Biffle Gives Ford a Perfect 10 in 2004 * Greg Biffle's triumph today in the Ford 400 was his third career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series win and second of the season (Michigan in August). * The win also marked Ford's 10th of the season,...
Biffle Gives Ford a Perfect 10 in 2004
* Greg Biffle's triumph today in the Ford 400 was his third career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series win and second of the season (Michigan in August).
* The win also marked Ford's 10th of the season, which is three more than last season. * Ford now has 554 all-time series wins while Taurus has posted 84 points victories and 91 overall, including the Budweiser Shootout and All-Star races.
* Eight of Ford's 10 race wins in 2004 came courtesy of Roush Racing (Kurt Busch, 3; Greg Biffle, 2; Matt Kenseth, 2; and Mark Martin, 1).
GREG BIFFLE - No. 16 National Guard/Subway Taurus
TALK ABOUT THE FINISH.
"I tell you, it's unfortunately that the 12 car had trouble, Ryan Newman, but that was the determining factor to give me the opportunity to win today. There was no way we were gonna catch him. We were a lot faster than those guys, but four laps wasn't gonna be enough. After I got around the 88, the 88 was running good today, and I had to race him hard for position and once I got around him I was just trying to catch those guys. I felt like I was better than the 20. I pretty much had a better race car than everybody, it's just that track position and having the opportunity to pass them. I felt like I'd be able to get the 20 fairly easy. I mean, I had two laps and four corners to work our way around him, whether it was gonna be the top or the bottom, my race car was really fast on both spots. So I felt pretty good about having a chance to get by him. I heard some chatter on the radio and I kind of lost my focus there a little bit on the restart. One guy in the pits keyed up that normally doesn't talk and said, 'The 20 car is getting a fuel can out.' Right then, I was listening to him and the 20 car just stopped in front of me and I jerked the wheel to the right to try not to hit him. I got off the gas on the brakes and jerked the wheel to the right and got back in the gas and I was looking around to see if the 24 or 48 was gonna be beside me. I didn't want to wreck them or run into anybody and wreck my car, so once I realized I was clear of everybody, I knew it was gonna be clean sailing. That sucker just marched off all day."
WHAT DOES THIS WIN DO FOR MOMENTUM NEXT YEAR?
"It does a lot for us. Our team has been this strong the second half of the season and all of the chase races. There again, we just haven't had some of the finishes that we feel that we should have, but this is what the team is capable of. This is what I'm capable of as a driver when we have the right race cars at the race track and the aero balance is correct and the engine performs like it did today. That car is so easy to drive. I won Michigan in that car and should have won Kansas, but fuel mileage is an issue with us. I had to stop at Kansas with about 20 laps to go and I had to start back in 20th position and got all the way to third and just didn't have a shot at the guys for the lead. This is that same race car. We're trying to build some more like it and understand it better, but it certainly does a lot for our momentum. We feel like we've got our spot secured in the chase for the Nextel Cup next year. I feel 100 percent confident that as a driver and Doug as a leader of the 16 team, that we're gonna be one of the guys in the chase next year."
WERE YOU AWARE THAT THE TITLE CONTENDERS WERE AROUND YOU?
"I tell you what, that's the toughest spot to be in ever in your life. You guys sitting out here asking the questions, everybody can put themselves in that position and think to yourself, 'What am I gonna do here and how do I handle myself?' I wanted to win the race. I had the car to win the race. I felt like we were entitled to win the race, if that sounds arrogant or not. But we had the fastest car and led a lot of the laps, but I was super conscious of what was going on around me. I knew when I went by Kurt that I was gonna have enough laps to get by the 48 and the 24 as well and knew I wasn't gonna be the deciding factor in the championship hunt at that point because I felt like I was better than those guys and was gonna get by them.
"Now, if I was better than Kurt but not better than them and put myself in the middle, that was gonna be in a tough spot for me to be in and I'm glad that the five points at the beginning of the race - I didn't really let Kurt drive off. I drove down in that corner going all I could go and my car had a little wiggle and I had to wait. When I went to the throttle, the caution was out and he was ahead of me. But that five points wouldn't have made a difference in the championship, so I'm glad I wasn't a factor in any way. I lost a lot of friends in that Hendrick plane crash, a good friend of mine - Randy Dorton. I wanted Hendrick to win this championship and I wanted Kurt to win the championship. I feel for the Hendrick family and Rick and everything that those guys are going through and I like Jimmie and I like Jeff, but I knew only one guy could win today. I was hoping that none of the competitors or myself were a factor in that outcome and, thank goodness, we weren't. The race ended uneventful like it should have, I guess."
