Continued from part 1 Q: COULD YOU RATE YOUR VICTORIES HERE, IN TERMS OF DIFFICULTY? GREG BIFFLE: "To be perfectly honest with you, this was one of the more difficult ones. I mean, they're all difficult, but because we qualified 22nd, but...
Continued from part 1
Q: COULD YOU RATE YOUR VICTORIES HERE, IN TERMS OF DIFFICULTY?
GREG BIFFLE: "To be perfectly honest with you, this was one of the more difficult ones. I mean, they're all difficult, but because we qualified 22nd, but the other victories - I qualified second one time, outside front row and led a lot of it and the car was real fast - here, I worked my way up, worked my way up, worked my way up.
The 10 car, when he was pitting, knocked the tire out of the carrier's hand and went back to 20th and had to work my way all the way back to the front by passing cars on the race track. And, constantly changing things on the race car - wedge in, wedge out, track bar, lower the tires, raise the tires - were trying everything, every stop. So, it was a lot to win this race. It wasn't handed to us - I'm not saying the other ones were handed to us, but we had a pretty [good] race car in those other races, and it was a lot easier to win. I remember the one was kind of hairy getting into three last year or the year before, but somebody ran out of gas and I almost ran into the back of 'em. I was up in the middle and Jimmie Johnson, we were two- or three-wide, and I ended up winning the race, but I remember that was pretty spectacular as well.
This, obviously, was a little easier. I was thinking that through my head when we were getting ready to go back green and I was thinking, 'Kasey and I are going to be side-by-side at the start/finish line - and hopefully I'll be a foot ahead of him when the checkered flag flies. But they got to racing back there; I think Kasey spun the tires on the re-start and I was committed to paying attention to how my tires warmed up, and didn't use too much throttle, and then pushed it down as I felt the tires would take it, and got a good clean start."
Q: IT'S SAID THAT NOBODY REMEMBERS WHO FINISHED SECOND. YOU'VE WON ON THREE WEEKENDS HERE WHEN SOMEBODY ELSE WON A CHAMPIONSHIP? DO YOU FEEL OVERLOOKED?
GREG BIFFLE: "Yeah. Yeah, I do. But I'll tell you what: I still get the check and I still get the trophy. And, when we go to Daytona, I'm the most recent winner. Unfortunately, I've come up short a couple of times. Last year it would've been something sweet to win the championship and the race. Obviously, we were 35 points behind Tony, but Tony was close to going a lap down last year and got a mercy caution flag, I think, and kept him on the lead lap - he was the next car to go a lap down, the caution came out, I don't know what that means.
It would've been tight. And who would've known it would've been 35 points. We came into the race a hundred and something back or seventy-something back - I don't know what it was, it was a lot - but we picked up a bunch of positions. I never even thought I had a chance of winning the title, but it was pretty close."
Q: JACK, YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT IS TO WIN ONE OF THESE THINGS. WHAT DOES IT SAY ABOUT RICK HENDRICK THAT HE'S BEEN ABLE TO WIN SIX CHAMPIONSHIPS NOW WITH THREE DIFFERENT DRIVERS?
JACK ROUSH: "I'm a slow study; it took me 17 years to win my first one, and of course the second one came easy, which lulled me into complacency. So in 18 years we won two and in 17 years we won one, and of course we came up short last year, a little with second and third, and this year we were not as close as we were last year. But, it takes a tremendous effort. This thing goes from the middle February to Thanksgiving time, and it consumes your life and the lives of the people doing this.
You've got to have focus on it. It's unbelievable how much energy goes into this thing and for the Hendrick organization to be perennially competitive, it certainly set a standard for me, and that's what I request and the goal that I set for my organization as well. Unless they've found some shortcut on things, it's a monumental job and they've got a lot of people working at it, and they certainly deserve what's happened to them."
Q: CAN YOU TALK ABOUT NASCAR TRYING TO MAKE THE CARS SO EVEN WHEN CHEVROLET WON SO MUCH?
JACK ROUSH: "Left of my own device, I would have a rule book that said you came to the race track at the assigned time and you had four tires and you burned gasoline. That would be about all I would require. I'd pretty much run what you brung if left to my device, but they're determined to have this thing to where it's convenient for them and not necessarily easy, but it's possible for them to regulate it and to officiate it even-handedly and fairly and to that end they make every effort to take the racing out of all but just a few things. There is very little innovation in the car today.
With the templates that they've got and particularly the car of tomorrow they're gonna have, you don't have the offsets that you can deal with. If you looked at a handful of drivers like the Roush organization has and one guy is really just nervous when it's got a loose end condition, so you have to put the aero torque in the thing, you have to put the side force in in order to stop it from being loose in and other guys like Mark say, 'I don't care if it's loose in, just get me all the grip that you can, all the downforce that you can and that's a different set of offsets.
