Biffle Leads Ford to Michigan Sweep * Greg Biffle posted his second NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series win and the seventh for Ford in 2004. * Ironically, the last time Ford swept the top three spots in a NNC race was on July 5, 2003 when Biffle won the...
Biffle Leads Ford to Michigan Sweep
* Greg Biffle posted his second NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series win and the seventh for Ford in 2004.
* Ironically, the last time Ford swept the top three spots in a NNC race was on July 5, 2003 when Biffle won the Pepsi 400 at Daytona. Jeff Burton was second and Ricky Rudd third that night.
* Ford has won the most NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races at Michigan.
* 11 different Ford drivers have posted 27 victories in 71 all-time series races at MIS.
* When the Mercury brand is included the win total jumps to 39.
* Ford has won four out of the last six MIS races with Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth, Dale Jarrett and Kurt Busch each posting one win apiece in that stretch.
* Three of the top four all-time winning car owners at MIS currently run Fords, including the Wood Brothers (11), Jack Roush (7), and Robert Yates (6). Harry Melling won all seven of his MIS races with Bill Elliott in a Ford from 1984-89.
GREG BIFFLE - No. 16 National Guard/Subway Taurus
"I'm real excited to get the National Guard car in victory lane. I know all of the soldiers over in Iraq watch the races. They can't wait to see NASCAR NEXTEL Cup racing on TV. It's really exciting for the first time ever to get them in victory lane and I'm real excited about that. The Ford Taurus body is something we've come a long way with and our guys have worked really hard on it. Our engine program is unbelievable. Our engine program has come so far. I lost the timing belt last week and probably got some debris in it. The engines have run flawless all season for us. We've had a little bit of trouble, but today everything worked perfect. Doug gave me a great race car. The guys did a great job in the pits and I didn't make any mistakes, which is pretty unusual for me to race an entire day and not make any mistakes, but I managed to do that today. I'm pretty excited about it with Flash on the car, the fastest man alive. I think I'm gonna wear this driver's suit at Bristol if they let me. Maybe it'll bring me good luck."
JACK ROUSH:, Car Owner - No. 16 National Guard/Subway Taurus
"Greg and Mark were the fastest cars in the field. A number of cars had trouble. Of course, Ryan Newman was off a little and Rusty was fast and he had trouble. The 48 had trouble, but the fact is we're very proud of our cars. Our Tauruses were well prepared. We have great support from Ford Motor Company from the engineering work that was done behind the scenes. The crew chiefs did a great job and, of course, the engines ran flawlessly. With the 88 car, we had six of our Ford engines in the top 10, so this is a banner day for us - racing in front of the home crowd for me in Michigan is always one of my favorite things. Greg has been ready to go to victory several times this year and we've had things happen that were beyond his control and we all felt terrible about, and I'm relieved that we've got one down and now we'll go see if we can get some more."
TALK ABOUT THE CAUTIONS EARLY AND THEN THE LONG GREEN?
GREG BIFFLE: "Yes and no. My car was really, really fast right when the green fell and I started moving up real fast. I started 24th, so it took me a while to work my way through there. Actually, it didn't take very long. I think we were in 13th when the first caution came out and the car was just so fast. Those cautions at the beginning we good for us because I got to adjust on the race car and make pit stops. Unfortunately, we had radio trouble today and I lost radio communication during the first part of the race. I could hear them, but they couldn't hear me talking. I had to switch to my second radio, which just has an antenna on it that's inside the car, so I could only talk to them on the frontstretch. It made it difficult because I couldn't talk about what we were gonna do when we pit because I'm driving down pit road already. The track is so big we don't get one time by before the pits are open, so I can't discuss the changes I'm gonna make to the race car. That's why I got off a little bit. Mark was faster than me. I was running third, fourth, and the car was really loose. Finally, we got some communication and got the car tightened back up again. I just can't say enough about Doug. Doug has done a fine job for us with our whole team - personnel and everything. He doesn't miss a lot. He executes really well and stays calm, and I don't, which is good for me to have somebody like him. It really worked out for us today, but we've been coming. We were fourth at Pocono, sixth at Indy. We've run like that. We were running fourth at Texas - just all over the place. We were leading California when we had a transmission problem, so we've been coming but we just hadn't got there yet."
HOW HARD IS IT TO GET FIVE CARS RUNNING WELL?
