Ford Racing press release
Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion, has had a fast Ford all week long and will start Sunday’s Daytona 500 on the outside of row one. Biffle, along with his crew chief Matt Puccia, talked to Ford Racing following the first practice session Friday at Daytona International Speedway about why they have been so fast and what they worked on today.
HAT WAS THE GOAL OUT THERE FOR YOU GUYS TODAY IN PRACTICE? “We were just working on coming to pit road, trying to get runs on and off pit road to see how that works. We were just changing stuff up a little bit and running by ourselves a little bit. Mostly we were working on getting on and off pit road and working on all those little things.” THERE SEEM TO BE FORDS ALL OVER THE TOP HALF OF THE LEADER BOARD ALL WEEK SO FAR. WHY DO YOU THINK THAT IS? “Well, the guys are working really hard at the shop and Doug Yates and his whole group has worked really hard on the engines and that hard work is really showing here at Speed Weeks.” WHAT IS THE PLAN FOR YOU FOR THE SECOND PRACTICE SESSION TODAY? “I think we are done. I don’t think we will go out this afternoon and I think we might be done until the 500.”
Matt Puccia, crew chief No. 16 3M Ford Fusion – WHAT WAS YOUR GOAL OUT THERE IN THAT PRACTICE SESSION TODAY? “Yesterday in the twins was probably the closest we will get to race conditions so that was kind of what we used to tune the car. Today was just kind of a verification. We made sure we swapped the engine and just verified everything was good and that we didn’t have any vibrations or anything like that. That is pretty much all we did today, we had some things we wanted to check on and we did that.” THERE HAS BEEN A LOT OF TALK ABOUT OVER HEATING ISSUES. WHERE ARE YOU GUYS AT ON THAT? “I think we will be okay. The temperatures were pretty warm yesterday and I think they will be cooler on Sunday so I think we will be fine. Yesterday was an extreme case.” THIS IS YOUR FIRST DAYTONA 500 WITH THE TEAM. WHAT HAS THIS PROCESS BEEN LIKE FOR YOU? “At the end of last season we kind of sat down and evaluated what we needed to work on and weaknesses we needed to work on with our car, our organization and our team. We worked on those and made some changes and I strongly believe that what we have right now is probably one of the strongest teams in this garage and I feel very confident in what we have and what we have going for the 500 and the rest of the season.” MORE PRESSURE ON YOU FOR THE 500? “It is a big race but it is only one race. We are here to win every race we can and that is the approach we took yesterday with the twins. Even though we were locked into the front row we were still there to win the race and do what we have to do every week. I don’t believe there is any more pressure this week than there will be next week at Phoenix or the following week at Vegas.” IT SEEMS LIKE THERE ARE NOTHING BUT FORDS UP ON TOP OF THE LEADER BOARD. WHAT IS THE SECRET? “We’ve just done a lot of homework. Ford has done a great job. Doug Yates has done a great job as has Roush Fenway racing and everyone involved. Everyone has put in every ounce of effort they can in preparation for this week and that is what we are going to do week in and week out to make sure we bring our best to the race track.”
Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 43 Smithfield Foods Ford Fusion, has been one half of an impressive one-two punch this week for Richard Petty Motorsports. Almirola caught up with Ford Racing to talk about his fast car this week, working with Greg Erwin and his incident in the first duel race yesterday.
HOW WAS YOUR PRACTICE SESSION? “Our cars are fast. Everybody at Richard Petty Motorsports has done a really good job. Doug Yates and these Roush Yates engines are really strong. I am proud to be a part of this organization and all these guys on the 43 team are doing an awesome job. I am excited about Sunday.” ARE YOU WORRIED AT ALL ABOUT THE TEMPERATURES? “Our car seems to be cooling really well. I think a lot of that goes back to Doug Yates and the way they have these engines cooled but also a lot of hard work at the shop. The way that the duct work and everything is done there, there is a lot of time and effort put into cooling these cars. Those guys did a really good job with our cars and they seem to be cooling really well. We haven’t seen really any issues. We ran the whole duel and we were relatively cool on temperatures. I know a lot of other people have had issues but we haven’t so I think a lot of that goes back to hard work at the shop.” ARE YOU HAPPY WITH WHERE YOU ARE OR ARE YOU GOING BACK OUT? “No, we are happy with where we are at. We still have the same piece we showed up with. We got in a little skirmish but as you can see our guys got it all beat back out and we are good to go. I am really proud of all the guys on this Smithfield team. We are actually about to go give away 130,000 pounds of food with Smithfield and I am proud of that.” YOU MENTIONED THE SKIRMISH YESTERDAY. CAN YOU WALK US THROUGH IT? “Yeah, it really all stared at the start-finish line coming to the white. Jeff Burton was giving me a huge push and I got a really big run. At the last minute McMurray pulled down to block and I kind of checked up. I got into the back of him and started pushing him down into one and I thought we might be able to work something out. We got into turn one and I got side drafted and put three wide. Next thing I knew I was getting a big, big push from behind. There was a whole under McMurray and it was pretty open. He kinda moved down to change lanes because he was following the 29 and he barely came across my nose and turned me hard left into Danica’s car. We touched and she went spinning through the infield for the big crash. Our car wasn’t damaged too bad and our guys fixed it up.”