GREG BIFFLE GOES OFF-ROAD RACING FOR THE FIRST TIME BY TAKING THE NEW FORD-150 SVT RAPTOR R FOR TEST SPIN IN NEVADA DESERT (PRIMM, Nev., April 16, 2009) -- Greg Biffle is used to making test drives, but it's safe to say the one he...
GREG BIFFLE GOES OFF-ROAD RACING FOR THE FIRST TIME BY TAKING THE NEW FORD-150 SVT RAPTOR R FOR TEST SPIN IN NEVADA DESERT
(PRIMM, Nev., April 16, 2009) -- Greg Biffle is used to making test drives, but it's safe to say the one he made today in the new Ford F-150 SVT Raptor R won't be forgotten anytime soon.
With the Nevada desert in Primm as the backdrop, Biffle got behind the wheel of Ford's newest truck after company engineers requested his feedback. An avid truck lover, Biffle jumped at the opportunity to go off-roading at a desert race for the first time in his life as part of this weekend's "Terrible's 250" Best in the Desert Racing Association event.
He wasn't disappointed.
"That is so much fun I might quit my day job, I'm not sure," said Biffle after making two laps around the three-mile course. "That is certainly a thrill. I've never done something like that before and I can see why these guys do this on a weekly basis because it's a kick in the pants.
"This thing is unbelievable. I've never been off the ground in a production truck. I've been off the ground in my sand car or something like that, but never anything like this," continued Biffle. "A jump like we made, I'd be a little nervous to jump that in my sand car, but it's incredible. I can't even begin to explain what that was like."
In addition to Biffle, Ford also invited Lindsey Weenk, driver of the Blue Thunder F-150 in the Monster Jam Truck Series, to test out the F-150 SVT Raptor. The truck, which will be available in showrooms later this summer, is being raced in all five BITD events this season by former Ford Rough Riders Steve Olliges and Rob MacCachren.
"It's a great opportunity for us today to leverage a lot of our different partners that we have with Lindsey in the Monster Truck Series and Greg on the NASCAR circuit," said F-150 Marketing Manager Mark Grueber. "Greg certainly brings a lot of credibility and insight that we can use in the development of the truck, and he can also help us reach a broader customer base as well. Greg has a huge amount of fans, so we're able to get the Raptor out there and hopefully interest those customers in the new truck."
And while Biffle was only joking about leaving his day job as driver of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion, he obviously impressed MacCachren, who has won multiple championships in a variety of off-road series.
"He was excellent. He took to it like he's been doing it for many years. You can tell when a guy's got talent. He got in there and started wheeling it right from the beginning," said MacCachren, who sat alongside Biffle during his run. "The Raptor is an excellent truck with a lot of potential and Greg took it a step even farther with his talent. On our second lap I asked him, 'So how many years have you been off-roading?' And he said it was his first time, so I was impressed. Greg is a very talented driver. I'm sure if he ever wanted a second career, he could come right in here and do this in a heart beat."
Even though off-road and stock car racing seem to be at polar opposites of the racing spectrum, Biffle said there were some similarities from a technique standpoint.
"Certainly a lot of it applies with what we do in a weekend because so much of this is finesse and so much of it is not to over-drive or under-drive, but finding that fine line. A lot of times we pay the price by either hitting the fence or being off a little bit, whereas here you pay the price by losing a tremendous amount of time and then having to get back on course. There's a tremendous amount of skill involved," said Biffle. "The main thing is getting down when to brake. It's so important and so technical. There's a lot to it. People think you just hold it down and drive over anything there is, but there's a lot to it."
Biffle spent about three hours in the desert driving and learning about the truck before flying to Phoenix later in the afternoon, where he will be competing in Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway. Biffle is currently 15th in the point standings after seven races and is coming off a third-place finish two weeks ago in Texas.
"You've got to drive it. I can't even being to tell you what this truck will do. There's never been a production truck that's even in the ballpark," said Biffle. "You're going to be hard-pressed to take something home in your garage and make it this nice and this good. It'll suck up a lot of stuff and it rides really nice. My big thing is to just go drive one. Go look at it and drive it and see what you think."