels more like a pure racing event. It feels more like a short track event. I don’t know how to explain it. Like you said, there is not as much pageantry. It is more of a feeling of just a pure race. It is cool either way. I have enjoyed some of the Monday races I have had the last few years.”

CAN YOU EXPAND ON YOUR THUNDERBIRD RIDE. THE PILOT SAID YOU WERE AS GOOD A PILOT AS YOU ARE A DRIVER. “I don’t know what he thinks of my driving so I won’t take that as a compliment just yet. It was fun. I am telling you that you guys gotta try it. I am sure if you have interest they would work something out. You get all the training first of all and it is all about how to bail out of the airplane. I guess Bill Elliott is the only civilian to eject out of a military airplane. I don’t know if you guys know that story but you should dig that up and ask him about it. It looks like a hell of a deal to eject out of one of those planes. They teach you all this stuff and tell you how to land in your parachute and show you videos and get you thinking a lot about jumping out of this airplane. By the time I got out into the plane I hadn’t thought about the flight much. They throttle this thing up and it feels like you are attached to a rocket. They go full after burner and take off. Jason, my pilot, was a real soft spoken understated guy and he said we were going to pull in 3, 2, 1. We were going about 500 knots at the end of the runway and he turned it on its tail and everything in me slammed into the seat and we went vertical up to 12 or 15,000 feet in about five second or something. It was insane. The whole experience, start to finish, is the most amazing ride you could go on. You have this big bubble canopy so you can see perfectly and the whole word is dropping at mach nine or eight or however fast you are going straight up. It is just insane. He did let me fly a lot too which is neat. It is nice to get some of your tax money back like that. I did enjoy flying it.”

DO YOU HAVE THE KIDS HERE? IF SO, WHAT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT THING ABOUT THAT AS A PARENT TO KEEP THEM ENTERTAINED DURING A RAIN DELAY AND AN EXTRA DAY? “My family has been here and it is really nice. We are all fortunate to travel with our families and have our motor homes here. I know how tough that is for everyone in this room. I am assuming you guys don’t have motor homes and aren’t able to bring your family most of the time. So it is really nice and we have been able to go out and enjoy almost every day which has been nice weather. You go to the park and stuff like that. It has been really fun. The rain is hard on everybody, myself, my wife and everyone. You want to get out and do stuff. We might just go walk around. I have a good rain coat. Maybe we will go for a walk and just get out. You know how it is. You sit and wait these things out and you get cabin fever. You want to do something. Who knows, I don’t know if I want my kids playing with like Newman’s kids. I am just kidding. It is pretty cool to see the kids play. That is something that brings us all together here in the sport of NASCAR. It is pretty neat.”

WERE YOU MAINLY WITH YOUR FAMILY OR DID YOU GATHER WITH OTHER DRIVERS AND PLAY GAMES? “I didn’t do anything goofy. I took a little nap and was truly woken up to the sound of my awning on my motor home collapsing. We stood out there in the rain and worked on it for a long time. I did not do anything, not yet, crazy. The coolest thing I did this week is I went down and got my float plane rating at a little airport north of here. I landed on water, which sounds really simple but here in Florida is dangerous because they have giant reptiles, alligators, everywhere. As we are flying around he is pointing out alligators, which was crazy. That was fun. I didn’t do anything in the rain though. Nothing yet in the rain.”

YOU HAVE BEEN AROUND DANICA LAST YEAR IN THE NATIONWIDE SERIES. DID YOU SENSE ANY RESENTMENT LAST YEAR OVER THE ATTENTION SHE GOT AND DO YOU THINK THAT COULD HAPPEN? “I haven’t sensed that. I think all us drivers realize she is a race car driver trying to make it in our sport and trying to do well. She seems to really, genuinely do well, to work hard and I treat her no differently than any other drivers that come over there. I think that comes from me being treated that way. People respected what I was trying to do when I came here and I needed a lot of help. It is obviously unique the amount of attention that she gets but I think that is probably only hard on her. It’s not something that I resent. Whatever attention she gets is good. If she can do well then that will be good for our sport. If she doesn’t then that just shows you how tough it is and it could go either way. It is pretty neat that she is giving it her best effort. I respect that.”

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Tags biffle, edwards, ford, roush