Edwards looking for Wild Card spot, Biffle seeking to extend points lead at Bristol

Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Fastenal Ford Fusion, and Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion, held back-to-back press conferences in the Bristol Motor Speedway infield media center after today’s second practice session. Edwards is 12th in the point standings and looking for a much-needed win to join the wild card race while Biffle leads the point standings after winning last week at Michigan.

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

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

CARL EDWARDS – WE KNOW YOU WANT TO GET AT LEAST ONE WIN TO GET IN THE WILD CARD CHASE. WHAT ABOUT YOUR OUTLOOK THIS WEEKEND? “It’s not a ‘wants to,’ we’re gonna get it. We struggled a little bit through practice here. We feel like we’ve been on both sides of the fence with the car – tight and loose – and we’re hoping we get it right for qualifying. I feel pretty good about the race car in race trim, and I like racing here, so hopefully this will be a good race for us. We are just going for the win, trying to put ourselves in a position. Last week, we had an opportunity with that last restart and Jimmy having his trouble, so we’ve been running well enough to be up there. If we can be up in the top three or four each week, I think we’ll be able to get that win. We just have to keep running well.”

WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE TRACK? “I didn’t run the top groove and, from what I could tell, where they changed the race track, I didn’t run there yet today so it feels like the same race track to me. I talked to my spotter, Jason (Hedlesky), a little bit about the truck race and he said people were working up towards it, but I guess it did narrow up the track a little bit because not a lot of guys were running up there. I don’t want to be the first guy to go up there if there’s no grip, so I didn’t pay any attention to that part of the race track. I just focused on the bottom and the middle groove. I don’t really run that high in practice anyway, but during the race if you’re kind of all by yourself and the pace has slowed down, that’s when I start working up there.”

HOW HAVE THINGS GONE WITH CHAD NORRIS SO FAR? “Chad and I have been doing really well together. He has really put himself in a huge leadership position on the team. He does a great job of working really hard, speaking with everyone, using every part of the team that we have. It seems like he uses all of the resources very well. I talked to Bob a little bit this week. We talked about how he’s helping Chad and I think the whole thing is working very well. We’ve run very well. We’ve had great qualifying efforts, great races. Chad seems to be making really good calls up on the box. Jack has been helping us a lot, sitting up there on the box and putting a lot of effort into our team. I feel like we’ve got as good a situation as we could have for the position we’re in.”

CONSIDERING YOUR POSITION IN THE STANDINGS, IS THERE ANY QUESTION THAT YOU WOULD USE THE BUMP-AND-RUN IF YOU HAD TO ON THE FINAL LAP TO WIN? “You never know what’s gonna happen until the race has played out. Definitely, I think Greg’s got enough wins. If he were in front of me on the last lap, I would go ahead and move him out of the way (Biffle sitting next to Carl at this point). You never really know. You could say that stuff and you can have a plan, but, really, it comes down to how the race is going. We’re in a position right now where our 99 Fastenal team, we have to get that win. I’d say I would probably hang out there a little more than normal to get that win.”

DO YOU HAVE TO BUMP-AND-RUN SOMEBODY? KYLE BUSCH SAID TODAY THE TRACK WAS TERRIBLE, SO IS THIS A BIG WEEK FOR BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY? “I can’t really tell until we get out there and race. I haven’t raced on the track yet, so I just don’t know. ”

GREG BIFFLE – “I was gonna comment on Kyle. He did also win the first COT race here and said the car was terrible or the car sucks.”

CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED – “You just never know. I don’t have an opinion on the track yet. I know they’re working their hardest. I mean, heck, they changed the track because everybody wanted it to be two or three grooves and then they changed it back. I see Marcus (Smith) sitting back there and I know he’s paying attention to what I’m saying right now. I give them a lot of credit for doing the very best they can. This is one of the coolest race tracks in the world and I think they’ve done everything they can to make sure we have the best show that we can have and it will be an exciting race one way or another.”