JACK ROUSH : "I liken myself to the nursery rhyme about the old lady who lives in a shoe, she had so many children she didn't know what to do. It's really tough for me to bear the experience that I have, which has been considerable coming up on 40 years of being involved in professional racing. To bring that history to bear and at the same time not get in the way of the guys as they do what is current and what is timely going forward, I try to bring forward a democratic process that brings out the best that everybody has and challenges the things that are not sound that would get them in trouble. But to watch Doug Richert come down and be able to help Greg build this team is just an awesome thing. I can't tell you how proud I am. I'm proud of the resurgence of Mark Martin with regard to what he and Pat Tryson are doing right now. Of course, Robbie Reiser and Matt and Jimmy Fennig and Kurt, it's an awesome thing that I'm a part of now. As a youngster trying to race my own little drag race cars and all when I got started as a teenager and seeing what it's grown up to be is just a wonderful thing. I feel very lucky."
WHAT ABOUT CARL EDWARDS TODAY?
"I pulled a page from Junie Donlavey's book. I had the good fortune to share some space and some years with Junie Donlavey. I built engines for him and some of his rookies and some of my rookies. The people that I had road racing drove his cars for awhile. In fact, I think three of them did at different times, including Kenny Schrader, which I can't take credit for. I built engines for a guy that he drove for in USAC before he came, but, anyway, Junie and I were hanging around and we had a lot of rookies go through. Of course, Junie was really adept on letting his rookies tear his cars up because he had to repair his cars and he didn't want that happening. So we were real careful with Carl in practice. We kept him in a car that was tight to the point of bringing tears to his eyes and then we started feeding that back and giving him a little relief from it when we thought that maybe he had enough feeling for it that he wouldn't let the back end come out from underneath him. He got the wall once today I understand. I've got to look at the tapes and understand how that happened, but here we had a situation where the track tended to be looser in one and two than it was in three and four, and, of course, it starts off looser than it finishes. So if you started off where you should be, at least that 99 car, it was deathly loose in one and two to start with. Bob Osborne struggled with him trying to understand what he was saying and they did a great job. They kept him in a car that was reasonably fast, that he was able to keep under him and that will be the challenge going on to Fontana and some of the other places we go to for the rest of the year."
WERE YOU CONFIDENT FOUR TIRES WAS THE RIGHT CALL AT THE END?
GREG BIFFLE: "Oh yeah. I've been beat by four tires so many times I can't even count. But you look at where Mark was running before he put the two tires on, that was his strategy. He was trying to win, but Mark wasn't trying to win - Mark was trying to get track position and finish right up there and come back from whatever happened to him. Definitely taking two probably catapulted him at least eight to 10 spots on the race track that he wouldn't have been able to make up with even four and coming back out where he was. But I didn't think he had any chance at all about coming and messing with me with only two tires."
HOW FAR IN THE RACE WERE YOU WHEN YOU THOUGHT YOU HAD A CAR GOOD ENOUGH TO WIN?
"Yesterday before the Busch race. It was that good in happy hour. I felt pretty strongly about this car. I told a couple people that I felt I had a car to win with. I've only felt that way a few times, not a few times, but felt as strongly as I did that we had a car. I knew we had a car that could run in the top five hands down. I knew I had a car that I was gonna finish fourth, fifth, sixth, third - something. I felt really good about the race car."
DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THE ISSUE WITH THE 6 CAR?
JACK ROUSH : "I was residing with Doug Richert trying to make sure we didn't miss strategy on Greg as far as when we could stop for fuel and that sort of thing. As soon as we got that down and we agreed on our options, I went down and the inspector wanted to tell me what had happened from his point of view. It was noisy and I said, 'I don't need to hear right now.' So I went up and rubbed Pat down and tried to say, 'Alright, now you need to think about the next stop and figure out what we can do to save this thing.' As it went on and eventually the team members came to me and whispered in my ear that there was a lugnut that they didn't get tight. They said it had fallen off and got it back, but didn't get it tight. The inspector said that it wasn't on the wheel. I talked to Pat and he assured me it was on the wheel. I don't think he was down there where he could see exactly what was going on, but he was sure it was on the wheel. I talked to the tire changer and he said it was on the wheel when it came back. He said that all he had to do was straighten it with his hand. I guess the glue was holding it or something, but he said he straightened it with his hand and hit it with the wrench. But the inspector said to me that it was not on there. Even though I didn't tell Pat he couldn't go protest the result, I will go with the inspector.
"I tend to think that it probably was not right or they wouldn't have called it that way. But if they've got videotape that shows, and Pat says the videotape shows that all he did was hit it with the gun. If that's true, then they didn't do the right thing. I suspect that was not the case. I hope that was not the case, but, in the meantime, we'd have to come back to see if Mark would have come back to beat Greg and if it would have meant leading the most laps, which I haven't seen the math on it. I'm not sure it would have, but it only would have been 10 points from where he is today and if it wouldn't have moved him into leading the most laps it would have been only five. The strategy that Wally Brown and Pat came up with to put two tires on the car, I think he moved from eighth to third, but by doing that from what I saw he improved by six spots. That was a nice save. You close the chapter on this and you get ready and go to Bristol and the races that follow."
Continued in part 2