But what they've got going for the car of tomorrow is gonna be an aero variance that's gonna be much, much less than it is today and I tell you this, there's gonna be a lot of people that won't be able to drive those cars that will be able to drive cars today where they could compensate or adjust the setup, the aero-match on the car, to suit the preference of the driver. There's gonna be winners and losers at this deal. It's not necessarily gonna have the desired effect, but at the end, there's less that we can do that is low-cost, to be able to optimize the car for our teams and it's forcing us, unfortunately, into spending the money on technology that we would rather not have to spend it on in order to try to find an edge and to suit the needs of the driver that you might be committed to."
Q: WAS IT EASIER TO GO FOR IT TODAY WHEN YOU WEREN'T IN THE TITLE HUNT?
GREG BIFFLE: "Yes and no. There wasn't really any pressure this weekend, but I did feel some pressure and got going and got racing out there, but a lot of people like to talk about points racing and pressure and all that. We really try and win every time we show up. That gains us the most amount of points and I've done that all 10 races in the chase, I tried to win.
I thought I had a car I could win with at Phoenix and that turned out not to be true. I felt I had a car that I could probably win with here, but wasn't real sure about it. It turned out I could have, but maybe the pressure leading up to the weekend - all the things in the media and all the stuff I had to do, but race car drivers we enjoy that part of it because they're talking about you. If you don't have a camera in your face and nobody is wanting you and nobody wants to talk to you, then that's when you start worrying."
Q: WHAT HAPPENED WITH HARVICK ON THE TRACK?
GREG BIFFLE: "I don't know. I guess we had a little altercation, but my tire got knocked out of the carriers hand by the 10 car, so I ended up having to start back in 20th and he was running, I don't know, around 17th or so or 15th, and I was coming through the cars pretty fast because my car was really fast and I got inside him going down the backstretch. When we went into turn three, he turned it to the bottom and I gave him the benefit of the doubt that he didn't know I was there and I hit the brakes as hard as I could and my nose hit the ground and my car got sideways and I missed his rear bumper as he came down to the white line.
I just put the throttle down and slid up and came off the corner on the high side of him and going down the frontstretch he swerved at me like I had done something to make him mad, so I don't know what that was all about. I didn't know that anybody else had any other issues. I didn't know that anybody even saw that, but I don't know why he swerved at me going down the frontstretch, but I don't know. Maybe his spotter didn't tell him I was inside of him. We never touched or anything, but I saved his bacon for him."
Q: WHY DID DENNY HAMLIN HAVE SUCH A GREAT SEASON?
GREG BIFFLE: "I think the same reason why Carl did, they're in really exceptional equipment and to be perfectly honest with you, it's hard to screw it up when you've got a really, really good race car - a really fast race car. You can take about any of these drivers and put them in, and if you've got something that's handling good, turning, got great power, the car is easy to drive, you can stick just about anyone of these guys racing in the Nextel Cup Series in the car and he's gonna be able to win races or be able to run up front.
We all have a fairly lateral amount of talent, it's each team how they put their mouse trap together is a lot of it. He was in really good equipment. He had Tony Stewart over there that had won a couple of titles and those guys aren't dummies and that has a lot to do with it. The same with Carl last year. He came into a program and Matt and I had great race cars and he copied a lot of what we were doing and then about the middle of the year went off on his own and we were winning races - all of us were."
Q: IS THERE ANYTHING SPECIAL ABOUT THIS TRACK AND DID YOU HAVE TROUBLE FINDING VICTORY LANE?
GREG BIFFLE: "There were so many people on pit road I couldn't see where I was going. I knew where it was, but there were a massive amount of people crossing pit road to go out to the frontstretch. When you're inside there it's hard to find stuff. I couldn't see anything from inside the car. I like the progressive banking type race tracks. They put on great races because you can run right across the bottom, you can run the middle, you can run the upper part of the race track, so I've just adapted.
Really, we ran very well on mile-and-a-half race tracks all over last year, and we obviously still have some of that magic that we can run fast on them, but this type of race track I just like it. I like the way the corners are laid out. I like the way it races and I think it puts on a good show."
Q: WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THANKSGIVING?
GREG BIFFLE: "I can't wait for that day, I tell you what. I'm feeling a little under the weather right now and didn't have a great week last week. I have to work Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this following week on photo shoots and commercials, so Thursday is my official first day off and I'm gonna cook a turkey. I'm gonna go to my mountain property and cook a turkey. I've got no telephones and I'm gonna build a big, huge fire and enjoy myself."
-credit: ford racing