GREG BIFFLE CONTINUED – “Last week couldn’t have went any better than it did obviously, but this week we could ask for a little bit more. Our car is not really where we want it to be. When I go out and do race trim it seems like I end up about 16th on a fast lap. I’m a little better than that on the lap tracker, but just lacking a little bit of grip overall, so I think like Carl says, we don’t know until we get into this race. I’m pretty good up the race track and on the bottom, which I feel I’m better on the bottom than I have been in the past here, so that may pay dividends during the race. But I’m a little nervous about qualifying here. I’ve got to get a really good lap. Times are so tight and, of course, that’s gonna make a big difference so we’ll have to just wait and see.”

CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED – HOW FRUSTRATING IS IT TO SEEMINGLY RUN WELL IN PRACTICE BUT NOT AS WELL IN THE RACE? “I could sit here and we could go through every race and how they went. I don’t know if you want to do that or not, but a lot of the races have been bad luck where we got caught up in wrecks or we had trouble at Indy, where I thought we had a pretty decent car. A lot of times it’s been bad luck. We haven’t run as well as we need to run, but that’s the only way I know how to be is an optimist. That’s the only reason I’m sitting here in this suit driving for Jack Roush is because you always have to go out and give it your best. You’ve got to do everything you can and at the end of the day if you don’t get the result you want, that’s very frustrating but I don’t look back I try to look forward and say, ‘How are we gonna get this pole? How are we gonna win this race?’ And next week we’ll do the same thing regardless of how this week went. But I feel like last year, as well as things went, as great as we did, a lot of things went our way and went really well. This year, if I went back and picked two or three races that we had terrible luck at if it would have gone the other way, we’d be solidly in the Chase right now and wouldn’t be worried about this. I still think we’ve got to run better. I think whether I make the Chase or not, our whole team, we’ve got to be better so one of us can win this championship, but it’s not much. We just have to be a couple percent better and we’ll be great.”

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

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

GREG BIFFLE CONTINUED – WILL YOU BE AS COMMITTED TO HELPING MATT WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP KNOWING HE IS NOT COMING BACK NEXT YEAR? “I think you have to be a person of integrity for Roush Fenway and how much we hate that Matt’s leaving and we hate to share all the information we share with him every week, the right thing to do and the contractual thing to do is share the information with him and help him the best we can, although both of us probably are gonna be racing him for that championship as well. At the same time, we’re gonna do all we can to win it ourselves. I think that’s how you have to handle it.”

CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED – “I think it’s interesting you asked that while Greg and I are sitting up here together because last year at Talladega Greg helped me a ton. He sacrificed his race for me and our team and I learned a lot about Greg and our team and how well we could work together. I think all of us are committed to get a championship for Ford and Roush Fenway. Even if we’re all three in the Chase if one of us has a better shot at the end, we will all share as much as we can with that person – whether it’s Matt or not – I think we’re all a team. I personally don’t think of Matt leaving yet. It doesn’t seem real. I know he is, but I still think of him as a teammate and I’ve talked to him about it one-on-one about how he feels and he said that he’s not paying attention to that new team he’s going to. He’s really focused here and when the season is over then he’ll go and work on that, and I believe him.”

GREG BIFFLE CONTINUED – DO YOU AGREE WITH CARL THAT YOU WON’T KNOW ABOUT THE TRACK UNTI LTHE RACE AND DID YOU PAY SPECIAL ATTENTION TO THE TRUCK RACE OR TONIGHT’S NATIONWIDE RACE? “I think the Nationwide race will probably teach us more than the truck race will because the truck race were the first vehicles to put rubber down. Now Nationwide will have that opportunity to push that envelope a little bit and, like Carl said, I agree with him and I was just thinking about it in the truck, I didn’t really get up there against the wall or in that third groove. I never drove up there in practice anyway. I used that during the race when you had to or when you went up there and kind of searched around for grip. I wasn’t always the first one up there, so when it looked like it was working for other people, that’s when I’d explore. So that lane being gone will probably affect the outcome of the race or passing, so we’ll just have to wait and see exactly what it does.”

CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED -- WHAT MAKES A GREAT BRISTOL DRIVER? “We won a couple night races in a row here and to me it seems like the track doesn’t change much over time and the same setups kind of work and when you figure something out with a driving style that works and a setup that works, you can use it race after race and not a lot of tracks are like that. The speeds are relatively low enough here that little changes in the body and aero things don’t make a big difference, so if somebody finds something, they can hang on to it a little longer.”

GREG BIFFLE CONTINUED -- ARE YOU GUYS AN EXAMPLE OF HOW FICKLE THIS SPORT IS BECAUSE YOU GUYS HAVE FLOPPED POSITIONS FROM A YEAR AGO? “I’ve seen that so much. I haven’t been around as long as Mark Martin or those guys, but I tell you what, it’s amazing. You sit there and wonder what are we missing? We’re off a little bit or we’re not quite as competitive and then last year it was worse than ever for me because Matt was winning races and Carl was winning races and competing and we just couldn’t quite get there. I’m convinced a lot of it is the chemistry within the team and just attention to detail. A lot of it has to ride on the crew chief’s shoulders too, making sure he’s staying up with the small items that change throughout. Like last week at Michigan, I’ll be perfectly honest with you. On Friday, I was wanting to get my backup car out. I’m asking him, ‘What is the second car we have in the truck because I can’t drive this thing.’ They went back and looked at the notebook and the springs and we looked at what Matt was doing because Matt was pretty good and we came back and said, ‘Yeah, we don’t think this is what we need.’ We went back to the direction of what we raced in the last race and on Saturday it was perfect. So I would have run 25th last week, but, instead, we got it right overnight. It’s not that much between being competitive and just being off a tiny, tiny bit. This sport is so competitive. The amount is almost immeasurable between being able to win and running 12th.”

CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED -- DOES IT STRIKE YOU AS ODD THAT PEOPLE FEEL BRISTOL NEEDS A LIFT? “I don’t know. I don’t think either one of us have the same perspective that you guys do or the fans do. I sit in that race car and think a lot of these races are pretty darn good races. I’m driving my guts out, but I think you look at what you’re saying a couple different ways. It could be a reflection of Bristol and the type of racing we’ve had here lately, or it could be a reflection of how great the racing has been at other places. I think the fans, for the first part of the season we talked a lot about how there weren’t any cautions, there weren’t any wrecks, things were starting to get a little bland and then all of a sudden it seems like things have been really exciting. It feels to me like we’ve had enough pretty straightforward races here at Bristol that some crazy stuff could happen. It just has that feeling. It feels like there’s a lot of people reaching for wins and trying to fight for the wild card position. There’s a lot of guys with nothing to lose and it’s still Bristol, it’s still a half-mile and you’re hauling the mail.”

GREG BIFFLE CONTINUED – “I agree with what Carl said. In the beginning of the season we had all of those no cautions, no cautions, no cautions and I remember everybody was like, ‘OK, wait until next week, wait until next week. Now we’re at Bristol and for sure we’re gonna see something,’ and we didn’t and then everybody panicked. I think the expectation was there that something was gonna happen and now, like you said, we’re coming in here, we’ve had four pretty exciting races, so the expectation level shouldn’t really be out of the park because we’ve been sitting back having boring races, I guess is kind of where I see you maybe going with that a little bit. But I’m with Carl, I think it’s gonna be an exciting race. Lots of people don’t have anything on the line, like me, that want to win races and like Carl who is trying to get, and Brad is really fast again, so I think it’s gonna be exciting.”

Source: Ford Racing

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Article type Interviews
Tags biffle, chase, edwards, ford, roush