WERE YOU CONCERNED ABOUT RUNNING OUT OF GAS ON THE G-W-CH?
"No, not at all because we had stopped with 47 to go, so we stopped a lot later than all those guys up front. With 34 to go, I was starting like 24th. I mean, I was deep in the field. I almost had to pass a car a lap to get to the front and that's hard to do in that short a time, plus lapped cars. I was starting 24th, plus all the lapped cars, so I've got to pass a whole lot of cars in a short amount of time. I needed those two cautions. I don't remember what those other ones were, obviously the 12 car right in front of me, but I needed those to be able to get a chance."
DID YOU FEEL YOU WERE HELPING KURT UP FRONT?
"Actually, I didn't look at it that way. If I wouldn't have won and the 48 would have won, he would have won the championship? Is that correct on the math? So if the 48 won the race and I finished second? That wasn't any of my concern at that point. I was trying to win and I felt like I could win with two to go, whether the 20 ran out of gas or not."
THOUGHTS ON JACK WINNING THE RACE AND TITLE?
"I can promise you that today might be the greatest day of his life, but he could have had a lot better day today because he could have won all three championships this season. He could have won all three. I feel like we didn't put forth enough effort to win them all, but he could have went from three years ago never winning a NASCAR championship to winning all of them this year - all three of them - and had them won, if it weren't for some of the issues that we had along the season that I feel were preventable. I feel for him, but today is an exciting day for him that we won the race and they won their back-to-back championships, but, keeping in mind that he had an opportunity to win all three of them real close."
TALK ABOUT PERSEVERANCE?
"Yeah, when our program was looking dismal, I went to Jack and told him I was unhappy and was not happy driving the 16 car. I felt like we weren't really given the opportunity to be as competitive as we needed to be and he helped us get that program turned around some. But the reason I'm still there is because he knows what happened today is what I'm capable of as a driver and what Doug is capable of as crew chief. So we just need to have these kind of race cars everywhere we go next year - Charlotte, Richmond - and we need to win six or seven races and be in the chase and be a contender for the title. That's what we're capable of."
COMMENT ON KURT WINNING.
"I think Kurt's gonna be a good champion. He's a great race car driver. He's proven that this season. If we would have done the math this way two or three years ago, I think he would have won the championship as well, so I think he's proved his spot in the sport. I think he'll be good for the sport being the spokesperson for them. I want to win a Nextel Cup championship, but I don't know if I can deal with all the media and all the stuff. Being on the Today Show and all the things he's got to do. That's a lot of work. He might be a little nervous about doing all that, but that five million dollars will probably keep him headed in the right direction."
DID YOU GET THE SENSE IT WAS A CRAZY DAY?
"Not really because we're kind of in our own race and we're not aware of so much of the surroundings because we're always strategizing inside the car. But when they were driving around with the flatbed looking at every light to figure out where the lens came from and we're discussing fuel mileage. We're eight laps short of making the race and I'm like, 'Eight laps or eight caution laps' because that makes a difference. They said, 'Eight caution laps.' I said, 'We're gonna have eight caution laps. They're looking for a light bulb right now or a lens that could be on the race track somewhere.' It's a long ways to go. There are 60 laps to go, there's gonna be another caution. You know something is gonna happen, but we couldn't stop then. All we could hope for was to keep going and us get a break, which we did with about 47 to go and got fresh tires on it, full of fuel, no questions asked. Now the work is up to us, but I didn't really know about all the things going on. I knew Kurt had lost a right-front wheel broke or something. My spotter said, 'Kurt's up in the wall in two and he's headed down pit road and no caution.' I'm thinking, 'Oh my gosh, he's out of it.' Then I come around two and I don't see a mark anywhere, so I'm not sure what happened. And then later on they said that the center of the wheel broke, which is very unusual."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT SOME OF THE SAVES KURT HAS MADE?
"I tell you what, I have been lucky like that as well and I've been unlucky, but a good race car driver has car control and that meaning whether the car is going forward, backward or sideway. I spun out here coming off turn four - spun out three-quarters of the way around the corner and slid all the way down the frontstretch - popped four tires - and was able to come back in in a Busch car in practice and nothing happened. I mean, you've got to be lucky, you've got to have some car control whether the thing is going forward or backwards, so all kind of things can happen."